The FIFA World Cup is the greatest spectacle in sport, with the finest players in the business gathering every four years to battle it out for the right to be considered the best on the planet. Only one team can emerge victorious, but plenty will position themselves as serious contenders for the ultimate prize.
Within those ranks will be some of the most prolific performers to have ever played the game, with the art of goalscoring still worth its weight in gold as it remains the most difficult skill to master and maintain over a prolonged period of time.
World Cup top scorers by country 🌍 pic.twitter.com/Sm19IbhvrI
— GOAL (@goal) November 14, 2022
Those who prove most productive in the final third of the field will become heroes to millions, particularly when starring on the grandest of stages. If shooting boots can be found at a World Cup finals, then Golden Boot odds will shorten and major international honors will fall within reach.
Plenty of all-time greats have timed their runs, both literally and figuratively, to perfection when gracing global gatherings that require them to peak at just the right time. Has there, though, ever been a multiple winner of the prestigious Golden Boot?
The short answer to that is, no. Across the 21 finals that had been staged heading into 2022, a different top scorer had emerged at each and every event. Turning the clock all the way back to 1930, nobody has ever managed to replicate their endeavors from a previous event.
Guillermo Stabile of Argentina was the first man to claim a Golden Boot, as he found the target on eight occasions at an inaugural tournament in Uruguay, while Sandor Kocsis of Hungary made history when reaching double figures in 1954.
The 1958 finals may have been dominated by Pele, but French frontman Just Fontaine famously registered 13 goals to top the scoring charts. Portuguese legend Eusebio took first prize in 1966, while Gerd Muller and Mario Kempes helped West Germany and Argentina respectively to World Cup wins in the 1970s.
Paolo Rossi of Italy, Gary Lineker of England, Croatia’s Davor Suker and Brazil icon Ronaldo have all claimed Golden Boots since then.
Germany striker Miroslav Klose is the all-time leading scorer at World Cup finals, but has only been the leading marksman at one in 2006, with fellow countryman Thomas Muller following in his footsteps at the 2010 event before a baton was passed on to Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez.
adidas Golden Boot Award:
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 15, 2018
Harry Kane fired England to the semi-finals in 2018 with six efforts to his name, but the Three Lions came unstuck against France at the quarter-final stage at Qatar 2022 – denying Tottenham’s striker a shot at going back-to-back in the top scorer stakes.
With Kane out of the running, the trend has continued when it comes to first-time winners of the Golden Boot. England’s captain will believe that he has one more World Cup left in him, as attention starts to drift towards 2026, but history dictates that even players of his caliber will find it difficult to make history when it comes to the most difficult job in football – finding the back of the net.