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Which legend scored more goals at the World Cup?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 June 2018

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi shake hands during a friendly in 2014. Photo: Martin Rickett / PA

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina's Lionel Messi shake hands during a friendly in 2014. Photo: Martin Rickett / PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Who will also impress at this summer’s tournament and potentially force themselves into our all-time World Cup XI?

Pelé or Baggio? Batistuta or Maradona? Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Thomas or Gerd Müller? Which legend has found the net the most times at World Cup tournaments?

Most of the world’s top stars will be in action in Russia this summer, but who will either consolidate or earn a place alongside some of the greats from the World Cup over the last 60 years? Here’s our all-time World Cup XI.

Lev Yashin

Yashin played in three World Cups for the Soviet Union, helping them to two quarter-finals in 1958 and 1962 and a fourth-placed finish in 1966. He was the first and only goalkeeper to win the European Footballer of the Year award in 1963.

Paolo Maldini

Maldini played in three World Cups for Italy as both a left-back and centre-back and, although he retired trophyless in 2002 after 126 international appearances, his status as one of the game’s greatest defenders was secured.

Carlos Alberto

Best known for his stunning rocket-shot in the final of his first and only World Cup against Italy in 1970, the Brazilian pioneered the roving full-back role which would be much emulated – but seldom matched – in decades to come.

Franz Beckenbauer

The undisputed great of German football, Beckenbauer made over 100 appearances for the national team. He played in three World Cups and found success in his final outing, when Germany beat Holland to win the title in 1974.

Bobby Moore

Cited by no less than Pele as the greatest defender he has ever played against, loyal West Ham man Moore left his indelible mark on English football history by captaining the nation to victory on home soil in 1966.

Johan Cruyff

The great Dutch playmaker produced a series of dazzling performances to lead his nation to the 1974 final, where they were narrowly beaten by Germany. Cruyff was also voted European Footballer of the Year three times.

Garrincha

The brilliant, elusive ‘Little Bird’ inspired Brazil to two World Cup wins in 1958 and 1962. Garrincha scored four goals in the later stages of the 1962 competition and his displays on the right flank earned him the Player of the Tournament accolade.

Lionel Messi

Considered a natural successor to Diego Maradona, the talismanic Argentinian made his World Cup debut in 2006, starred in 2010, and then won the Golden Ball in 2014 when he almost single-handedly guided his country to the final, where they lost to Germany.

Diego Maradona

Love him or loathe him, few would argue Maradona does not deserve his place in the game’s pantheon. Maradona played four World Cups and hit the heights in 1986, when a pair of wonder goals against England and Belgium propelled Argentina to the title.

Thomas Muller

The attacker has been arguably Germany’s most influential player at the last two World Cups, which saw them finish third in 2010 and win it in 2014. In South Africa his five goals and three assists won him the Golden Boot and the Best Young Player award, while in Brazil, Muller bagged another five goals on the way to lifting the trophy.

Pele

Starting with a series of stunning performances as a 17-year-old in 1958, and culminating in the starring role in Brazil’s magnificent winning team in 1970, Pele underlined his status as one of the game’s all-time greats many times over.

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