Best world cup players of all time

Tue 22 December 2020 | 8:30

World Cup is one of the most prestigious, well-known international tournaments in sports. What made it so special over the years? One of the main reasons is seeing the Best world cup players of all time and their contest with each other.

The FIFA World Cup or just the World cup is a football competition that takes place every four years, in which national teams, members of the international football association(FIFA) compete with each other.  

There have been 21 World cup tournaments hosted by 17 countries since the first World Cup on 13 July 1930 in Uruguay.The nations had hosted the World Cup are Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Japan, and South Korea (jointly), South Africa, and Russia. The next World cup in 2022 will be hosted by Qatar.Eight national teams had succeeded in winning the World cup, including Italy, Germany, Brazil, England, Spain, Argentina, France, and Uruguay. Among these nations, Brazil has won the most titles(five world cups.)

As the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup is the most important tournament a nation could attend. At every event of the competition, the footballers try to make their country victorious and be useful in their national team. Some, by defending, some by creating chances, and some other by making the chances into goals.Among the players, there were some who managed to make their nation proud and be placed among the

Greatest world cup players of all time

. To honor them, we plan to list and review their career.

Who are the Best world cup players of all time?

So here is the list! Tune in, enjoy, and be sure to read the whole article.

Lev Yashin

Some consider him the best goalkeeper in football history! nicknamed the "Black Spider" or the "Black Panther," Lev Ivanovich Yashin is a former goalkeeper who played for the Soviet Union.Known for his athleticism, leadership, and bravery, he was an agile and powerful goalkeeper with exceptional reflexes and positional sense. His tall stature also helped his goalkeeping abilities.He saved over 150 penalty kicks in his career which no other goalkeeper has yet to achieve. He also kept over 270 clean sheets.

He played his whole club career with Dynamo Moscow, representing them in 326 matches. On his national team's side, he appeared in 78 games, winning an Olympic gold medal in the 1956  and the 1960 European Championships.Yashin participated in four World Cups from 1958 to 1970 but unfortunately, he never won one. 

Nevertheless, he is a Ballon d'Or winning goalkeeper, he revolutionized the goalkeeping role and he is one of the

best players in the history of world cup


Paul Breitner 

Former German player Paul Breitner represented West Germany 47 times throughout the 70s and early 80s. He attended two world cups and won one of them. He also won a UEFA European Championship with West Germany in 1972.He played as a full-back or box-to-box midfielder. Capable of both defending and attacking, he was very versatile, creative, and skillful at linking the ball.

Breitner generally played nine years for Bayern throughout two different spells, three seasons with

Real Madrid

, and he had a brief season with

Eintracht Braunschweig

as well.In his all-time career, he made  531 appearances, assisted more than 40 times, and netted 140 times. It's worth mentioning that Paul Breitner scored in both World Cups he played in, and only four individuals have scored in two different World Cup final matches.

In 1982 he retired from his national team and finally, in 1983, he ended his playing career. He is now 69 years old.


Former Brazillian Right back Marcos Evangelista de Morais, commonly known as Cafu, is the next footballer in the

Best world cup players of all time

list.He is the most capped Brazillian player ever who appeared in over 150 matches on Canarinho's side. Cafu participated in four world cups, winning the title twice, and became the only footballer to play in three of the competition's finals. He also won two Copa América and one FIFA Confederations Cup with his country.

At club level, he played with clubs such as




, and São Paulo, making more than 500 appearances throughout his spells in those teams. He won several domestic and international club tournaments such as Serie A, Campeonato Paulista, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, etc. 

Viewed as of the bests of his generation, he was a great right-back who was versatile enough to play as a center-back or even a right-winger.He had a very solid defensive skill and an offensive mind. His stamina, pace, distribution, and tactical intelligence are praised as well.

Paolo Rossi

Sadly, we have lost him recently. He passed away in December 2020  due to lung cancer. He was an Italian Striker who is considered one of the best Italian footballers in history.He won a Ballon D'Or in 1982, he won FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball and it's worth mentioning that when Italy achieved the 1982 ٌWorld Cup trophy, he became one of the three players to have won all three awards at a World Cup.

