GOAL50 2022: The best World Cup Wonders revealed after your vote

GOAL50 2022 World Cup Wonders Ranking Header
Your votes have been counted and we can now confirm the overall winner of the GOAL50 2022 World Cup Wonders!

GOAL50 is an annual award that gives fans the power to rank the 50 best footballers in the world over the previous 12 months.

This year GOAL50 featured three categories of players to vote on. In addition to the Men and Women categories, we added a special once-off World Cup Wonders category to pay tribute to the tournament legends of the past.

GOAL50 employs a unique voting system that sees fans voting on a series of head-to-head clashes between players in each category.

There were 2,450 possible player match-ups in each category, and the players with the most victories have now been crowned the GOAL50 2022 winners.

Here are the final standings, and the overall winner, of the World Cup Wonders GOAL50 2022!

  1. Diego Maradona - Argentina

    #1 Diego Maradona - Argentina

    Perhaps the greatest player of all time, the inspirational Maradona dragged Argentina to the title in 1986, scoring one of the most magnificent goals in the tournament's history—a mazy 60-yard dribble against England—only minutes after giving the Albiceleste the lead with the infamous 'Hand of God'.

  2. Pelé - Brazil

    #2 Pelé - Brazil

    The only player to have won three World Cups, Pele brought his excellence to bear on the tournament like no player past or present—from scoring twice as a dazzling 17-year-old in the 1958 final against Sweden to spearheading Brazil's iconic 1970 vintage.

  3. Ronaldo - Brazil

    #3 Ronaldo - Brazil

    O Fenomeno scored 15 goals in 19 World Cup matches - winning the title in 1994 and 2002 - with his eight strikes during the latter competition capping a remarkable comeback following final heartbreak at France '98.

  4.  Zinedine Zidane - France

    #4 Zinedine Zidane - France

    The most mesmerising playmaker of his generation, Zidane went from hero to villain at the World Cup; netting twice in the '98 final as France won their first crown in Paris, before his headbutt on Marco Materazzi left Les Bleus reeling eight years later.

  5. Ronaldinho Gaúcho - Brazil

    #5 Ronaldinho Gaúcho - Brazil

    Has anyone ever played the sport with more joy than Ronaldinho? The Brazil maestro brought an endless array of flicks and tricks to the party as Brazil won the crown in 2002, with his technique and invention securing him a place in the Team of the Tournament.

  6. Johan Cruyff - Netherlands

    #6 Johan Cruyff - Netherlands

    Cruyff was the genius at the heart of the Netherlands' Total Football heroes of the 1974 World Cup, one of football's true artists and the inspiration behind - arguably - the finest side to fall short at the grandest stage of all.

  7. Andrés Iniesta - Spain

    #7 Andrés Iniesta - Spain

    Another one of the idealogues in Pep Guardiola's iconic Barcelona side, Iniesta was also the star man of Spain's 2010 generation, capping a Man of the Match display with the extra-time winner against the Netherlands at Johannesburg's Soccer City.

  8. Xavi - Spain

    #8 Xavi - Spain

    The heartbeat of the dominant Spain team that won the 2010 tournament in between two triumphs in the European Championships, Xavi was the centerpiece of La Roja's tiki-taka masters and helped transform the landscape of elite football.

  9. Gianluigi Buffon - Italy

    #9 Gianluigi Buffon - Italy

    The 176-cap Italy great who was one of the finest goalkeepers in the sport's history, and kept five clean sheets as Italy won their first title in 24 years in 2006.

  10. Rivaldo - Brazil

    #10 Rivaldo - Brazil

    Ex-Barcelona superstar who scored five as Brazil won the title in 2002, including the quarter-final equaliser against England, although the highlight of that campaign was his breathtaking volley to down Belgium in the Last 16.

  11. Franz Beckenbauer - Germany

    #11 Franz Beckenbauer - Germany

    Masterful as a libero, centre-back, defensive midfielder or deep-lying forward, Beckenbauer was an ultimate Rolls Royce footballer, who lead Germany to the title on home soil in 1974 before repeating the feat as a manager at Italia '90.

  12. Gerd Müller - Germany

    #12 Gerd Müller - Germany

    Der Bomber scored 14 goals in 13 World Cup appearances, with the highlight—undoubtedly—being his winner against the Dutch in the 1974 final in Munich.

  13. Romário - Brazil

    #13 Romário - Brazil

    The star performer at USA '94, Romario scored five as Brazil romped to their fifth title, and it was a great opportunity missed that injury and fallings out denied him the chance to partner Ronaldo at the subsequent tournament.

  14. Gabriel Batistuta - Argentina

    #14 Gabriel Batistuta - Argentina

    The only player to have scored hat-tricks in two separate World Cups, Batistuta's record of 10 goals in 12 outings in the tournament is remarkable, even if Argentina fell short in '94 and '98 before bombing four years later.

  15. Lothar Matthäus - Germany

    #15 Lothar Matthäus - Germany

    The 150-cap Germany legend who dominated midfields across 25 World Cup appearances, the highlight being his 1990 campaign when he captained Germany to their third title.

