Elsewhere on this site you can read about Lionel Messi’s incredible feat of having been named the Golden Ball winner on two occasions, which is more than any other player. The Argentine picked up the award in both 2014 and 2022, demonstrating his longevity as one of the greatest footballers of all time. There are numerous other awards given out at the end of the World Cup, with the Golden Boot being one of the more prestigious. It is given to the player with the most goals scored during the tournament, with tie-breakers also coming into play if needs be.
In spite of the fact that every World Cup dating back to the first one in 1930 had a top goalscorer, the Golden Boot as an award wasn’t introduced until 1982. Back then it was known as the Golden Shoe, being re-named to its current moniker in 2010. In addition to the Golden Shoe and the Golden Boot is an award for the player that came second and the one that came third, known as the Silver Shoe / Boot and the Bronze Shoe / Boot respectively. The question is, has any player won it more than once? If not, is there a reason why they haven’t managed it?
Quick Answer: Has a Player Ever Won World Cup Golden Boot Twice?
Since it was first awarded in 1982, twelve players have won the Top Scorer/Golden Boot award at the World Cup but no player has won two or more times.
Germany’s Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller have both won a Golden Boot and a Silver Boot. England’s Gary Lineker and Brazil’s Ronaldo have both won a Golden Boot and a Bronze Boot.
Who Has Been Awarded the Golden Boot?
The interesting thing about the top goalscorer award at the World Cup is that no player has ever managed it more than once, even if you look back to the early tournaments. If more than one player has scored the same number of goals then the player with the most assists is given the award, which has been the case since 1994. If that isn’t enough to separate them, the player with the fewest minutes played will be ranked first. This is because they will have the best minutes per goal ratio.
Here is a look at the tournaments since 1982 along with the host country, in addition to the Gold, Silver and Bronze Boot winners. For the purposes of ease, we will refer to it as the Golden Boot from now on, even for the period of time when it was actually known as the Golden Shoe.
Golden Boot Winners – 1982 to 2022
|1982 (Spain)||Paolo Rossi||6||Italy|
|1986 (Mexico)||Gary Lineker||6||England|
|1990 (Italy)||Salvatore Schillaci||6||Italy|
|1994 (USA)||Oleg Salenko||6||Russia|
|1994 (USA)||Hristo Stoichkov||6||Bulgaria|
|1998 (France)||Davor Šuker||6||Croatia|
|2002 (South Korea / Japan)||Ronaldo||8||Brazil|
|2006 (Germany)||Miroslav Klose||5||Germany|
|2010 (South Africa)||Thomas Müller||5||Germany|
|2014 (Brazil)||James Rodriguez||6||Colombia|
|2018 (Russia)||Harry Kane||6||England|
|2022 (Qatar)||Kylian Mbappé||8||France|
Golden Boot Runners-Up – 1982 to 2022
|1982 (Spain)||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||5||West Germany||Silver Shoe|
|1982 (Spain)||Zico||4||Brazil||Bronze Shoe|
|1986 (Mexico)||Emilio Butragueño||5||Spain||Silver Shoe|
|1986 (Mexico)||Careca||5||Brazil||Silver Shoe|
|1986 (Mexico)||Diego Maradona||5||Argentina||Silver Shoe|
|1990 (Italy)||Tomáš Skuhravý||5||Czechoslovakia||Silver Shoe|
|1990 (Italy)||Gary Lineker||4||England||Bronze Shoe|
|1990 (Italy)||Roger Milla||4||Cameroon||Bronze Shoe|
|1994 (USA)||Kennet Andersson||5||Sweden||Bronze Shoe|
|1994 (USA)||Romário||5||Brazil||Bronze Shoe|
|1998 (France)||Gabriel Batistuta||5||Argentina||Silver Shoe|
|1998 (France)||Christian Vieri||5||Italy||Silver Shoe|
|2002 (South Korea / Japan)||Miroslav Klose||5||Germany||Silver Shoe|
|2002 (South Korea / Japan)||Rivaldo||5||Brazil||Silver Shoe|
|2006 (Germany)||Hernán Crespo||3||Argentina||Silver Shoe|
|2006 (Germany)||Ronaldo||3||Brazil||Bronze Shoe|
|2010 (South Africa)||David Villa||5||Spain||Silver Boot|
|2010 (South Africa)||Wesley Sneijder||5||Netherlands||Bronze Boot|
|2014 (Brazil)||Thomas Müller||5||Germany||Silver Boot|
|2014 (Brazil)||Neymar||4||Brazil||Bronze Boot|
|2018 (Russia)||Antoine Griezmann||4||France||Silver Boot|
|2022 (Qatar)||Lionel Messi||7||Argentina||Silver Boot|
|2022 (Qatar)||Olivier Giroud||4||France||Bronze Boot|
You can see from the tables what a mess it was when there was nothing to decide between players that scored the same number of goals. The decision to introduce a tie-breaker was an easy one to make and it came at the right time; in 2006, there were eight players that had scored three goals. Ronaldo, Crespo and Zinedine Zidane were separated from the pack on account of having registered one assist apiece, with Crespo only having played 308 minutes compared to the 411 registered by Ronaldo and 559 for Zidane.
Is There a Best Golden Boot Winner?
Though the World Cup doesn’t have an official way to decide upon the best goal scorer across various iterations of the tournament, that doesn’t mean that we can’t come up with our own way of trying to decide the matter. Looking across the table since 1982, there have been some players who have been on the list more than once. As a result, if we rank them depending on whether a player received the Golden Boot, Silver Boot or Bronze Boot, we can find a way to create a system for goalscoring prowess. We can then discern whether there are any players that stand out above the rest in terms of their ability to put the ball into the back of the net:
With one Golden Boot and one Silver Boot apiece, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Müller are the most successful players ever in terms of the award. Klose scored five goals when winning the Golden Boot and five when being awarded the Silver Boot for a total of ten goals. Müller scored five when being awarded the Golden Boot and five when getting the Silver Boot for a total of ten goals, so there was nothing on that front to separate the pair.
If you wanted to be particularly fussy, you could point towards the fact that Müller scored the same number of goals as David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlán, but won the Golden Boot on account of the fact that he notched up three assists whereas the others had one apiece.
Why Has No One Won It More Than Once?
Now that we know that no player has ever managed to win the Golden Boot award more than once, the obvious question to ask is why that would be the case. We know that World Cups only take place every four years, so that already puts players at a disadvantage in terms of being able to perform well enough to win the Golden Boot. A footballer is likely to need to be at their peak in order to score enough goals in a tournament as competitive as the World Cup, so they will almost certainly be past their peak by the time the next one comes around, hence no one being able to win it more than once.
It goes without saying that a country would need to perform well in order for a footballer to play enough games to score several goals. Interestingly, only two players have been awarded the Golden Boot in the same year that their team actually won the World Cup, with the first being Paolo Rossi scoring six goals on the way to Italy being crowned World Champions in 1982, whilst the second was Ronaldo finding the back of the net eight times as he helped Brazil win the World Cup in 2002. Players need to therefore find a combination of their own form and the ability of the country that they play for to give them enough chances to get the goals.