Ever wondered what happened to the biggest soccer names of all time? Look no further as we bring to you the whereabouts of some of the most famous players the World Cup has ever known.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira was one of the best soccer players Brazil ever exported. He retired in 2018 and was considered one of the best players the world had ever known, given the title of the best player in 2004 and 2005. He had two World Cup appearances.
At the early age of 17, he made the Brazilian first team. When playing for Gremio's senior team, in 52 appearances, he scored 21 goals. He ended his career playing for Fluminense. These days, he is making the headlines but for completely other reasons.
He is no longer with us, however, there was no way to complete a World Cup article without mentioning the almighty Diego Maradona. He was, without a doubt, one of the best soccer players in history and the most phenomenal World Cup performers.
There is much debate about who is the better soccer player, Maradona, who played for Argentina, or his arch-rival, the late Brazilian soccer player, Pelé. The FIFA committee couldn't decide either, as they were jointly titled FIFA Player of the 20th Century.
The Central mid-fielder and striker, Steven Gerrard has more than just a great career to his name. He is a soccer icon that has played for England in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups. In the 2010 tournament, he scored a goal for his home team.
He has since turned to coaching and held the Liverpool manager-in-waiting position. He became Aston Villas' manager which apparently came as a natural move as he is succeeding.
Brazilian Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima is one of the best soccer players the world has known. It is not by chance that he was also nicknamed 'The Phenomenon' ("O Fenomeno"). In 2002 he smoothly led Brazil to win the World Cup.
He played for the Brazilian national team and for Real Madrid CF, where he had a strong influence on other players. He has had some health issues and has packed up soccer altogether.
David Beckham made his first-team debut at age 17 way back in 1992, beginning his professional club career with Manchester United. Throughout his career, he played in three World Cups: 1998, 2002, and 2006. Beckham is the first English player to win league titles in four countries, England, Spain, France, and the United States.
And today? He is one of the owners and president of Inter Miami and a co-owner of the Salford City football club. Besides that, he is still the pretty face behind many top-of-the-range brands.
Zinedine Zidane is a name no one can forget. The one-in-a-generation French coach and player had a career every soccer player can dream of. From 1996 until 2006 he played for France in the World Cup.
He earned his fame and fortune playing for Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid, and the French national team bringing them significant achievements and recognition. Most recently, he was known as Real Madrid's coach.
In the 1998 World Cup, the Liverpudlian Michael Owen showed us what soccer was all about when he scored for England against Argentina. He played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, and Manchester United.
His magnetic moves on the grass and his modest and humble ways turn him into one of the most lovable ball kickers the world has known. Since his retirement, he is seen on the screen as a commentator for BT sports.
Up until 2021, he was still running the field with an impressive career behind him. He played for England in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups. Besides playing soccer, his face has been all over big brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and Nokia, which helped turn him into a soccer legend.
These days, he is a soccer coach for the American D.C. United team. At his peak, Rooney was one of the most successful British players on the field — one of the greatest of his time.
Franz Beckenbauer played for Germany in the 1966, 1970, and 1974 World Cups. In 1974 he was the team's captain and in 1990 he was the team manager. In the 1966 match, he scored two goals out of the famous 5 against Switzerland.
Beckenbauer retired from playing international soccer at the early age of 31 and then moved to New York. He has almost reached his 80s and these days he runs the tournament organizing committee.
Tim Howard is presumably the best goalkeeper the USA soccer team has ever had. He played for his national team in 2006, 2010, and 2014, however, didn't score any goals.
He wore the Manchester United, Everton, and Memphis uniforms throughout his career until he retired in 2017. These days, Tim Howard works as an analyst for NBC Sports' Premier League coverage.
Miroslav Klose is known especially for his goalscoring performance that amazed the fans for years. The 2014 World Cup is one to remember when Klose scored a goal in the notorious 7-1 semi-final. That goal made him the highest-ranked goalscorer in World Cup history.
In 2016, he felt enough was enough and retired from playing the game. These days, Klose is part of the Austrian Bundesliga club and performs as head coach.
The retired French soccer player scored six goals altogether in the World Cup torments he played in between 1998 and 2010. He was considered (at his peak) one of the best strikers out there. Even today, some argue that Henry is probably the best soccer player the world has ever known.
He rose to fame while playing for Arsenal, maintained his glory at Barcelona FC, and ended his magnificent career with the New York Red Bulls. These days he is an assistant coach for the Belgium national team.
