World Cup Clubs

It is easy to forget, as we reflect on the successes of the various World Cup nations, that the players have been selected from the clubs where they make their living. As club football has become more international, it is revealing to consider which clubs have been most influential over the history of the World Cup. The WorldCupStory Club index is calculated on both the minutes played and goals scored of each club's players across all of the countries in the World Cup.

In first place, and therefore the most influential club in World Cup history, is Inter Milan. Juventus players have played the most number of World Cup minutes, but Inter are only about 4% behind and have a clear lead in the number of goals scored. Juve come in at number 2 and Bayern Munich complete the podium places.

Using criteria of 10,000 minutes played and 10 World Cup goals, or an equivalent score on the index, there are 31 clubs qualifying for the table below. For each of these 31 clubs, a World Cup XI dream team has been selected, as shown on each club's page.

RankClubTeamsPlayersMinsGoalsHomeCaptTop MinutesMost GoalsIndex
1Inter Milan1883297656753%55Giuseppe BergomiRonaldo65141
2Juventus1382311464973%54Gaetano ScireaPaolo Rossi / Salvatore Schillaci57018
3Bayern Munich1257273865574%38Franz BeckenbauerGerd Müller56426
4Real Madrid1267249035962%48Roberto CarlosDavor Suker56055
5Barcelona1284253615463%27Carles PuyolRivaldo53873
6AC Milan2171238942657%45Paolo MaldiniFlorin Raducioiu37622
7Penarol256142513799%8Ladislao MazurkiewiczOscar Míguez33787
8Cologne227129952899%13Wolfgang OverathHans Schäfer27779
9Manchester United1657159272147%21Bobby CharltonBobby Charlton27015
10Ajax1152143962370%21Ruud KrolJohan Neeskens26540
12Roma945141652049%14CafuRudi Völler / Falcao 24725
13Liverpool1652129491845%14Steven GerrardMichael Owen22453
14Atletico Madrid93776152843%2Diego ForlánDiego Forlán / Christian Vieri22399
15Arsenal1745131381729%5Robin van PersieThierry Henry / Dennis Bergkamp22114
16PSV Eindhoven1241134251551%6Phillip CocuRalf Edström21345
17Vasco da Gama133650828100%12DirceuAdemir21292
18Honved224650628100%12József BozsikSándor Kocsis21290
19Nacional254120931699%9Julio Montero CastilloPedro Cea20541
20Tottenham Hotspur1649112521755%14Gary LinekerGary Lineker20228
21Benfica103685002160%11Maxi PereiraEusébio19588
22River Plate248124361387%14Ubaldo FillolDaniel Passarella / Leopoldo Luque19300
23Valencia93782921843%4Mario KempesMario Kempes17796
24Hamburg830102121467%13Uwe SeelerUwe Seeler17604
26Monaco153288731655%8Manuel AmorosJürgen Klinsmann17321
27Fiorentina103773291859%1Giancarlo AntognoniGabriel Batistuta16833
28Chelsea2045109021131%9Ricardo CarvalhoHernán Crespo16710
29Kaiserslautern122681661565%6Fritz WalterMiroslav Klose16086
30Everton142983351335%2John HeitingaGary Lineker15199

A note on interpretation: 83 Inter Milan players from 18 countries have played 29,765 World Cup minutes, scoring 67 goals. 53% of that playing time has been by Italian players and on 55 occasions Inter Milan players have captain their countries in World Cup matches. Of all Inter Milan players, Giuseppe Bergomi has played the most minutes and Ronaldo has scored the most goals. Overall, Inter Milan score 65,141 points on the club index.

  • Inter are top on goals and captaincy
  • Juventus are top on playing time
  • Barcelona have had the most players selected for World Cup squads
  • AC Milan players have represented the most countries
  • Arsenal have the lowest playing time, 29%, by players from its home country
  • each minute of Flamengo's 7,943 minutes was played by Brazilians

You can see who the World Cup stars have been for these clubs, by clicking through to their dream team pages.

Does this list or the ranking surprise you? Would you expect to see Kaiserslautern making the list, but not Werder Bremen or Borussia Dortmund? And no place for Lazio or Porto?


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