He began his professional career with Juventus making his debut in 1973. During his career, he went on to play with clubs like Milan and L.R. Vicenza as well.At the international level, he began his first national team appearance on 21 December 1977 against Belgium. Since then, he made  48 official appearances and scored 20 goals, including nine in the World cup tournaments, making him Italy's top scorer in World Cup history. he is definitely among the all-time world cup greatest players.

Just fontaine

The  Frenchman Just Louis Fontain was a forward who played for his country in the 50s. He is the all-time fourth top scorer in World Cup with a number of 13 goals.He was named the best French player of the last 50 years by the French Football Federation and is considered one of the bests in his generation. One thing that must be told about this footballer is that all of his World Cup goals were scored in one edition of the competition. It is the highest number of goals ever scored by one player at a single World Cup edition.

Born in Marrakech, French Morocco he began his career in 1950 at USM Casablanca. Soon after in 1953, he was transferred to Nice and also made his debut for


on 17 December 1953 against Luxembourg in which he scored a hattrick.In his international career, he made 21 appearances. During those international appearances, he scored 30 goals.

Michel Platini

Michel François Platini is another Frenchman whose name is among the Best world cup players of all time. He played as an Attacking midfielder and represented a few clubs including Nancy, Saint-Étienne, Juventus, and of course, his national team.

He is a three-time Ballon d'Or winner, came seventh in the FIFA Player of the Century vote. Although he was positioned in the midfield, he had an eye for a goal and an offensive mind which made him a prolific goal scorer.

He became the Serie A top scorer for three consecutive seasons and won the capocannoniere award, and he was France's highest scorer till 2007. He was also known for his leadership and skills, giving him the nickname Le Roi which means The King.He began his debut for his national team in 1988 and represented France in 71 more matches since then. He retired from the world of football in 1992.


Former Brazillian footballer Romário de Souza Faria played his career as a striker throughout the late 80s,90s, and 00s. He played for several clubs such as





PSV Eindhoven

, and so on. With his former clubs, he made 893 appearances and netted 690 times.

At the international level, he played for Brazil for 12 years, earning 70 and scoring 55 goals. Speaking of goals, He is Brazil's fourth top scorer, third Brazilian league's top scorer, and most importantly, the second-highest goalscorer in the history of football.

This fact only proves his place in the list of

world cup best players ever

. Romario is praised for his clinical finishing, techniques, and abilities. He also operated very well in the penalty area.With Canarinho, he won one World cup, two Copa América titles, one Australia Bicentenary Gold Cup, and one FIFA Confederations Cup.He retired completely in 2009 and since 2010, he is a politician.


Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was a Portuguese striker who played from the late 50s till the late  70s.He won a  Ballon d'Or in 1965, was ranked the ninth-best footballer of the 20th century by the IFFHS, and he is one of the Best world cup players of all time.

He played with several clubs such as  Benfica, Boston Minutemen Monterrey, and Benfica. By many, he is renowned as the greatest Benfica player ever. Within 745 games he played, he scored 733 goals 41 of which he scored for Portugal.Eusebio is praised for his speed which gave him the nickname black panter. His ferocious right-footed shots, technique, and athleticism are also some good abilities to talk about.

His debut for Portugal came on 8 October 1961 in a match against Luxembourg. From then till his retirement from his national team in 1983, he represented A Seleção 41 times.

Frenc Puskas

Hungarian former footballer and manager Ferenc Puskás is mostly known for his spell with Real Madrid. He was one of the key factors in Madrid's Team which dominated the 50s alongside Francisco Gento, Raymond Kopa, and Alfredo Di Stéfano.

But he also played for not just one, but two national teams. He made 85 appearances for


and also represented


in four matches. But it's worth mentioning that he only appeared in one World Cup with Hungary in which they became second. 

He started his senior career at Budapest Honvéd, a Hungarian club where he made 350 appearances, netting 358 times for Kispest during a 13-year spell. Within this spell, he also made his debut for Hungary on 20 August 1945 and scored in a 5–2 win over Austria. With 84 goals, four of which scored in the World Cup, for his nation, he is Hungary's leading top scorer. He is one of the bests ever and one of the

greatets footballers in world cup history


Mirsolav Klose

In the continuation of the Best world cup players of all-time list, we have the World Cup's all-time top scorer! Thanks to his strength, elevation, accuracy, timing, finishing ability, etc, he managed to score 16 goals and became the top scorer in world cup history.

