Pele (1958, 1962 and 1970)
Pele is regarded by many pundits as the greatest footballer of all time and the player himself never fails to assert his own greatness. There are many reasons for the former forward to be regarded as the greatest player in the history of the game, and his record at the World Cups is certainly one of them.
The Santos legend got his first taste of the World Cup at the 1958 tournament in Sweden and he took the football world by storm with his splendid displays. After scoring the only goal of the game in the quarter-final, Pele scored a hat-trick against France in the semi-final and then a brace in the summit clash that sealed a 5-2 win against Sweden to help Brazil become world champions for the very first time.
Pele was injured early in the 1962 World Cup but his team’s win ensured him a winners’ medal. At the 1970 edition, Brazil were absolutely sublime as Pele became the only player to collect three world titles.
Garrincha (1958 and 1962)
The legendary footballer epitomised everything that is considered beautiful about the game. The unassuming forward played with a nonchalance that will never again be seen at the highest levels of the game and that endeared him to his football-loving countrymen.
Garrincha was Pele’s partner in crime at the 1958 World Cup and as Pele went out injured early four years later, the legendary winger stamped his authority all over the tournament to help Brazil retain the Jules Rimet trophy.
Didi (1958 and 1962)
Pele and Garrincha are the two players most synonymous with Brazil’s first two World Cup wins, but it is hard to imagine the country achieving its remarkable feat without the presence of Didi in midfield.
Famous for his sumptuous free-kicks – he is regarded as the inventor of the folha seca (dry leaf) free kicks – it was Didi who was voted the best player at the 1958 World Cup.
Giuseppe Meazza (1934 and 1938)
The legendary Italian was an integral part of Vittorio Pozzo’s Azzurri that became the first team to win back-to-back World Cups. He scored a late goal in Italy’s first round 7-1 hammering of the United States at the 1934 edition and scored the only goal of the quarter-final replay against Spain after the two sides remained locked at 1-1 at the end of extra time in their first encounter. He scored no further goals in the tournament but remained a menace for the opposition defences.
He became a double world champion at home in 1938 as Italy successfully defended their title after beating Hungary 4-2 in the final.
Cafu (1994 and 2002)
The AC Milan legend is regarded by many as the greatest right-back in the history of the game. He was a fringe player at the 1994 World Cup as Jorginho was preferred in the right side of defence by manager Carlos Alberto Perreira.
However, at the 2002 World Cup, Cafu was the captain as Brazil won their fifth World Cup in Japan.