The FIFA World Cup is arguably the most popular sporting competition in the world. It is well and truly a global event as the world, despite all their differences, unite to watch and cheer their favourite players and teams.
Players who make their mark on the greatest stage are forever remembered and enter a hall of fame. Here we take a look at five of the best FIFA World Cup players of all time:
Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
Franz Beckenbauer is possibly the greatest defender to have ever stepped out on a football pitch. He played in three World Cups for West Germany and was a constant presence at the back.
He netted four goals at the 1966 FIFA World Cup when he played as a midfielder. He then stepped back and played as a defender in the 1970 and 1974 World Cup. He was also captain of the side in 1974.
Ronaldo Nazario (Brazil)
Nicknamed ‘O Fenomeno’, Ronaldo Nazario is regarded as the most complete striker to have played the game. He featured in four World Cups for Brazil and was part of two title-clinching campaigns.
It is also widely believed that his absence in the 1998 World Cup final was one of the biggest reasons behind Brazil losing the game. Ronaldo made a comeback and was part of Brazil’s triumph in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. As far as numbers are concerned, this champion player has scored 15 goals in the World Cup.
Pele forced the world to sit up and take note when as a teenager he became the youngest player to score a World Cup goal when he was just 17 years, 239 days old. This record is not yet beaten. In 1958, he went on to score a hat-trick in the semi-final against France and then went on to score a brace in the final against Sweden.
He was injured in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups, but was at his supreme best when he made a comeback in the 1970 edition of the tournament. He was awarded the Golden Ball at the 1970 FIFA World Cup and led Brazil to the title.
Diego Maradona (Argentina)
One of the most charismatic and controversial players to play the game, Maradona slammed eight goals and provided eight assists in 21 World Cup games across four tournaments. He was the main reason why Argentina won the trophy back in 1986 when he scored a brace both in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals against England and Belgium.
He was also captain of the side that beat West Germany 3-2 in the final.
Back in the 1962 FIFA World Cup, Pele was injured in the group stages. However, a winger took up the mantle to almost single-handedly fired Brazil to the title.
Garrincha won two World Cups with Brazil. As far as numbers are concerned, Brazil have lost just the one game when Garrincha was part of the side. And, when both Garrincha and Pele were both in the lineup, Brazil was always unbeaten.