Klose was born on 9 June 1978 in Opole, Poland but, he and his family moved to West Germany during world war 2.As far as his international career goes, his journey began in 2001 when he was offered to play for Polan but he responded "I have a German passport, and if things are still running this way, I have a chance to play for Rudi Völler(Germany's manager at that time)."His wish was then fulfilled when he made his debut for


on 24 March 2001. Since then he scored 71 goals and capped 137. Within those years he won the World cup in 2014 as well.At club level,clubs he played for are:FC 08 Homburg, 1. FC Kaiserslautern  Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich, and Lazio.

Bobby Charlton

The former English footballer is considered one of the greatest players in his generation or even of all time. He was the winner of the Ballon d'Or in 1966 and at his time he had records for the most goals and most appearances for both England and Man United but his both record caps were surpassed. In addition, he received a CBE in 1974.

He joined Man United in his youth in 1953 but his senior career with The Devils began in 1956. He made his first debut in October 1956 against Charlton Athletic.His national team debut came in 1958 and he was selected for the 1958 World Cup but he didn't play in any match of the tournament. Yet, he went on to play three more World Cups , winning one in 1966. He also represented England in the 1968 Euro in which The Three Lions became third.In general, he made 106 appearances for England, netting 49 times.


Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is a former Brazillian footballer who played as a striker. He is the second-highest top scorer in the World cup and one of the

Best world cup players in history


His vision, passing, crossing ability, techniques, or in total, greatness gave him so many achievements which for example we can mention Ballon d'Or, the Golden Shoe, the Golden Ball, and the silver ball. As one of the greatest players of all time, he was inducted in several halls of fame and now continues his career as the president of La Liga club Real Valladolid.

He made his debut for


in a friendly match in Recife against Argentina on 23 March 1994. He was a part of the squad that won the 1994 FIFA World Cup but he did not play in that tournament. He went on to make 98 appearances for Brazil and score 62 goals, making him Brazil's third-highest goalscorer.

Johan Cruyff

The three-time Ballon d'Or winner Hendrik Johannes Cruijff is the next individual whose name is among the Greatest world cup players of all time. The Dutchman was voted European Player of the Century in an election held by, won various individual honors and is considered as one of the best footballers in history.

His philosophy in playing and managing influence many generations and several teams have used his methods. Cruyff became synonymous with the playing style of "Total Football," a system that players had to understand the whole geometry of the whole pitch and have the ability to play anywhere. 

Cruyff played in different leagues and clubs, but he spent more time in Ajax than any other club he played at. With the Netherlands, he participated in 48 matches, scoring 33 goals. He participated in one World Cup in which the Dutch team became second.

He passed away on 24 March 2016 and in 2017, the Amsterdam Arena was renamed to Johan Cruyff Arena. Surely, he will be remembered as one of the

all-time world cup greatest players



The next player in the list of best players in the history of world cup is the former Brazilian right-winger Manuel Francisco dos Santos Garrincha who is known as Garrincha which means "little bird" in Portuguese.

At club level, he played with several Brazillian clubs and made more than 600 appearances. He spent most of his career playing for Botafogo, winning numerous titles with them.  As a Brazillian international, Garrincha played 50 matches with Canarinho and netted  12 times. He attended three World Cups two of which Brazil became champions. Garrincha was a key factor in Brazil's World Cup victories and he is the first footballer to win the Golden Ball ), Golden Boot, and the World Cup.

Known for his ball control, he is regarded as a great dribbler who used feints a lot, and also his powerful shots with both feet were lethal as well.Unfortunately, this legendary winger passed away on 20 January 1983 but he always will be remembered.

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid's current manager Zinedine Yazid Zidane was also a player and in fact, a very good one. He is considered as one of the greats, received several individual honors such as  Ballon d'Or in 1998, and also is among the

Best world cup players of all time

He had spells with four clubs: Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid. He made  631 appearances in his all-time club career, scoring 121 times. He won several titles with the team he played for including the Serie A title, La Liga title, Champions League title Intercontinental Cup and so on.He made his debut for France in 1994. Since then he appeared in two World Cups, helped the team win one, and received the Golden ball in 2006, despite being sent off in the final match for headbutting  Materazzi.

As the fourth-most capped player in France history, he represented France 108 times and scored 31 goals for them. His vision, elegance, passing, ball control, and more made him an amazing attacking midfielder.

