Top scorers at the World Cup – overall and by year

Germany's Miroslav Klose has scored the most goals at the World Cup. (AP)
Germany's Miroslav Klose has scored the most goals at the World Cup. (AP)

Being in a World Cup is already a great achievement, but for some players the tournament offers the possibility of making their mark on history.

In 2014, Miroslav Klose reached, during the 7-1 win against Brazil, the position of top scorer in World Cup history.

His 16 goals beat the 15 of Ronaldo, the former record holder.

Brazil's Ronaldo was the former record holder. (Reuters)
Brazil's Ronaldo was the former record holder. (Reuters)

Below those two is West Germany’s Gerd Müller, with 14; Just Fontaine, from France, with 13; the Brazilian Pele, with 12; Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) and Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), with 11; Helmut Rahn (West Germany), Gary Lineker (England), Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Teofilo Cubillas (Peru), Thomas Müller (Germany) and Grzegorz Lato (Poland), all with 10.

Establishing a top 5, but ranking by average goals, things change. Just Fontaine is in first, with an average of 2.17 goals/game (13 out of 6); next is Gerd Müller, with 1.08 goals/game (14 out of 13); then you have Pele, with 0.86 goals/game (12 out of 14); followed by Ronaldo, with 0.79 goals/game (15 out of 19); and finally Klose, with 0.67 goals/game (16 out of 28).

Top scorers by year

– 1930 - Uruguay World Cup: Guillermo Stabile, Argentina, 8 goals

– 1934 - Italy World Cup: Oldrich Nejedlý, Czechoslovakia, 5 goals

– 1938 - France World Cup: Leonidas da Silva, Brazil, 7 goals

– 1950 - Brazil World Cup: Ademir de Menezes, Brazil, 9 goals

– 1954 - Swiss World Cup: Sandor Kocsis, Hungary, 11 goals

French football player Just Fontaine wearing the French team suit at the FIFA World Cup. Sweden, June 1958. (Photo by Emilio Ronchini/Mondadori via Getty Images)
Just Fontaine at the World Cup in Sweden in 1958. (Photo by Emilio Ronchini/Mondadori via Getty Images)

– 1958 - Sweden World Cup: Just Fontaine, France, 13 goals

– 1962 - Chile World Cup: Garrincha/Vava (Brazil), Leonel Sanchez (Chile), Florian Albert (Hungary), Drazan Jerkovic (Croatia), Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union), 4 goals

– 1966 - England World Cup: Eusebio, Portugal, 9 goals

– 1970 - Mexico World Cup: Gerd Müller, Germany, 10 goals

– 1974 - Germany World Cup: Grzegorz Lato, Poland, 7 goals

– 1978 - Argentina World Cup: Mario Kempes, Argentina, 6 goals

– 1982 - Spain World Cup: Paolo Rossi, Italy, 6 goals

– 1986 - Mexico World Cup: Gary Lineker, England, 6 goals

Salvatore Schillaci of Italy reacts during the Italy World Cup 1990 match between Italy and Argentina at Stadio San Paolo on 3 July in Napoli, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
Salvatore Schillaci during the World Cup 1990 match between Italy and Argentina. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

– 1990 - Italy World Cup: Salvatore Schillaci, Italy, 6 goals

– 1994 - United States World Cup: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Oleg Salenko (Russia), 6 goals

– 1998 - France World Cup: Davor Suker, Croatia, 6 goals

– 2002 - South Korea/Japan World Cup: Ronaldo, Brazil, 8 goals

– 2006 - Germany World Cup: Miroslav Klose, Germany, 5 goals

SHIZUOKA, JAPAN:  Germany's forward Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring the second goal against Germany during match 35 group E of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea Japan 11 June, 2002 in Shizuoka, Japan. Germany won 2-0. AFP PHOTO PEDRO UGARTE (Photo credit should read PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images)
Miroslav Klose. (PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images)

– 2010 - South Africa World Cup: Thomas Müller (Germany), David Villa (Spain), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), 5 goals

– 2014 - Brazil World Cup: James Rodriguez, Colombia, 6 goals

– 2018 - Russia World Cup: Harry Kane, England, 6 goals