10 Most Influential World Cup Players in Football History

Influential World Cup Players in Football

The World Cup surpasses the viewership numbers of the Tour de France in terms of viewership as the most viewed athletic event worldwide. According to reports, more than five billion individuals witness the tournament as it rotates, and the United States, Mexico, countries Canada are getting ready to host the tournament in 2026. Numerous legends have made headlines and made their mark on the global scene since the initiative’s inception in 1930. If you are a fan of football and want to go and watch them up close then you should get Fifa Tickets from Fifa.com first. Only winners who left an indelible mark on the tournament judges due to the way they performed are listed here. As a result, certain exceptional world cup players without having won, such as Ferenc Puskás, Johan Cruyff, and Cristiano Ronaldo, are not included.


Garrincha scored four goals to share the top score in the historic 1962 World Cup, which he won twice alongside Brazil. The competition was won by the dynamic right-winger in 1958, and he provided two assists as his team defeated Sweden 5-2 in the championship final. The team’s standout player was undoubtedly Pele, who is recognized as the best Brazilian football player of any generation, but Garrincha also had a significant impact and is unquestionably a legend of the World Cup. 

Zinedine Zidane 

With two goals in the final, Zidane—one of the sport’s best and most contentious world cup players—helped France win the 1998 World Cup at home. Despite the notorious head butt incident that sent Antoine out during the final, he moved on to win performer the player of the competition at the 2006 World Cup, having been mainly sidelined by injuries during France’s brief 2002 World Cup campaign. Whenever the team arrived back home, hundreds of thousands of supporters sang Zidane’s name along the streets of Paris.

Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona’s name is invariably mentioned when discussing the World Cup, whether it is for his incomparable skill, his genius in smashing the soccer ball into the back of the net, or his controversial early departure from the USA ’94 due to a positive drug test. Maradona was keen for victory with the national team after being left out of their 1978 winning group. Following a disappointing 1982 campaign, he increased his intensity even further in 1986, a year that would ultimately prove to be extremely successful.

Ronaldo from Brazil

The “first” For Brazil, Ronaldo scored 62 goals in 98 appearances. He was a full-fledged striker, able to mix strength, power, speed, and ability. He was well-known for using complex “step-over” techniques to get past opposing defences and make runs behind the goalie.  Ronaldo, then 17 years old, was included in the World Cup roster but did not participate. He gained notoriety during the 1998 World Cup, where he scored four goals and provided three assists—the most assists during the competition—but he infamously missed the final due to illness. Despite this, he played, as well as Brazil fell to France 3-0.

The Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer has had the experience of winning World Cups as a manager as well as a player. The former captain of West Germany won the tournament in 1974 before winning his second consecutive career Balon d’Or just two years later. Given the broad role, Beckenbauer’s five goals in eighteen games throughout three World Cups represent a very respectable total.


There is no one more deserving of the top spot on the following list than the iconic Pele, a three-time winner from Brazil. Even though an injury ended his participation in 1962, when Brazil won the championship again, Pele was crucial to their victories in 1958 and 1970 and went on to become the first real international football star.


The 1965 Ballon d’Or winner Eusebio never won the coveted World Cup, but he did excel in 1966, leading Portugal through the semi-finals before losing to eventual victors England. In just six World Cup games, the former Benfica forward scored nine goals, including four in a single game during a 5-3 victory contrary to North Korea in the quarterfinals. It was his sole appearance at the tournament.

Giuseppe Meazza 

Giuseppe Meazza is considered the most famous pre-WW2 footballer. Because of his inventiveness (dribbling, passing, vision, etc.), Italy frequently utilized him as something of a winger or assisting striker, much like Lionel Messi. He still managed to score goals, as seen by the 33 he scored in 53 games for the Azzurri.

Jimmy Greaves

Not even the legendary Bobby Moore, whose monument welcomes spectators to Wembley Stadium, had the same level of affection among common English supporters as Jimmy Greaves. Harrison was a member of the 1966 World Cup championship team but became unable to play in the championship game due to a severe injury sustained by France’s Joseph Bonnel which necessitated 14 stitches.

Ferenc Puskas

Jimmy Hogan’s Total Football program had a major impact on the Mighty Magyars, Hungary’s golden team, led by captain Ferenc Puskas.

Final Words

Numerous additional world cup players have made an impact on the field across history, thus this list is by no means comprehensive.

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