When it comes to kicking the ball, Pelé was one you just couldn't ignore. He was, without a doubt, one of the most legendary figures of the 20th century, not only in soccer but in sports in general. He played for Brazil in the 1958-1970 World Cups.
In his entire career, Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Known as Pelé) scored 541 goals in the top division, with a total of 1297 goals in his entire career. After retiring, Pelé could pursue other passions, like his efforts as a UN ambassador for ecology and the environment. He passed away in late 2022 and was for sure the greatest of them all.
At his peak, Carlos Valderrama was the biggest name in Columbian soccer. He appeared in three World Cup tournaments — 1990, 1994, and 1998. In his 111 international games, he scored 11 goals.
Valderrama might have ditched the soccer field, however, he hasn't left the ball completely. Since his retirement, and now in his 60s, he has been part of Atlético Junior and performs as an assistant manager.
There was a time when the best goalscorer in the world was not Ronaldo and not Miroslav. It was German Gerd Muller who held that title and was considered one of the best in the world. He starred in the 1970 and 1974 World Cups scoring a total of 14 goals.
In 2021, Gerd sadly died, leaving behind him a successful career and a legendary name. He played for Bayern Munich and for Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and his national team of west Germany at the time, until 1974.
Back in the 1990s, Cafu was one of the biggest names in the world of soccer. Just like the 21st century's Messi, Cafu was top-ranked before anyone else. He played in three World Cup finals — 1994, 1998, and 2002, winning two of them.
He earned his title, glory, fame, and loads of money by playing for the greatest teams at the time. He played for Real Zaragoza, Roma, and AC Milan. These days he, has his own foundation and spends most of his time doing charity work.
Clint Dempsey starred in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cup tournaments. He showed off his great physique and extraordinary talent playing for Fulham, Tottenham, and Seattle Sounders and was ranked as one of the best American soccer players in the world.
His medical situation led to him having heart procedures and eventually bringing him to retirement in 2021. He has packed up soccer altogether and enjoys his life with his family, and fishing.
If you are a soccer fan and if you were around in the 1990s, there is no doubt that you are familiar with the legendary Lothar Matthaus. He is one of the few players to play in five World Cups, appearing in 1982, 1986, 1990 (bringing victory), 1994, and 1998.
He has a rich history of playing for Bayern Munich and the New York Metro Starts. He is well past his 60th birthday, however, his legend will never age. These days, he is a prominent TV pundit for German Television.
Raúl González Blanco
Former soccer player Raúl was at his peak in 1994, while playing for Real Madrid FC. He stayed with Madrid until 2010 and then moved to play for other teams. He made a performance in three World Cups, 1998, 2002, and 2006.
He ended his career while playing for New York Cosmos, leaving a respectable career behind him. These days, he is the manager of Real Madrid Castilla.
The great Platini played in three World Cups, a total of 14 games during which he scored five goals altogether. He is considered one of the best French soccer players in history.
After a lavishing career playing for Nancy and Juventus and for France and Kuwait, in 1988 he retired from soccer and carried on living the game through various positions in the industry.
John Terry played for England in two World Cups. Until today, he is considered the best soccer player Chelsea ever knew. Before that, he played for Aston Villa and Chelsea.
Up until 2021, John Terry was the assistant manager for Aston Villa. These days, he is contributing his talent to developing the future generation of Chelsea as a coaching consultant.
The Spanish Iniesta rose to greatness while captaining the youth Barcelona team, and in 2002 he was already part of Barcelona FC. In the 2010 world cup, he became the star of the tournament when he scored a goal in the last minute during extra time.
In 2018, he signed on with the Japanese Vissel Kobe club, and although he wishes t return to his Catalan team, the end of his career is just around the corner.
Three World Cups and ten goals are what Batistuta will always be thanked for. He is the pride of the Argentinian soccer world and is the only soccer player in history to score two hat-tricks in different World Cups.
He played professionally until 2005 and then retired completely. Spending most of his time in Australia, he has a construction company and a number of farms that he runs.
Franck Ribéry was a left-side winger known for his speed, precise passing, and unique style. Over his career, he played for Olympique de Marseille, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, and Salernit and appeared in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
He is considered one of the best dribblers on the field and had often been referred to as the "jewel of French football". These days he is still part of Salernitana and holds the position of a technical collaborator.
The Italian Roberto Baggio is obviously known for his great soccer moves on the field, however, he is also known for his unique hairstyle. He played for Italy in 1990, 1998, and the never forgotten 1994 games where Italy reached the finals and lost to Brazil.
