The World Cup remains arguably the pinnacle of the beautiful game, a festival of football where the planet’s biggest stars compete for the chance to be crowned world champions.
Entering the footballing calendar just once every four summers, opportunities to make an impact on the biggest tournament in the game are a rarity and only a select few players have made an impression on multiple World Cups.
We’ve decided to profile an exclusive group of four to have made unrivalled World Cup history, here are the four legends to have scored in four different tournaments:
For football fans of a certain generation, Pelé will forever be remembered as the greatest footballer of all-time and the Brazilian’s legend is built on his exploits on the world stage.
The imagery of a 17-year-old Pelé lighting up the 1958 World Cup in Sweden is amongst the most iconic in the history of the sport, the precociously talented youngster starring as the South American superpower were crowned as world champions for the first time, scoring a hat-trick in the semi-final against France before netting twice more in the final victory over the host nation.
The great Brazilian finished that tournament with six goals and would add six more World Cup strikes across his illustrious career, scoring in the 1962, 1966 and 1970 editions of the competition.
He finished his career with 12 World Cup goals in just 14 appearances, scoring in two separate finals and he remains the only player to have lifted the trophy on three occasions.
Pelé would help inspire Brazil to victory in both 1962 and 1970, being named as the Player of the Tournament in the latter of those successes as part of a Seleção side often regarded as the greatest in World Cup history.
An icon of German football, Seeler was once his nation’s all-time record goalscorer and played in four World Cups throughout his illustrious career – finding the net in each of them.
Seeler’s World Cup career began at the same time as the aforementioned Pelé with an appearance in the 1958 tournament in Sweden, scoring twice in the group stage before helping West Germany to the semi-finals.
Four years later the forward scored twice more as West Germany exited at the last eight stage, before forming part of the side famously beaten by England in the 1966 final at Wembley.
Seeler added three more World Cup goals during the 1970 tournament before announcing his retirement from international football, finishing his career with nine World Cup goals and a record of 43 in 73 appearances for West Germany.
Somewhat remarkably, both Seeler and Pelé became the first players to score in four World Cups on the same day, finding the net against Morocco and Czechoslovakia respectively on June 3, 1970.
The greatest goalscorer in World Cup history, Miroslav Klose scored prolifically on the international stage for Germany to become a world champion and the nation’s all-time record goalscorer.
Klose’s fine record on football’s biggest stage began with a five-goal haul at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, his tally incredibly all coming from headers as Germany were eventually beaten in the final by a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil.
The forward was renowned for his predatory instincts and aerial ability and provided the focal point for Die Mannschaft for over a decade, reaching at least the semi-finals in each of his four World Cup tournaments including on home soil in 2006.
Klose’s crowning moment came during his final World Cup in 2014, however, eclipsing the all-time record for tournament goals set by the aforementioned Ronaldo after netting his 16th World Cup goal in a historic 7-1 thrashing of host nation Brazil in the semi-finals.
Germany later beat Argentina in the final, Klose becoming a world champion at the fourth attempt and setting a record for the most ever victories by a single player in World Cup history.
The latest inclusion on this list is a man who has made breaking records seem almost routine and mundane, Cristiano Ronaldo having enjoyed a career that will see him remembered as an all-time sporting great.
Ronaldo’s World Cup journey began as a young winger in the 2006 edition where he scored against Iran in the group stage, a tournament which also saw the Portuguese involved in a controversial incident which saw then Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney sent off in a quarter-final victory over England.
Four years later Ronaldo captained Portugal but scored just once as they exited in the last-16 to eventual winners Spain, before again struggling to make an impact with a solitary goal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Cristiano Ronaldo at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 #WorldCup combined: ⚽⚽⚽
Cristiano Ronaldo in the first game of the 2018 #World Cup: ⚽⚽⚽
Just. Getting. Better. pic.twitter.com/BfZGnmjqG7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 15, 2018
Ronaldo would, however, write his named into the record books in typical style, scoring a stunning hat-trick in Portugal’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain at the 2018 edition in Russia, before scoring a winner against Morocco to finish behind only Harry Kane for the tournament’s Golden Boot.
Still amongst the world’s finest well into his thirties, don’t bet against Ronaldo becoming the first player to score in five World Cups in two years’ time.