The FIFA World Cup has seen many prolific strikers grace the tournament since its first edition in 1930. The 21 editions have seen more than 2,000 goals being scored with more than 1,200 goal-scorers. French player Lucien Laurent scored the first goal in the history of this competition while Guillermo Stabile of Argentina was the top goal-scorer in the inaugural football World Cup. 

German striker Miroslav Klose holds the record at the FIFA World Cup, scoring 16 goals in 24 matches across the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 editions of the tournament. Klose made his debut in this competition against Saudi Arabia in 2002 and was quick off the blocks as he netted a hat-trick, making him one of only 13 players to do so on his FIFA World Cup debut. 

Klose won the Golden Boot at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany after scoring five goals. After a successful four-goal campaign in the 2010 edition, Klose scored twice in the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the record-breaking 16th goal coming in the 7-1 win for Germany over the host-nation Brazil in the semi-final. The German striker has found the back of the net from 25.4 per cent of his shots in the FIFA World Cup. 

The Selecao legend Ronaldo Nazario is now second on the top goal-scorers list in the FIFA World Cup with his tally of 15 goals in only 19 matches. Ronaldo smashed four goals in his debut World Cup appearance back in 1998. The striker was not a part of Selecao’s qualification campaign for the 2002 edition due to fitness issues, however, a rejuvenated Ronaldo earned the Golden Boot after scoring eight times in seven games in the tournament while Brazil won the FIFA World Cup title. 

Ronaldo netted thrice before Brazil were knocked out by Germany in the quarter-final of the 2006 edition. The striker broke Gerd Muller’s record and ended with a tally of 15 goals, a record at the time, in the history of the tournament. 

Gerd Muller was one of the most efficient goal-scorers in the history of the FIFA World Cup, scoring 14 goals in just two editions of the tournament. Gerd Muller won the Golden Boot in the 1970 edition for smashing 10 goals, including back-to-back hat-tricks to become only the second player to achieve that feat. After four goals in the 1974 edition, the West German striker held the record for most goals scored in the tournament for 32 years.

The record for the most goals in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup belongs to Just Fontaine of France, who netted 13 goals in only six games in the 1958 edition. Fontaine scored 57 per cent of the French national team’s goals in that tournament, while he also became the second player to score two hat-tricks in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup.

Pele, who defined Joga Bonito, ranks fifth in the all-time top goal-scorers list. Pele never won the Golden Boot despite his tally of 12 goals, however, he holds the record for the most FIFA World Cup titles won by a player - three. Pele remains the youngest player to play and score in a FIFA World Cup final.

The German striker Jurgen Klinsmann and Hungary’s Sandor Kocsis have netted 11 goals in the tournament. Kocsis scored two hat-tricks in four days in the 1954 edition, a record for the shortest period between two hat-tricks at a World Cup. 

Thomas Muller has scored 10 goals across three editions of the tournament and is currently the top goal-scorer among active players at the FIFA World Cup. Former English striker Gary Lineker along with Grzegorz Lato, Teofilo Cubillas, Gabriel Batistuta and Helmut Rahn have also netted on 10 occasions. 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez are joint-second among active players, both scoring seven goals each, while Lionel Messi and Harry Kane are tied at six goals.

Most goals scored by a player in the FIFA World Cup

Player

Country

Goals

Matches

Miroslav Klose

Germany

16

24

Ronaldo Nazario

Brazil

15

19

Gerd Muller

West Germany

14

13

Just Fontaine

France

13

6

Pele

Brazil

12

14

Sandor Kocsis

Hungary

11

5

Jurgen Klinsmann

Germany

11

17

Helmut Rahn

West Germany

10

10

Gary Lineker

England

10

12

Gabriel Batistuta

Argentina

10

12