Despite the rise of the Champions League in recent years and the probably accurate view that it is in fact a more difficult competition to win, the World Cup is still the most watched and most illustrious competition in the world of football. Some players do not even get the chance to play in a World Cup, never mind win the competition.
Given that the 2014 World Cup was the 20th edition of the tournament, and the squad size has always been 23 players, there should have been 460 World Cup winners ever since the inaugural tournament back in 1930. If you take a look at the players most consider to be some of the greatest of all time; Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, Zidane, etc, who've all won the World Cup, it is clear to see that the competition has been won by some true greats of the game.
Given that a minnow has never won the World Cup, with Uruguay in 1950 and West Germany in 1954 the closest we have come to genuine underdogs winning the competition, there haven't been many, if any, truly poor World Cup winners. There have been some though, whose names among the aforementioned list of greats seem a little out of place. Here are the top 15 worst players to win the World Cup:
15 15. Mario Genta
14 14. Baldocchi
13 13. Stephane Guivarc'h
12 12. Kleberson
11 11. Franco Selvaggi
10 10. Aldo Donati
9 9. Miguel Oviedo
8 8. Roque Junior
7 7. Jenilson Angelo de Souza
6 6. Claudio Borghi
5 5. Luizao
4 4. Bernard Diomede
3 3. Jair Marinho
There are six Brazilian players on this list in total, which may seem a little harsh, but given that the country has won the World Cup five times, more than any other nation, it is perhaps to be expected. Likewise, in a list of the greatest World Cup winners of all time, Brazilians would be equally prevalent. Jair Marinho was part of Brazil's 1962 World Cup winning squad, where he was Brazil's back-up right-back to Djalma Santos.
With the greatest deal of respect, Marinho wasn't fit to lace Santos' boots. He was solid enough in his time with Fluminese and Corinthians, but distinctly average, and never featured at the 1962 World Cup, but did later win four caps for his country.
2 2. Heinz Kwiatowski
1 1. Simone Barone
The worst World Cup winner of all time is quite possibly Simone Barone. The Italian was essentially a utility player, whose greatest attribute was probably his versatility. Barone spent more than a decade playing in the Serie A with the likes of Chievo, Parma and Palermo. Despite a fairly big money move to Palermo, Barone was never a star of the division, a distinctly average player who was relegated with Torino in 2009. His inclusion in the national team baffled most, but Marcello Lippi obviously saw something in him.
He was included in the Azzurri's squad for the 2006 World Cup, where he came off the bench twice as Italy won their fourth World Cup. In total, Barone won 16 caps for Italy, and is regarded by many Italians as one of the country's worst ever internationals. His place at Palermo was taken by Australian Mark Bresciano and he never played for Italy after 2006.
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