The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious and anticipated competition in football history with countries competing to determine who earns the title of World Champion for the next four years.
All FIFA World Cup Top Scorers [Golden Boot winners]
Harry Kane will battle Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi to retain the Golden Boot award he won in 2018
While the ultimate target for every country is the trophy, players keep an eye on the individual awards with the Golden Boot - awarded to the World Cup top scorer - one of the most important ones.
The World Cup Golden Boot award (initially referred to as the Golden Shoe award till 2010) was officially handed out for the first time at the 1982 World Cup.
Though there have been World Cup top scorers in each of the previous editions, no official award was presented to the winners till the Spain '82 World Cup.
Since then, there have been 10 winners of the Golden Boot award with popular players such as Ronaldo, Gary Lineker, and Davor Suker all previous recipients of the World Cup Golden Boot award.
However, Italian striker Paolo Rossi was the first player to be named the Golden Boot winner after finishing as the World Cup top scorer in the 1982 World Cup.
Here are details of all the World Cup top scorers/Golden Boot winners from 1982 till date:
1982 World Cup Top Scorer: Paolo Rossi (Italy) - 6 goals
Italian forward Paolo Rossi was the star of the Spain '82 World Cup, leading the Azzurris’ of Italy to win the World Cup trophy as well as scoring six (6) goals along the way.
Rossi was also awarded the Golden Ball award of the 1982 World Cup for being the best player of the tournament, making him one of only three players to ever win the World Cup trophy, the Golden Boot, and the Golden Ball awards at a single World Cup.
Rossi was also named the 1982 Ballon d'Or winner, making him the only player to have won all four prestigious awards in one calendar year.
1986 World Cup Top Scorer: Gary Lineker (England) - 6 goals
England striker Gary Lineker won the 1986 Golden Boot award for scoring six (6) goals in five (5) matches during the Mexico '86 World Cup.
Despite being knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by Argentina and Diego Maradona's famous 'Hand of God' goal, Lineker's hat-trick against Poland in the final group stage game, his brace against Paraguay in the Round of 16, and his consolation goal against Argentina in the quarterfinal were enough to see him finish top of the goalscorers list.
Lineker is England's record goalscorer at the World Cup, with 10 goals. He scored four (4) more goals during the 1990 World Cup before England crashed out in the semifinals.
1990 World Cup Top Scorer: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) - 6 goals
Schillaci was the surprise package of the Italia '90 World Cup, edging favourites Diego Maradona and Lothar Matthaus to the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards on home soil.
Schillaci's six (6) goals in seven (7) matches helped Italy win bronze at the 1990 World Cup while securing him the World Cup top scorer gong.
Schillaci partnered with the famous Roberto Baggio as Italy's preferred strike duo during the 1990 World Cup which ended up being the peak of his international career with the Italian national team.
1994 World Cup Top Scorer: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) & Oleg Salenko (Russia) - 6 goals
The United States 1994 World Cup saw two players share the Golden Boot award after both Hristo Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko finished with six (6) goals each.
Stoichkov's six (6) goals came in seven (7) matches as he led Bulgaria to a fourth-place finish at the 1990 World Cup while Salenko's six (6) goals incredibly came in just three (3) matches as Russia crashed out at the group stage.
Salenko's haul was significantly helped by his five-goal haul against Cameroon in the group stage, becoming the only player ever to score five (5) goals in a single World Cup game.
1998 World Cup Top Scorer: Davor Suker (Croatia) - 6 goals
Suker was the architect of Croatia's third-place finish at the France '98 World Cup, scoring six (6) goals in seven (7) matches en route to the podium.
Croatia lost to eventual champions France in the semifinals, despite Suker opening the scoring in the 46th minute as he staked a claim for the top scorer position.
Suker scored in the first two group stage games as well as every knockout game of the 1990 World Cup, going on to win the Silver Ball award.
2002 World Cup Top Scorer: Ronaldo (Brazil) - 8 goals
After narrowly missing out on winning the World Cup trophy in 1998, Ronaldo Nazario de Lima returned with a bang for the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup.
As part of a front three featuring Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, Ronaldo finished as the 2002 World Cup top scorer with 8 goals from 7 matches.
Other than winning the World Cup Golden Boot award, Ronaldo also won the Silver Ball as he led Brazil to its fifth World Cup triumph.
2006 World Cup Top Scorer: Miroslav Klose (Germany) - 5 goals
German striker Miroslav Klose made his mark at the 2006 World Cup hosted by Germany by finishing as the Golden Boot winner with five (5) goals in seven (7) matches.
Klose earlier scored five (5) goals in his debut World Cup in 2002 but this time, his five-goal haul was enough to guarantee him the World Cup Top Scorer gong as well as a bronze medal with Germany.
Klose would go on to become the highest goalscorer in World Cup history as he featured in two more World Cup editions before retiring.
2010 World Cup Top Scorer: Thomas Muller (Germany) - 5 goals
Thomas Muller edged the trio of David Villa, Wesley Sneijder, and Diego Forlan to the 2010 Golden Boot award in an unprecedented feat.
After all four players finished the tournament with five (5) goals apiece, the tie-break rule of assists was applied. Muller provided three (3) assists during the tournament, edging the remaining three players who had one (1) assist each.
Muller also won the Best Young Player award along with his Golden Boot as Germany finished in third place at the South Africa 2010 World Cup.
2014 World Cup Top Scorer: James Rodriguez (Colombia) - 6 goals
Colombia's first-ever appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals was inspired by James Rodriguez's brilliance at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Rodriguez scored six (6) goals in only five (5) matches as he powered Colombia through the group stages and past Uruguay in the Round of 16.
The Colombian forward earned rave reviews from legends such as Diego Maradona and Oscar Tabarez as well as securing a move to Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid in the aftermath of the tournament.
2018 World Cup Top Scorer: Harry Kane (England) - 6 goals
England returned to the podium at the Russia 2018 World Cup thanks to Harry Kane's determination to win the World Cup top scorer award.
Kane bagged six (6) goals in six (6) matches as the Three Lions reached the semifinals before falling to the tournament's surprise package, Croatia.
The bulk of Kane's goals at the 2018 World Cup came in the group stage as he scored five (5) goals in the first two matches of the tournament before adding his last goal in the Round of 16 clash against Colombia.
Previous World Cup Top Scorers
Before the Golden Boot era, these were the top scorers from every FIFA World Cup edition from 1930 - 1978.
World Cup Top Scorers (1930 - 1978)
1930 - Guillermo Stabile (Argentina) - 8 goals
1934 - Oldrich Nejedly (Czechoslovakia) - 5 goals
1938 - Leonidas da Silva (Brazil) - 7 goals
1950 - Marques Ademir (Brazil) - 5 goals
1954 - Sandor Kocsis (Hungary) - 11 goals
1958 - Just Fontaine (France) - 13 goals
1962 - Drazen Jerkovic (Yugoslavia) - 5 goals
1966 - Ferreira Eusebio (Portugal) - 9 goals
1970 - Gerd Muller (West Germany) - 10 goals
1974 - Grzegorz Lato (Poland) - 7 goals
1978 - Mario Kempes (Argentina) - 6 goals
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