World Cup Best Players of All Time | 2024 Edition


Soccer, widely known as football, is the world’s most popular sport, and the World Cup is its most prestigious tournament. The World Cup Best Players have not only showcased extraordinary talent but have also become national heroes and international superstars, leaving an indelible mark on the global stage. These athletes, recognized as the World Cup Best Players, have transcended the sport, inspiring millions and solidifying their legacies in the annals of football history.

Suggested Read: DEVASTATION | 6 English Bankrupt Football Clubs

World Cup Best Players

Every four years, the world is mesmerized by athletes who showcase exceptional skill, flair, and sheer brilliance on the field. Here are the 10 greatest World Cup players of all time, each of whom has made a lasting impact on the sport.

1. Pele

Widely regarded as the greatest World Cup player of all time, Pele’s legacy is defined by his extraordinary power, accuracy with both feet, and an uncanny ability to anticipate his opponents’ every move. His fantastic vision and intelligence on the field allowed him to seamlessly link up with his teammates, creating opportunities and setting up plays that showcased his exceptional footballing IQ.


Pele was an integral part of four World Cup campaigns for Brazil, playing a crucial role in securing three of those tournaments with victories in 1958, 1962, and 1970. Over the course of his World Cup career, he amassed an impressive 12 goals and a record 10 assists in just 14 appearances. His remarkable contributions to the sport have cemented his status as a football legend and an enduring icon of the World Cup.

2. Diego Maradona

Argentinian national hero Diego Maradona is widely recognized as the second-best World Cup player of all time. Over the span of four tournaments, Maradona played in 21 matches, scoring eight goals and providing eight assists. His remarkable skill, creativity, and influence on the field made him a standout player in every World Cup he participated in.


Maradona’s greatest legacy is undoubtedly the victorious 1986 World Cup. This tournament is etched in history, particularly for his infamous “Hand of God” goal and the breathtaking “Goal of the Century,” both of which came during the quarter-final match against England. These iconic moments not only separated Argentina from England but also solidified Maradona’s status as one of the most memorable and controversial figures in World Cup history.

3. Ronaldo

Ronaldo is undeniably one of the greatest World Cup players and strikers of all time. He played a pivotal role in leading Brazil to World Cup victories in 1994 and 2002, cementing his legacy in the annals of football history. Over the course of four tournaments, he scored a then-record 15 World Cup goals, showcasing his consistent excellence on the world stage.


At the peak of his career, Ronaldo was a formidable striker, known for his explosive dribbling, precise finishing, and extraordinary flair. His dynamic playing style and charismatic presence made him one of the most thrilling World Cup players to watch. Beyond his on-field prowess, Ronaldo was also one of the most commercialized athletes in sports history, attracting a massive global following and elevating the profile of the World Cup.

4. Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer is credited with revolutionizing football by popularizing and perfecting the modern sweeper role. Known as “Der Kaiser,” he is the only defender in history to have won the Ballon d’Or twice, a testament to his exceptional talent and influence on the game. Beckenbauer led Germany to World Cup victories both as a player in 1974 and as a manager in 1990, demonstrating his profound impact on the sport from multiple perspectives.


During his career, Beckenbauer appeared in three World Cups for West Germany. He combined his defensive prowess with remarkable ball-playing ability, seamlessly transitioning from defense to attack and orchestrating plays from the back. His unique style and tactical intelligence made him one of the best players in World Cup history, leaving an enduring legacy in international football.

5. Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthaus is celebrated as one of the best World Cup players of all time, known for his exceptional passing range, technical prowess, and leadership qualities that elevated the performance of those around him. As a versatile German midfielder, Matthaus was a powerhouse on both offense and defense, showcasing his comprehensive skill set and football intelligence.


Matthaus made a record 25 World Cup appearances across five tournaments, a testament to his enduring excellence and consistency at the highest level of competition. His duels with Diego Maradona in the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals are particularly notable, highlighting his role in some of the most memorable matches in World Cup history. His contributions to the game have solidified his status as a true legend of the sport.

6. Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane was a footballing genius, renowned for his exceptional technical skills and remarkable vision on the field. As one of the greatest players of his generation, Zidane was an impeccable passer and effortlessly dictated the flow of games. His ability to perform under pressure was a defining characteristic, often delivering when it mattered most.


Zidane starred for France in three World Cups, with his most memorable performance coming in the 1998 tournament held on home soil. He played a pivotal role in leading France to victory, scoring two crucial goals in the World Cup Final. Zidane’s influence and brilliance have left an indelible mark on the history of the World Cup, solidifying his legacy as one of the sport’s all-time greats.

7. Gerd Muller

Renowned as one of the most prolific goal scorers on the world’s grandest stage, Gerd Muller left an indelible mark representing West Germany. Widely hailed as one of the finest finishers in football history, he showcased his remarkable skill by netting 10 goals during the 1970 tournament and adding four more in 1974.


Muller’s presence on the field was a constant challenge for defenders, as his exceptional footballing intelligence and clinical finishing made him a perennial threat. His ability to find the back of the net was unmatched, evident in his remarkable record of averaging better than a goal per international game. Muller’s enduring legacy as a relentless and effective striker continues to resonate in the hearts of football fans around the globe.

8. Garrincha

Despite facing the adversity of a spinal deformity that left him bow-legged, Garrincha is widely regarded as the greatest dribbler of all time, showcasing an unparalleled ability to evade defenders effortlessly.


His explosive bursts of speed and mesmerizing feints played a pivotal role in Brazil’s triumphs in consecutive World Cups in 1958 and 1962. During these historic tournaments, Garrincha forged a formidable partnership with the legendary Pele, their combined talents dazzling spectators and securing victories for their nation. Garrincha’s extraordinary skill and resilience against physical limitations continue to inspire awe and admiration, cementing his status as an icon of the beautiful game.

9. Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore possessed a rare ability to orchestrate attacks from the defensive line, exhibiting remarkable composure even in the face of intense pressure. His leadership qualities came to the fore when he guided the Three Lions to victory in the 1966 World Cup, etching his name in English football history as a national hero.


Regarded as one of the finest defenders of all time, Moore’s defensive prowess was unmatched. With phenomenal precision, he had a keen ability to anticipate and dismantle opposing attacks, earning him a reputation as a defensive maestro. His legacy as a stalwart at the back endures, inspiring future generations of defenders with his exceptional reading of the game and unmatched skill set.

Johann Cruyff

Renowned as a three-time Ballon d’Or recipient, Johann Cruyff is hailed as one of the greatest World Cup players of all time, despite never clinching the tournament title himself.


Cruyff’s remarkable technical prowess set him apart as one of the most gifted players in football history. His leadership was evident as he guided the Netherlands to the World Cup Final in the 1974 tournament, contributing four goals along the way. Despite the team’s valiant efforts, they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against West Germany in the final match. Cruyff’s unforgettable performances on the world stage solidify his status as an icon of the game, leaving an enduring legacy that transcends his accolades.

Read More: The 6 Worst and Most Hated Football Referees of All Time


The World Cup Best Players embody the pinnacle of football excellence, each leaving an indelible mark on the global stage. From the incomparable dribbling skills of Garrincha to the defensive mastery of Bobby Moore, and the mesmerizing brilliance of Pele and Maradona, these iconic athletes have transcended the sport, inspiring millions and solidifying their legacies in the annals of football history. As the world eagerly awaits the next generation of World Cup stars, the enduring legacy of these legends serves as a testament to the enduring power and magic of the beautiful game.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top