After a career with Juventus, Bologna, and Inter Milan, Baggio didn't proceed to management like many other players. He ended his soccer days in 2004 after more than 30 years on the field.
Although they have what is known as the best league in the world, when it comes to the World Cup, 1966 was the only year the trophy came home. Playing for the English team, Bobby Charlton was one of the biggest names back then.
In total, he played in four World Cups, scoring four goals altogether. Three of them were in the 1966 tournament. Up until 1983, he was still part of the game, playing manager for Wigan Athletic F.C. These days, he is struggling with a severe medical condition, leaving behind his legacy.
Fabio Cannavaro paved his path to fame playing for Napoli, Parma, and Juventus. He had only one appearance in the World Cup games, however, it was a remarkable one and he is one of the few players who played every single minute of the final game.
Bringing his country to victory in the 2006 World Cup became his hallmark. In 2013, Cannavaro turned to management and he has been managing ever since.
Landon has played in three World Cups scoring a total of five goals. He starred in the 2002 World Cup and received the best young player award. The Californian soccer player had his days of fame when he played for LA Galaxy, Bayern Munich, and Everton.
Landon hasn't been playing for quite a while now, however, he has not abandoned soccer entirely. Amongst many other positions, Landon performs as an adviser for the English Lincoln City Club.
From 1990 until 2002, Paolo took a significant part in the World Cup, wearing the Italian national team's uniform. He has been titled one of the greatest defenders of all time. His father, Cesare Maldini, was a big name in Italian soccer too.
During his magnificent career, he played for one team only — AC Milan. These days, he is the technical director for Milan as well as the co-owner of the championship club Miami FC.
In 1990, legend Roger Milla gave the performance of his life at the World Cup. He was 38 years old at the time, not young for a soccer player, and still managed to grasp the title of being the best African player in the world.
It is not clear what Roger Millas is doing these days, however, he has left such a mark in soccer history, and has brought so much pride to his nations, the rest doesn't really matter.
In the 1970s, Jairzinho was the hottest name in soccer. He played for Brazil in the 1966, 1970, and 1974 World Cups. He is known as the only player to score in every game in the 1970 tournament and in that same game, he brought home the trophy.
These days, he is the manager of Esprof Atletico Futebol Clube in Brazil and is still known as one of the best Brazilian soccer players the world has ever known.
Lineker is one of the greatest English names in soccer. He has scored the most goals in World Cup matches than any other English player. He is also remembered for his goal in the controversial Maradona match in 1986.
Lineker is not only famous amongst the 20th-century soccer generation. Today, he is better known for presenting Match of the Day, the most popular sports show on British television.
1990 was a memorable World Cup for everyone, especially for England and Paul Gascoigne. He received a yellow card in the semi-final, which prevented him from playing in the last and final game. That was the only World Cup tournament Gascoigne participated in.
These days, he is well into his 50s and not involved in soccer at all. Unfortunately, he is one of the few former soccer players who didn't retain an easy retirement, having a drinking problem and blowing all of his money.
Romanian Hagi was known as “The Maradona of the Carpathians”. In the 1994 World Cup, he led his national team to the quarter-finals, beating along the way Argentina, Columbia, and USA who hosted the tournament that year.
During his career, he played for Barcelona and Real Madrid. These days, he is the owner and the manager of Liga I club Farul Constanța.
Marco Tardelli performed in three World Cups, playing for his national team, Italy. He played in 1978, 1982, and 1986. The 1982 games are what brought him to fame with the goal he scored against Germany which led to the "Tardelli Cry".
Throughout his career, he played for Pisa, Como, and Juventus and managed Internazionale, Bari, and the Italian national team. These days he is not involved in soccer at all.
Schumacher (not F1 Schumacher) played for Germany in the 1982 and 1984 World Cup tournaments. Together with Kahn, Neuer, and Maier, Schumacher adorns the list of Goalkeepers Germany had produced.
After playing for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund he moved on to a manager's position for Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen as a goalkeeper trainer. He left the world of soccer in the early 2000s and never returned.
To this day, Dino Zoff is the oldest goalkeeper ever to play a match in the World Cup games. He played for Italy for a total of four tournaments, with a total of seventeen games.
He, later on, joined Juventus as a member of the technical staff, mainly performing as a goalkeeper coach. In 2005 he packed his soccer life up and left behind an amazing career and reputation.
Frank Lampard played for England in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups. He took his first footsteps in soccer playing for West Ham. Just one year later he brought the team to success, coming fifth in the Premier League.
