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This page provides you with statistics and brief profiles of seven famous FIFA World Cup™ players, and re-lives some of the great memories that the competition has seen. If you are looking for either the winners of past World Cups or history of soccer World Cups please access the dedicated sections for these.

Gerd Müller, German World Cup Legend

Gerd Müller
West Germany. D.O.B. 3/11/1945. 14 Goals in 2 World Cups (1970, 1974).

Known as “Der Bomber”, Gerd Müller holds many records for his striking prowess, and is still the top goal scorer of the FIFA World Cup™. As a 16-year old, he scored a whopping 180 goals in just one season (1962/3) for the amateur club he was playing for at the time. With that kind of record then it is no surprise that he was snapped up by Bayern Munchen as an 18-year old, and whilst he was made to wait 10 games for his Bayern debut, he scored twice and went on to score 365 goals in 427 games in the German Bundesliga.

His international record is even more impressive, scoring more than a goal a game coming in at 68 goals in 62 games for West Germany throughout his whole career. He retired at the early age of just 28 from international football, after lifting the 1974 World Cup in his home country.

It has been said many a time that without Müller, Bayern Munchen would not be where they are today as one of the best European football teams there is.

Pele, Brazilian World Cup Superstar

Brazil. D.O.B. 23/10/1940. 12 Goals in 4 World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966, 1970).

Commonly known as the best player the world has ever seen, Pele really did have it all. Exceptional talent, tremendous technique and a great touch he was most prominent in his last World Cup helping Brazil lift the trophy in 1970. In the first game of this tournament he scored what many people believe to be the best header ever, waiting an age for it to come down whilst still getting an enormous amount of power on it giving the goalkeeper no chance.

He may well have scored many more goals, however his World Cup soccer career was a challenging one. In the 1962 Chile World Cup he missed most of his country’s games through injury – including the final, and in the 1966 England World Cup his reputation hindered him as he was virtually kicked out the tournament by brutal defending.

Eusebio, Portugese World Cup Hero

Portugal. D.O.B. 25/1/1942. 9 Goals in 1 World Cup (1966).

The first world-class striker to break out of Africa, and originally from Mozambique, Eusebio or the “Black Pearl” as he was called, was only 18 years old when was signed by Benfica for £7500.

After racking up a hat-trick on his debut, he went on to play for Benfica for 14 years, scoring more than a goal per game, and totalling 319 goals in 313 appearances overall. One the best strikers the world has ever seen, he was a one-man attack force with speed, skill and height.

He regularly didn’t need to rely on supply lines from midfield to score, and in 1966 when Portugal qualified for their first World Cup, he scored an amazing 9 goals in 6 games, when they finished 3rd after being knocked out to eventual winners England in the semi-finals. He won the Golden Boot award for top scorer in the competition.

Although he was involved with both the 1970 and 1974 qualifying campaigns, Portugal never got to the World Cup finals again, and so he never got to display his skills on the world stage once more.

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Maradona, Argentinian World Cup Legend

Diego Maradona
Argentina. D.O.B. 30/10/60. 8 Goals in 4 World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994).

Diego Maradona scored one of the most famous World Cup goals ever in the quarter-final against England in 1986, where he ran from the halfway line with the ball and beat the entire England defence on his own. Unfortunately, it was also the same match in which he scored the now infamous “hand of God” goal.

USA 1994 saw Maradona’s World Cup career come to an abrupt end when he failed a drugs test. He was subjected to a post-match dope test after helping Argentina beat Nigeria, and was found to be positive for five different substances. Video replays of him celebrating yet another wonder goal in the match against Greece the game before clearly show him to be under the influence.

Beckenbauer, German World Cup Superstar

Franz Beckenbauer
West Germany. D.O.B. 11/9/1945. 5 Goals in 3 World Cups (1966, 1970, 1974).

The master of creating time and space for himself on the ball, it has been said that Beckenbauer often appeared to be playing a completely different game to everyone else in the match. With fantastic vision and being one of the first players to ever start to drop-off behind the main attackers, it’s no wonder he scored as many goals as he did – defenders just couldn’t handle him.

One of only two men in football history to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager (the other one is Brazil’s Mario Zagalo), lifting the trophy in front of his home fans in 1974 was the pinnacle of his playing career. Beckenbauer is the only man in the World to also lose a World Cup soccer final as both a player and a manager (1966 and 1986 respectively).

Sir Bobby Charlton, English World Cup Hero

Bobby Charlton
England. D.O.B. 11/10/1937. 4 Goals in 3 World Cups (1962, 1966, 1970).

Often known as one of England’s most famous ever players, Charlton was a very versatile midfield player who played in many different positions throughout England’s changing tactics over the years. He clocked up an immense 106 caps for his country, and is still England’s highest ever goal scorer, a great record for a man who played many a defensive midfield role in his latter years.

Also known for great passing and his thunderous shot, Charlton’s highlight of his career was lifting the World Cup trophy on English soil in 1966. Survivor of the tragic Munich Air disaster in 1958 which killed 7 of the famous Busby Babes team of Manchester United, Charlton is now known as an ambassador of football, alongside his role as Manchester United director, and became Sir Bobby Charlton when he was knighted in 1994.

Johann Cruyff
Holland. D.O.B. 25/4/1947. 3 Goals in 1 World Cup (1974).

The now infamous Holland team and its “Total Football” approach to the 1974 World Cup brought a new train of thought into the tactical side of the game. Cruyff was at the heart of all this, playing on the left wing but often drifting into the middle and running circles around defenders, he was definitely a crowd-pleaser.

He only played in this one tournament, but bagged himself 3 goals along the way to the final, where Holland were beaten by West Germany leaving many a person disappointed and feeling that Holland deserved the victory. At the age of 31 he refused to play in the 1978 World Cup despite huge demand and offers from the Dutch public and officials.

Despite this, Cruyff is still regarded as a true legend, winning the coveted European Player of the Year three times throughout his career.

Johan Cruyff, Dutch World Cup Legend


Sources: Articles from the Official FIFA World Cup website; Articles from the BBC Sport website; Articles from

This World Cup soccer famous players article was all re-written and re-organised by us here at NFF: 2006 Cup World (, we hope it was useful for you!

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