Lothar Matthaeus

Lothar Herbert Matthäus is the first-ever FIFA World Player of the Year in 1991 and became the only German to claim that honor. He is the most capped German player of all time and captained Germany for a period.

He played as a box-to-box midfielder but later in his career, he played as a sweeper. Considered as one of the best midfielders of all time, His powerful shots, excellent passing, tactics, and well-timed movement were well-known. His longevity another reason that put him among the greats. He retired from football when he was over 40.

He is known for his stints at Germany, Bayern, and Inter Milan. With Bayern, he won eight Bundesliga titles and established himself as one of the best players in Bundesliga ever.At the international level, Matthaus played in five world cups within his  150 appearances for Germany which is a record. He also lifted one World Cup in 1990 as the captain.

Gerd Muller

Known as the nation's Bomber, Gerhard "Gerd" Müller is the second top scorer in the World cup history with 14 goals. he was a fast, agile, and prolific striker who was named European Footballer of the Year in 1970, won a Golden Boot, and his name is among the Best world cup players of all time.

Muller spent most of his career in Bayern Munich, scoring 365 goals within 427 matches in his career. He is the


all-time top scorer which adds to his excellence.At the international level, he began his speel with Germany in 1966. Since then, Müller scored 68 goals in 62 matches, which as it told earlier,14 of them were in the World cup.  

As one of the world cup best players ever ,He was the highest goal scorer in World Cup for 32 years but he was surpassed by Ronaldo and Klose. But, we must mention that Muller had a better goal-to-game ratio and fewer appearances than both of them.

Franz Beckenbauer

Former German defender Franz Beckenbauer played his career from the early 60s till the early 80s. He was named European Footballer of the Year and received Ballon d'Or twice which proves the fact that he is one of the greatets footballers in world cup history. We can boldly state that he is one of the bests!

He was nicknamed "Der Kaiser "(The Emperor) because of his commanding presence and elegance on the pitch. At the beginning of his career, he played as a midfielder but later he changed his role to a sweeper. Many believe that actually, he invented that role.

With West Germany,hw won the 1974 World Cup and the 1972 UEFA European Championship. It's worth mentioning that he won another World Cup with Germany but, as a manager.He played 103 games on West Germany's side, scored 14 goals, and placed himself among the Best world cup players of all time. He retired from the world of football in 1983.

Diego Maradona

When we are talking about the Best world cup players in history, how can we don't mention this legend! Unfortunately, he passed away recently and we lost him but his legacy will remain.

Diego Armando Maradona is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was a skillful and creative player with an eye for a goal. Nicknamed The Golden Boy," he was a gifted individual with vision, passing, ball control, and dribbling techniques whose free-kicks are well-known too.

He began his senior career with a club named Argentinos Juniors on On 20 October 1976. He went on to play with great teams such as Napoli, Barcelona, etc.With his national team, he scored 34 times within the 91 matches he played on


's side.He participated in four world cups and won one.

In addition to his greatness, we must mention he was a prolific playmaker and goal scorer, a great leader whose presence had a great effect on his team's general performance.HE was agile and his small structure helped his extraordinary dribbling skills.Unfortunately he was troubled off-field life and was banned on some occasions due to drug abuse but this doesn't deny the fact he is a legend. 


The legendary Brazillian forward Edson Arantes do Nascimento or widely known as Pele, is the last footballer among the Best world cup players of all time.He is considered as one of the greats in football, named as the FIFA Player of the Century along with Maradona, named amongst the 100 most important people of the 20th century by Time, and also is one of the world cup top scorers of all time with 12 goals.

It's worth mentioning that Pele is the all-time goalscorer for Brazil and


's all-time top goalscorer too. He spent most of his club career with Santos making almost 500 appearances for them then, played only two years at New York Cosmos, and retired.In his international career, he played for Brazil for more than 14 years. He won three FIFA World Cup titles with them throughout his spell. In total, he represents Brazil in 92 games, scoring 77 goals.

Pelé has been praised as a complete forward and a prolific goalscorer. He is known for connecting the phrase "The Beautiful Game" with football. Despite being an amazing goalscorer, he was also a solid playmaker with vision and passing ability. So in general, we can state that he is one of the bests and at some point, the best!

So these were the 

Best world cup players of all time

! Hope you enjoyed it. 




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