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Four World Cup icons



Throughout its long history, the World Cup has been defined by outstanding individuals. Those who have won numerous World Cups, scored hatfuls of goals in multiple tournaments, or simply lit up the occasion with their skill and trickery, are the players we remember when we look back at World Cups gone by.

As the 2022 edition of the tournament continues apace in Qatar, and fans peruse the World Cup 2022 betting odds, we’ve taken a look at four of the most iconic names from the history of the World Cup. Enjoy this trip down memory lane, as we look at the players whose performances defined the biggest tournament in international football.


When it comes to global footballing superstars, Pele was perhaps the first. Despite scoring over 1000 career goals, the Brazilian’s flair and trickery were first the talk of the planet when he burst onto the scene at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Playing in four World Cups throughout his career, Pele bagged 12 goals in total.

Indeed, his record of winning the tournament three times still stands to this day, and may never be broken. Pele was the shining star of the early Brazil teams that took international football by storm and dominated at the World Cup on multiple occasions. His legacy still endures to this day.

Diego Maradona

Another player who many regard as one of the greatest of all time, Diego Maradona was a unique talent. With his flair and trickery, he became a mainstay of a classic Argentina side in the 1980s and 190s. Maradona played in four World Cups, scoring eight goals in the process.

It was the 1986 World Cup in Mexico where Maradona truly left his mark, as he lead Argentina to the title. The quarter-final against England showcased both sides of Maradona’s footballing personality — the raw talent which defined his outstanding solo goal, which still stands as one of the great World Cup goals of all time, and indeed his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, which demonstrated his willingness to bend the rules.

Maradona was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and his performances at the World Cup are a huge part of his legacy.


If the talent of Pele defined Brazil’s dominance in the 1960s, Ronaldo was the main man in the 1990s and 2000s. Perhaps the most talented out-and-out centre forward in the history of the game, Ronaldo played in two World Cup finals, winning it in 2002 and scoring an astonishing 15 World Cup goals throughout his illustrious career.

The 2002 World Cup was where Ronaldo truly carved his legacy. By bagging a brace in the 2-0 win against Germany in the final, Ronaldo made amends for the 3-0 loss to France in the final four years earlier, where he underperformed due to illness.

Miroslav Klose

The only player to score more goals than Ronaldo in the World Cup finals is Miroslav Klose. With 16 strikes to his name, the German is the perfect example of a player who saved his best for the quadrennial international showpiece.

After a series of near misses — Germany lost the final in 2002 before finishing third in both 2006 and 2010 — Klose finally got his hands on the World Cup in 2014, beating Argentina 1-0 after extra time in the showpiece match.

His unique knack of finding the back of the net at World Cups deserved a winners medal, and Klose will go down as a true World Cup icon.

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