The Majestic Golden Boot

March 17, 2010

Miroslav Klose. Ronaldo. Davor Suker. If these names don’t ring any bells, do not be worried, because the last three winners of the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot have been mostly surprising, sans Ronaldo. In 1998, the Turkish forward Suker was the shocking winner, followed by a dominating eight goal tournament by Ronaldo en route to the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, and lastly Miroslav Klose’s solid performance in Germany in 2006. The Golden Boot is overshadowed by the World Cup winners and rightfully so but it still is a prestigious honor.

In the 2010 World Cup this summer in South Africa, there are several leading candidates for the Golden Boot and as the past has shown, predicting the eventual winner is a difficult task. Here are the favorites:

England's Rooney has been unstoppable this season

The England renaissance that has been orchestrated by manager Fabio Capello has much more to do with Wayne Rooney’s development into a world class striker than anything else. Rooney completely dominated in World Cup qualifiers scoring nine times en route to a near perfect record for the Three Lions. After missing out in the European Championships in 2008, England are relishing the opportunity to unleash Rooney on the world’s best, and anyone trying to predict a Golden Boot winner will think twice before looking past England’s number 10.

Spain's lethal striker David Villa

After Spain’s dominating performance at the 2008 European championships which saw David Villa win the award for top scorer, few would be wrong to bet against Villa to carry his impressive goal scoring record into South Africa. As one of the top scorers in Spain’s La Liga for club team Valencia, Villa has shown that he can score against the to clubs in Spain even when playing for a lower quality team. Often the subject of transfer rumors, Villa has stayed with Valencia and continued to bag goals season after season, and his performance in South Africa will be one that many are excited for.

FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi

Argentina’s hopes at the World Cup this summer are largely squared on the small shoulders of their superstar winger, Lionel Messi. Drawing comparisons to the legendary Diego Maradona, Messi has accomplished a lot in his short career and at the age of 22, he will be competing in his second World Cup, and hopes to make a bigger impact this time. Argentina has been inconsistent as of late, but the talent on their team is unquestioned, especially when Messi is playing in the team. As a player who can turn a match on it’s heels at any moment, Messi will be hoping to set the tournament alight this summer, and at this point has to be the overwhelming favorite as tournament top scorer.

Notably absent from this short list is Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. The reason being is Ronaldo’s poor scoring record for his country as of late, which leads fans to believe that he isn’t in the same role in the Portuguese team that he is for Real Madrid. Time will tell whether Ronaldo can recapture his club form in the Portugal jersey, but if he finds his scoring touch this summer, he will surely be up their with the favorites for the Golden Boot.


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