The 10 top goalscorers in World Cup history

Just being able to play a single minute in a FIFA World Cup is already a dream for most football players, scoring a goal is almost like touching heaven, so being on the list of the 10 players who have scored the most in this competition is a very valuable honor and one that only a few can even aspire to achieve.

Next, we have the list of the top goalscorers in the history of the World Cup.

Thomas Müller

10. Thomas Müller (10 goals)

The German Thomas Müller is not alone in the group of players who have scored 10 goals in World Cups (Helmut Rahn, Gary Lineker, Gabriel Batistuta, Teófilo Cubillas and Grzegorz Lato), but he is the only one who is still active and that is why we gave him the position 10.

Müller scored 5 goals at just 20 years old in the 2010 World Cup and scored another 5 in Brazil 2014, highlighting a hat-trick against Portugal in Salvador de Bahia. His scoring rate suffered a drastic drop in Russia and Qatar, almost in parallel with the performance of the German national team.

9. Jürgen Klinsmann (11 goals)

Jürgen Klinsmann became a World Cup winner by representing West Germany in 1990, where he scored 3 goals and later, as a player of the unified Germany, he participated in United States 1994 and France 1998, scoring 5 and 3 goals, respectively.

As an interesting fact, Klinsmann never scored in a quarterfinal phase or higher.

8. Sandor Kocsis (11 goals)

The Hungarian has the same number of goals as Klinsmann in World Cups, however he achieved it in 5 games while the German needed 17, Kocsis being the one with the best average on this list. The Hungarian only participated in the 1954 World Cup where he was runner-up, top scorer and best player of the tournament, scoring two hat-tricks, being the first player in the history of the World Cups to do so.

6. Pelé and Kylian Mbappé (12 goals)

To this day and at least until the 2026 World Cup is played, Pelé and Kylian Mbappé have the same number of goals in the same number of World Cup matches (14).

The Brazilian participated in 4 World Cups and won 3, was named the best young player in the 1958 edition and the best player of the tournament in 1970, as well as being the youngest goalscorer in the history of the competition. For his side, the Frenchman was champion in 2018 and runner-up in 2022, being the best player in the Russian edition where he scored 4 goals and the top scorer in Qatar after scoring 8 goals, standing out a hat-trick in the final.

Lionel Messi

5. Lionel Messi (13 goals)

Lionel Messi is one of the players who has played the most World Cups (5) and the one who has played the most games in the history of the tournament (26), scoring one goal in 2006, 4 goals in 2014, one goal in 2018 and 7 goals in 2022, where the two goals in the Qatar final against France helped Argentina win their third World Cup and where Lionel definitely stood out.

The Argentine was named best player of the tournament in the 2014 and 2022 editions.

4. Just Fontaine (13 goals)

The Moroccan-born Frenchman scored all of his World Cup goals in the 1958 edition, where he finished third with the French national team. Fontaine holds the record for being the player who has scored the most goals in a single World Cup, a mark he still holds.

The Frenchman scored a hat-trick in his first World Cup match against Paraguay and interestingly, he scored 4 goals in the match for third place against West Germany, in what would be his last match in World Cups.

3. Gerd Müller (14 goals)

In his two appearances in World Cups, Müller finished in third place in the 1970 World Cup and was champion in 1974.

In 1970, he scored two hat-tricks in the group stage, against Bulgaria and Peru and finished the tournament as the highest scorer with 10 goals. Four years later, in the World Cup played in his country, Müller scored 4 goals, the last being the most important, the one that sealed the 2-1 score and the comeback against the Netherlands in the final, which allowed the Germans to win their second World Cup.

The German striker was the all-time top scorer at the World Cups until 2006.

2. Ronaldo (15 goals)

And precisely, in 2006, Ronaldo surpassed Müller's record with that goal against Ghana at the Westfalenstadion (ironically, in Germany) in which he dribbled past the goalkeeper to score without hindrance.

Ronaldo's history in the World Cups really began in 1998 since, despite being part of the Brazilian squad in 1994, he did not play a single minute. In France 1998 he scored 4 goals, in Korea-Japan 2002 he scored 8 goals, with a brace in the final that gave Brazil the title, and 2 more in Germany 2006.

The Brazilian was named best player of the tournament in 1998 and, despite having played in the final, Ronaldo was in no condition to do so, something that could have been the differential factor in that World Cup. In 2002, he was the tournament's top scorer, noting that the Brazilian had just recovered from his second serious knee injury.

Miroslav Klose

1. Miroslav Klose (16 goals)

In 2014, the German Miroslav Klose reached and surpassed Ronaldo, establishing a record of 16 goals that, to this day, only seems achievable for Mbappé. In 2002, Klose scored 5 goals including a hat-trick against Saudi Arabia, in 2006 he scored another 5 goals in the World Cup played in Germany, in 2010 he scored 4 goals while in Brazil 2014, when he won the World Cup, he scored 2 goals, funny enough, the first against Ghana to match Ronaldo and the second, against Brazil (in the famous 7-1 win) to surpass the Brazilian.

After Messi, Klose has been the player who needed the most games to achieve his World Cup goal mark (24), but the German was quite consistent throughout his appearances and that was the differential factor that allowed him to write his name in the history of the World Cup.

How long will this list last?

The only players on this list who are still active are Thomas Müller, Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi. As the next World Cup in Canada, the USA and Mexico is in 2026, is in almost three years, Messi will turn 39 in the middle of the tournament and Müller will be 36, about to turn 37. In Müller's case, it is probably doubtful whether he will maintain enough high class to still be part of the German national team, and in Messi's case he is guaranteed to be there if he wants, but the question is whether he will still be playing football then.

Instead, it's all about Kylian Mbappé. He will still only be 27 years old, and France will surely have a strong national team. It is likely that he will take over, or at least reach Klose's record as early as 2026, but if he doesn't, he has at least one more WC to beat the record. Unless something happens to stop Mbappé's football career, he is almost guaranteed to eventually top this list.
Kelvin Tingling knows most things about football and also likes to write about it. Kelvin lives in Buenos Aires and his favorite team is Boca Juniors.