Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: How many goals have they scored at the World Cup? Who is top goalscorer?


Goals, goals, goals – that’s what football is all about, and the player who finds the back of the net most at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is going to give their team a very good chance of winning the tournament.

Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all been tipped to be the leading goalscorer in this year’s World Cup, which takes place from November 20 to December 18.
But who has the most World Cup goals ever, and which player has scored the most at one tournament? Here is a list of all records under threat at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Who has the most World Cup goals?

It’s not Pele, or Diego Maradona, or (the Brazilian) Ronaldo who has the most World Cup goals. It is, in fact, Germany’s Miroslav Klose.

His compatriot Gerd Muller held the record from 1974 with his 14th goal that came in the final for West Germany against the Netherlands. He surpassed France’s Just Fontaine, who scored 13 goals from six games.

Ronaldo took Muller’s mantle in 2006 when he netted his 15th World Cup goal, before Klose set a new target of 16 goals by scoring in Germany’s famous 7-1 victory against Brazil in the 2014 semi-final.

Of current players, Thomas Muller – with 10 – has the highest tally at World Cups, tying him eighth on the all-time list, and he will be hoping to add to that in Qatar.

Player Country World Cup matches World Cup goals
Miroslav Klose Germany 24 16
Ronaldo Brazil 19 15
Gerd Muller Germany 13 14
Just Fontaine France 6 13
Pele Brazil 14 12
Sandor Kocsis Hungary 5 11
Jurgen Klinsmann Germany 17 11

Most World Cup goals in a single tournament

Remember Fontaine from France we mentioned above? Astonishingly, his 13 goals all came from one tournament in 1958.

France didn’t even reach the final, as they finished third, but Fontaine’s hat-trick in the opening game was followed by two more braces and four goals in the third place play-off, with a couple more goals along the way.

He broke Hungary’s Sandor Kocsis’ record of 11 goals which was set in the previous tournament in 1954.

Muller is next on the list with 10 goals in Mexico 1970, with Portugal’s Eusebio and Brazil’s Ademir on nine goals apiece.

The lowest number of goals for the top goalscorer at a World Cup is four, which was accomplished by six players in Chile 1962.

England’s Harry Kane was the Golden Boot winner last time out in Russia 2018 with six goals as the Three Lions finished fourth.

Player Country Year Goals
Just Fontaine France 1958 13
Sandor Kocsis Hungary 1954 11
Gerd Muller Germany 1970 10
Eusebio Portugal 1966 9
Ademir Brazil 1950 9
Guillermo Stabile Argentina 1930 8
Ronaldo Brazil 2002 8

Who has more World Cup goals – Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

The never-ending Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo debate can’t be settled by the World Cup, with neither player shining on football’s biggest stage.

Both players have competed at every World Cup since 2006 and it’s Ronaldo who has the slight edge, having scored seven goals.

He has an opportunity in Qatar to become the first player to score at five consecutive World Cups should he find the back of the net for Portugal.

Messi has six goals at the World Cup but failed to score in South Africa 2010 where Argentina lost in the quarter-finals to Germany.

Lionel Messi goals Cristiano Ronaldo goals
2006 1 1
2010 0 1
2014 4 1
2018 1 4


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