Some of the all-time greats left their mark on soccer’s greatest stage. Here are the 10 best player performances in World Cup history.

Pele (1958): The 1958 World Cup in Sweden was the first to receive international television coverage. It was the perfect stage from which the career of the most recognized athlete of the 20th century and the greatest soccer player of all time was launched: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, more famously known as Pele. Nobody captured the imagination of the Swedish fans like the Brazilian. With six goals to his credit, including a pair in the final, the 17-year-old who grew up in poverty announced his presence to the world.

Maradona (1986): No one player dominated a tournament the way Diego Maradona did in Mexico. The brilliant Argentinean artist delivered his country its second World Cup title, scoring five goals – most of them brilliant – setting up several others and dominating games with his wizardry, skill and vision. England’s Gary Lineker finished as the tournament’s top scorer, but Maradona was the hero and won the Golden Boot award as the MVP.

Just Fontaine (1958): Fontaine scored more World Cup goals than Pele even though the Brazilian played in three more tournaments. The Frenchman’s 13 goals in six games at the 1958 competition is a mark that will likely never be broken.

Gerd Muller (1970): Nicknamed “Der Bomber,” Muller was the tournament’s top scorer with 10 goals – he recorded a hat trick in two consecutive games in the opening round – as he guided West Germany to the semifinals in Mexico.

Paolo Rossi (1982): What can possibly be said that already hasn’t been stated about the man that led the Azzurri to their first World Cup in 44 years? Rossi was kept scoreless through the first four games in Spain, but …read more



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