  16. Alessandro Del Piero - Italy

    #16 Alessandro Del Piero - Italy

    The Juventus legend didn't truly demonstrate his quality at either the 1998 or 2002 tournaments, but he certainly came good in 2006, scoring in extra-time against hosts Germany in the semi-final to take the Azzurri one step closer to their ultimate glory.

  17. Oliver Kahn - Germany

    #17 Oliver Kahn - Germany

    Appeared, at times, to be on a one-man mission to drag a limited Germany side to the title in 2002, Kahn's mammoth displays during that tournament are harshly overshadowed by his error to allow Ronaldo in for the opener in the final.

  18. Fabio Cannavaro - Italy

    #18 Fabio Cannavaro - Italy

    Became the first defender to win Fifa's World Player of the Year award on the back of his performances at the 2006 tournament, as he captained Italy to the title, leading by example with his anticipation, tackling and defensive rigour.

  19. Miroslav Klose - Germany

    #19 Miroslav Klose - Germany

    Not as fashionable as some of the other players on this list, but Klose can't be touched at the pinnacle of the all-time World Cup goalscoring charts, having scored 16 goals in 24 outings in the tournament. He reached the final in 2002, and won the title 12 years later.

  20. Garrincha - Brazil

    #20 Garrincha - Brazil

    Perhaps the greatest dribbler in football history, Brazil's Garrincha lit up the 1958 and 1962 World Cups—winning both—with his bewitching display against the Soviet Union in Gothenburg one of the tournament's all-time great individual performances.

  21. Roberto Baggio - Italy

    #21 Roberto Baggio - Italy

    The Divine Ponytail deserved much better than his decisive penalty miss to cost Italy the title in the 1994 final shootout, with his performances up to that point - including five goals - among the greatest by an Italian player in the tournament's history.

  22. Dennis Bergkamp - Netherlands

    #22 Dennis Bergkamp - Netherlands

    Averaged a goal every other game across the 1994 and 1998 tournaments, although one strike stands out above all others, with Bergkamp's sensational flick-and-volley against Argentina going down in history as one of the World Cup's most breathtaking moments.

  23. Eusébio - Portugal

    #23 Eusébio - Portugal

    The Mozambique-born forward was the Golden Boot winner in 1966, with his dribbling, pace and technical prowess making him an unstoppable force for both Portugal and Benfica.

  24. Bobby Charlton - England

    #24 Bobby Charlton - England

    England's top scorer before being eclipsed by Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane, Charlton scored 49 in 106 for the Three Lions, including a stunner against Mexico in the '66 group stage, and a double to down Portugal in the semi.

  25. David Villa - Spain

    #25 David Villa - Spain

    The spearhead of Spain's 2010 champions, Villa scored five goals en route to the title in South Africa - including knockout winners against Portugal and Paraguay - and remains La Roja's all-time top scorer with 59 international goals.

  26. Dunga - Brazil

    #26 Dunga - Brazil

    Underappreciated captain of Brazil's 1994 champions, the gritty midfielder replaced Rai as skipper during that campaign, and almost repeated the feat four years later, only for France to eclipse the Selecao on home soil.

  27. Lilian Thuram - France

    #27 Lilian Thuram - France

    An elegant defender who won 142 caps for France, Thuram saved his best for the 1998 World Cup, and specifically the semi-final against Croatia, when he netted his only two international goals as Les Bleus triumphed 2-1 en route to the title.

  28. Bastian Schweinsteiger - Germany

    #28 Bastian Schweinsteiger - Germany

    The lynchpin in Germany's midfield as they won the title in 2014, Schweinsteiger neutralised Lionel Messi in the final, while dictating the play for the Mannschaft.

  29. Paolo Rossi - Italy

    #29 Paolo Rossi - Italy

    Recalled from match-fixing disgrace to fire Italy to the title in 1982, Rossi repaid Enzo Bearzot's faith in the knockout stages, scoring twice against Poland in the semi-final and opening the scoring in the 3-2 final triumph over West Germany.

  30. Diego Forlán - Uruguay

    #30 Diego Forlán - Uruguay

    Golden Ball winner in 2010, Forlan was majestic as Uruguay reached the semi-finals, with a vuvuzela-silencing goal against South Africa and a magnificent free kick against Ghana among the best goals of the whole tournament.

  31. Mario Kempes - Argentina

    #31 Mario Kempes - Argentina

    The star of Argentina's 1978 World Cup triumph, Kempes scored twice in the 3-1 final victory over the Netherlands, who had no answer to his speed, power and lethal finishing.

  32. Roger Milla - Cameroon

    #32 Roger Milla - Cameroon

    Milla's iconic corner-flag celebration became one of the most memorable images of a cynical Italia '90, with the 38-year-old stepping into a super-sub role and scoring four times as Cameroon became Africa's first-ever quarter-finalists. In 1994, he netted against the USSR to become - at 42 - the oldest-ever World Cup scorer.

  33. Bobby Moore - England

    #33 Bobby Moore - England

    Captained England to the title in 1966, the elegant Sir Bobby amassed 108 caps for the Three Lions and saved his best performance for his iconic one-on-one duel with Pele in 1970.