These days, he is the manager of Everton, one of the premier league teams. Lampard is also known as one of the most impressive penalty-takers, with nine goals to his name.
This Brazilian superstar is known for his outstanding achievements on the soccer field. Out of 553 appearances in his career, he scored 249 goals. He played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
Rivaldo contributed his superb talent by playing for many teams, however, he is most recognized in his dazzling yellow uniform while playing for the Brazilian national team. Besides being active on Instagram, Rivaldo doesn't seem to do much these days.
The 1966 World Cup games were the only ones Mozambican Eusebio played in, however, they were the best games he could wish for, with nine goals to his name. He went home that year winning the Golden Boot.
He went on paying for the New Jersey Americans and Las Vegas Quicksilvers. In 2014, he passed away at the age of 71 with no one ever taking his title away.
With nine goals in World Cups to his name, Rossi was phenomenal back in the 1970s and 1980s. After being banned from the World Cup games following some illegal issues he was involved in, Rossi returned in 1982, showing everyone what soccer was all about.
He ended his career in 1987 playing for Hellas Verona F.C., and those were his last soccer days. Rossi died at the early age of 64 after an ongoing battle that he unfortunately lost.
Wesley Sneijder was considered one of the best midfielders the soccer world has ever known. He played for The Netherlands in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cup tournaments and rose to fame wearing the uniforms of Inter Milam, Real Madrid, and Nice. In 2018, the kicker said farewell to soccer.
Unlike many other former soccer players, Wesley didn't turn to coaching or to management and his legend drifted away as if it almost never existed.
Before Carlos became a soccer ambassador, he was one of the greatest names in Brazilian soccer. He participated in the 1998, 2002, and 2006 World Cups and was named El Hombre Bala, "The Bullet Man" because of his powerful free kicks.
And what does Carlos do today? He is a soccer ambassador. What is a soccer ambassador? Well, it's basically being in charge of the club's PR, as in recruiting, marketing, and managing.
If you were around in the 1990s, Oliver Kahn is a name you surely remember. He was titled the best goalkeeper in 1999, 2002, and 2002 and played for his home team Germany, in four World Cups.
Kahn retired from playing the game in 2006 and he became a TV sports commentator. In 2021 he had enough of TV and went on to become the CEO of Bayern Munich AG.
In Italy, he is named "The Eighth King of Rome". In the world of soccer, he was nicknamed "The Golden Boy". Whatever you choose to call him, Totti is a phenomenon, being the youngest Captain in series A to date. He proudly played for Italy in two World Cups, and until 2017 played for Rome.
Totti once said that soccer is played for love, and these days, unfortunately, it is played for money. Nowadays he is an agent, searching the globe for new talents and new big dreamers.
When you think of Robbem you think of fast dribbling and long-distance ball shots. He played in three World Cups representing The Netherlands with a total of six goals. Throughout his career, he played for the best, including Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich.
Arjen Robben retired twice. In 2019, he fled the game after a severe injury, however, returned for just seven games. Then, in July 2021, at the age of 37, he called it quits completely and is now not associated with soccer at all.
Some people read books, and some people read soccer games. Philipp Lahm was known as one of the best game readers, who could predict the next move. Nicknamed the "Magic Dwarf," he played in three World Cups, bringing the trophy home in 2014.
In 2014, he hung up his cleats, however, he didn't leave the industry completely. These days he is the German FA's tournament director for the future Euro tournament.
Rafael Márquez is the Mexican player who played in the most World Cup tournaments — five altogether. He is also considered the best defender Mexico has ever exported. Throughout his career, he played for big names such as Barcelona, Monaco, and New York Red Bulls.
When he was 39 years old, like many, Márquez turned to coaching, and these days he is the head coach of the Spanish Barcelona Atlètic.
If you're going to participate in one World Cup tournament throughout your entire career, it better be a good one, and for Johann Cruyff, 1974 was a great one. He scored three goals and brought The Netherlands to the final.
Cruyff retired from kicking that ball in 1984, and he coached until 2013. In 2016, he sadly passed away after fighting another battle and unfortunately losing.
Robin Van Persie
Without a doubt, Robin Van Persie is one of the best strikers of his time. He is known for his unique technique and intelligent game. In 2006, 2010, and 2014 he played in the Dutch Uniform while playing for Manchester United, then moved to Feyenoord where he finally retired.
Van Persie didn't neglect soccer altogether and today he is holding his first management role as assistant manager at boyhood club Feyenoord. He is the all-time scorer for the Dutch team.