The World Cup has hosted some of the greatest goalscorers in football history over the years.
Players from across the globe dream of scoring on the biggest stage in the game and a number of stars will be hoping to move up the all-time rankings during the 2022 competition.
It’s a tough ask for anyone to overhaul the all-time record this year, but who are the players with an outside shot?
The all-time record goalscorer in men’s World Cup history in Miroslav Klose. The former German international netted 16 goals in 24 games across four tournaments, overtaking previous number one Ronaldo in 2014.
The Brazilian netted 15 goals in 19 appearances to sit second in the rankings, while legendary figures Gerd Muller, Just Fontaine and Pele make up the top five.
- Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 16 goals in 24 games
- Ronaldo (Brazil) – 15 goals in 19 games
- Gerd Muller (West Germany) – 14 goals in 13 games
- Just Fontaine (France) – 13 goals in six games
- Pele (Brazil) – 12 goals in 14 games
Neymar was Brazil’s big hope in 2014 and he delivered, scoring four goals to finish the tournament on home soil as the joint-third top scorer behind Lionel Messi and Robin van Persie.
His dreams of glory in that tournament were ruined prematurely by injury before the Selecao were embarrassed 7-1 by Germany. The PSG forward scored another two in 2018, though his exaggerated rolls and screams feigning injury caught the eye a little more.
England weren’t heavily favoured at the 2018 World Cup, but six goals from Harry Kane set the Three Lions on their way to the semi finals where they were knocked out by Croatia.
Tottenham striker Kane scored twice in the dramatic 2-1 victory over Tunisia before grabbing a hat trick in a 6-1 thumping of Panama. A penalty against Colombia took his total tally up to six.
He may be without a club right now, but Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking for a big World Cup this year to take him closer to Klose’s record – for his own ego, if for nothing else.
He currently sits at seven goals in total, having appeared at four World Cups including his debut in 2006. His most iconic moment came in 2018, when a hat trick salvaged Portugal a draw with Spain, though the Selecao have not enjoyed a good run on the international stage since their Euro 2016 win.
Lionel Messi became Argentina’s youngest ever goalscorer at a World Cup in 2006 when he netted aged 18 years and 357 days against Serbia and Montenegro. Since then, Messi and World Cups haven’t always gone hand in hand.
He failed to score at all in 2010 before delivering his best World Cup campaign to date in 2014 in Brazil, scoring four goals in the group stage as Argentina reached the final – Messi, however, could not lead his side to victory in the final as Germany emerged victorious.
One goal came in their chaotic 2018 campaign before he grabbed a penalty to start his 2022 World Cup strongly, even if Argentina were victims of a shock 2-1 upset at the hands of Argentina.
A wonderful player if not slightly controversial, Luis Suarez is more than likely playing in his final World Cup in 2022, having first appeared in the competition in 2010.
The former Liverpool and Barcelona striker scored three goals as Uruguay came third in South Africa – though he is remembered more vividly for his handball antics against Ghana – before ruining England’s chances in 2014 with a double in a 2-1 win. He later bit Giorgio Chiellini and was banned for nine international matches.
Another couple of strikes in 2018 took his total tally up to seven.
The player best placed to close in on the all-time record is Germany legend Thomas Muller. The Bayern Munich attacker burst onto the scene in 2010 as Die Mannschaft reached the semi finals before Joachim Low’s side won the tournament four years later.
Muller scored ten goals in those two tournaments. He also played in Russia in 2018, but didn’t contribute as Germany were knocked out in the group stages during their title defence.