Every footballer on earth dreams of bringing glory to their homeland by emerging victorious from the crowded field of 32 nations, earning the opportunity to hoist the ultimate symbol of team success, the FIFA World Cup trophy.
Of course there is another trophy that the players will covet in the tournament, the Adidas sponsored Golden Boot. Since the first World Cup in 1930, the Golden Boot has been awarded to the highest goal scorer in the World Cup Finals. Team success is where a player's ambition should aim, but honestly, there is no team success without scoring goals!
On the surface, it may seem like solely an individual award, but to win the Golden Boot, there is much more of a team effort involved than it may seem. First of all, your team must play well enough to progress deep into the tournament, allowing the goal scoring opportunities one would need to capture the honor of being named the Cup's leading scorer. Secondly, even the most talented footballer on earth cannot take on world class defenses alone. One needs the passing service and cooperation of his teammates to achieve World Cup immortality.
With a handful of games in the book already, we have just a tiny glimpse of who may be among the leaders in the final stages of the 2010 World Cup, but we still have a long way to go before anything is decided.
Since 1978, 6 of the 8 top scorers in the World Cup have finished with 6 total goals, with the most in that time period being Brazil's legendary Ronaldo with 8 goals in the 2002 World Cup. Germany's Miroslav Klose led all scorers with 5 goals in Germany 2006, so we have a general idea of approximately how many to expect from 2010's leading scorer.
Who will add their name to this list of accomplished finishers in South Africa?
Let's take a look at a few players who might have the opportunity to capture this coveted honor in 2010.
Of course, I could not profile everyone, as time and space is limited, but there are several other players worthy of at least honorable mention.
Uruguay's Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez and Sebastian Abreu are a formidable scoring threat.
Chile's Humberto Suazo scored a highly impressive 10 qualifying goals, but his health is in question for the World Cup Finals.
Arjen Robben of the Netherlands displayed his virtuosic skills in the Champions League, leading Bayern Munich to a second place finish and etching his name among the game's elite.
Theofanis Gekas displayed a lethal finishing touch for Greece, scoring 10 goals in World Cup qualifying matches.