Germany never lost a game where Miroslav Klose scored. And he scored a lot of goals. At club level he was reliable, but in the international game, he was absolutely lethal. Polish-born Klose is the top-scorer in men’s World Cup history with an astounding sixteen goals across four World Cups. Oh, and he’s also Germany’s top-scorer. They still haven’t replaced him.
Klose scored five goals in 2002, blasting Germany to the World Cup final, which they would lose to Brazil. He’d win the Golden Boot in 2006, popping in another five. In 2010 he scored four, and then finally in South Africa, 2014, scored two, to overtake Ronaldo as the top scorer in World Cup history. Oh and more importantly for him, he also got his hands on the actual trophy.
Yeah, you know who this guy is. Pele is one of the greatest players ever – and definitely the first to build a big brand around his name. Pele made his first appearance at a World Cup in 1957, as a 17-year-old. He played a big part in winning that World Cup, including two goals in the final against Sweden. Injuries prevented him from playing a full part in the next two campaigns.
So it was in 1970 that he cemented his status as one of the greatest World Cup players ever. This was Pele in his prime; powerful, clinical, dynamic and imaginative. The audacity of some of the tricks he tried like that shot from the halfway line and allowing to the ball to run left past the Uruguay goalkeeper as he ran right. Spectacular.
And now we’re finally at number one. Diego Maradona is the greatest player in World Cup history. Pele might have won more than the little Argentinian, but he never dragged his side to the final in swashbuckling style as Maradona did. In 1986, Maradona was the talk of the world for the way he helped guide Argentina to World Cup glory.
There are just so many iconic moments. The Hand-of-God which England still haven’t got over, that gorgeous mazy finish that left half the England team on their backsides, he was just outstanding. After playing in four World Cups, Maradona sealed his status as the greatest player in World Cup history by being off his face and going crazy in the stands while Argentina played Nigeria. A true legend.