  34. Gary Lineker - England

    #34 Gary Lineker - England

    One of two Englishmen to have won the World Cup Golden Boot, Lineker scored six - including a hat-trick against Poland - in 1986, before returning to score four as the Three Lions reached the semi-finals in Italy four years later.

  35. Didier Deschamps - France

    #35 Didier Deschamps - France

    Only three men have won the World Cup as both a player and a manager, with Deschamps - nicknamed the Water Carrier - captaining France to the title in 1998 before returning to the pinnacle of the world game as head coach of Les Bleus 20 years later.

  36. Marcel Desailly - France

    #36 Marcel Desailly - France

    Ghana-born Desailly was nicknamed 'The Rock' for a reason, and delivered a series of imperious displays in the heart of France's defence as Les Bleus won a first-ever World Cup on home soil in 1998.

  37. Claudio Caniggia - Argentina

    #37 Claudio Caniggia - Argentina

    Controversial Caniggia was the first player ever to be sent off from the bench during the 2002 World Cup, but is better remembered for his exploits in 1990 where he made a series of decisive contributions as Argentina reached the final...only to be suspended for that 1-0 defeat by West Germany.

  38. Hugo Sanchez - Mexico

    #38 Hugo Sanchez - Mexico

    Arguably the finest Mexican player of all time, Sanchez was both a great scorer of goals and a scorer of great goals; known for his acrobatic celebrations, the striker was part of the Mexico side that reached the quarter-finals in 1986.

  39. Gheorghe Hagi - Romania

    #39 Gheorghe Hagi - Romania

    The 'Maradona of the Carpathians' was sensational at the '94 tournament as Romania reached the Last Eight, netting three times at the tournament while also delivering an elite performance as Argentina themselves were ousted in the knockouts.

  40. Daniel Passarella - Argentina

    #40 Daniel Passarella - Argentina

    The only Argentina player to win two World Cup titles, Passarella first captained Argentina to the title in 1978, establishing himself as one of the finest defenders in the history of the sport with his technique, timing and controlled aggression. He was also present for the '86 success.

  41. Geoff Hurst - England

    #41 Geoff Hurst - England

    Hurst's finest hour - undoubtedly - came in 1966, when he stepped in to replace injured Jimmy Greaves and became the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, with his treble taking England beyond fierce rivals West Germany.

  42.  Paul Gascoigne - England

    #42 Paul Gascoigne - England

    Mesmerising for England at Italia '90, Gascoigne's performances - and tears - during that tournament helped a whole new generation of football fans engage with the sport, although while this led indirectly to the Premier League explosion, injury prevented Gazza from reaching those heights again.

  43. Iván Zamorano - Chile

    #43 Iván Zamorano - Chile

    Ivan the Terrible was part of a fearsome Chile forward line alongside Marcelo Salas, enjoying an enviable goalscoring record for the national side and with giants like Real Madrid and Internazionale.

  44. Salvatore Schillaci- Italy

    #44 Salvatore Schillaci- Italy

    The son of a bricklayer, Schillaci was a late arrival in the Italy squad for the 1990 World Cup, but his eye for a goal and penchant for making an impact in big matches made him the darling of a nation. He was the most unlikely Golden Boot winner in the tournament's history.

  45. Luis Hernández - Mexico

    #45 Luis Hernández - Mexico

    Mexico's highest-ever World Cup scorer, the blonde-haired Hernandez netted four goals at the '98 tournament, including a memorable double to down South Korea at the Stade de Gerland.

  46. Rashidi Yekini - Nigeria

    #46 Rashidi Yekini - Nigeria

    The sight of the late Rashidi Yekini, mouth roaring, the goal net clasped to his face, remains one of the all-time great African World Cup images, with the Bull of Kaduna overwhelmed after netting Nigeria's first-ever goal at the tournament against Bulgaria in 1994.

  47. Landon Donovan - USA

    #47 Landon Donovan - USA

    The greatest USMNT player ever, Donovan married an immense work rate with technical prowess and is the highest-scoring US player in the World Cup's history. He was Young Player of the Tournament in 2002, as the States reached the quarter-finals.

  48. Paul McGrath - Republic of Ireland

    #48 Paul McGrath - Republic of Ireland

    Classy Republic of Ireland centre-back who overcame chronic injuries to star in the iconic Eire generation that won admirers aplenty at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups under the great Jack Charlton.

  49. Sami Al Jaber - Saudi Arabia

    #49 Sami Al Jaber - Saudi Arabia

    Represented Saudi Arabia in four consecutive World Cup tournaments between 1994 and 2006, netting in three separate editions including the opener in the Green Falcons' first-ever victory in the competition - against Morocco in East Rutherford.

  50. Ahn Jung-Hwan - South Korea

    #50 Ahn Jung-Hwan - South Korea

    His Golden Goal against Italy in the 2002 Last 16 showdown in Daejeon cost him his contract at Serie A Perugia - who promptly sacked the forward in the aftermath of his winner - but he remains beloved in his homeland for firing them into the Last Eight.