With the action all set to kick off at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, much of the attention will focus on the sides tipped to challenge for honours. Yet while teamwork and solidarity will be vital factors in that quest, as ever there will be another prize on offer. For many of the stars on show, finishing top of the scoring charts will no doubt prove almost as enticing.
The field looks particularly strong this year, with the likes of Neymar, Fernando Torres, Mario Balotelli, Javier Hernandez, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, David Villa and Stephan Al Shaarawy all hungry to live up to their stellar reputations. The surest way to impress will be to find the net, of course, but only the most prolific marksman among them will get to cradle the adidas Golden Boot.
The race for that much-coveted trophy clearly seems poised to be fascinating, bringing to mind some of the classic goalscoring tussles from tournaments past. FIFA.com now casts an eye over the previous editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup and remembers some of the exquisitely gifted strikers who have lit up the competition since 1992.
Saudi Arabia 1992: Batistuta, Murray share top position
With just a few matches in this edition, goals galore were not expected as the tournament saw the participation of four teams, playing two matches each. Gabriel Batistuta of Argentina and USA's Bruce Murray shared the top position in the scoring charts after netting two goals each. 'Batigol' netted his pair in their opening 4-0 win over Cote d'Ivoire while Murray also scored his two goals against the African side in their 5-2 victory in the third place match.
Saudi Arabia 1995: Garcia on top
Mexico took part in the second edition and El Tri produced a good showing thanks to the superb form of Luis Garcia, who scored three goals in Group A, with a brace in a 2-0 win against Saudi Arabia while he was also on target in their 1-1 draw with Denmark. While Mexico finished third in the competition, Garcia at least went home with the individual accolade of top scorer thanks to his endeavours.
Saudi Arabia 1997: Romario rules supreme
Three years after helping Brazil win the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™ with his five goals, Romario was the name on everybody's lips yet again in Saudi Arabia. The prolific forward helped himself to a brace against the hosts and weighed in with further efforts against Mexico and the Czech Republic, before outdoing himself with a hat-trick against Australia in the final. That superb showing left Romario a long way ahead of rivals after the dust had settled, with no one close to his seven-goal haul.
Mexico 1999: Ronaldinho turns heads
In a tournament teeming with goals, three players finished level on six efforts: Brazil's Ronaldinho, Cuauhtemoc Blanco of Mexico and Saudi Arabia's Marzouk Al Otaibi. The prize belonged to Ronaldinho, however, thanks to his four assists – a splendid way to announce his arrival in his first year with A Seleção. Roni had just taken part in the Copa America when he touched down in Mexico, and he gave a mouth-watering glimpse of his ability with six strikes in five games, pouncing against Germany, the USA and New Zealand before adding a hat-trick in the 8-2 semi-final success against the Saudis. He was unable to beat Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos in the showpiece, but, despite the disappointment of missing out on the title, Ronaldinho departed the tournament with the adidas Golden Ball for best player as well as the adidas Golden Boot.
Korea/Japan 2001: French duo on top
The battle for supremacy was intense in 2001 as seven players shared top spot after hitting two goals apiece: Shaun Murphy (Australia), Patrick Vieira (France), Robert Pires (France), Eric Carriere (France), Sylvain Wiltord (France), Takayuki Suzuki (Japan) and Sun Honghwang (Korea Republic). In theory, the player with the highest number of assists should have taken the final plaudits, but both Pires and Carriere managed two of those as well. Former Arsenal winger Pires contested five matches and found the net against Mexico and France's semi-final opponents Brazil, while ex-Lyon midfielder Carriere made four appearances and notched a double against Mexico during the group stage.
France 2003: Henry triumphant
Two years after winning the FIFA Confederations Cup, France hosted the 2003 edition anxious to make up for their group stage exit at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. They did precisely that, ultimately edging Cameroon in the Stade de France final thanks in large part to Thierry Henry, who racked up four goals in five outings. Crucially, he tended to make his efforts count, grabbing the winner against Colombia as Les Bleus opened their campaign, contributing to a 5-0 win against New Zealand, breaking the deadlock in the 3-2 semi-final victory against Turkey and burying the only goal of the decider during extra time. Selected as the player of the tournament, the former Arsenal legend thus beat his rivals in the scoring stakes as well.
Germany 2005: Adriano inspires Brazil
Brazil travelled to Germany for the 2005 edition having failed to make a serious impression on the FIFA Confederations Cup for some time. That was all about to change, though, as an in-form Adriano helped propel A Seleção to victory. A year after plundering an incredible seven goals in six games at the 2004 Copa America, the Brazilian striker fired another five in as many fixtures. His first came in a 3-0 win against Greece and, after going two matches without registering, he struck twice as Germany were undone 3-2 in the last four. Adriano then repeated the exploit in the final, opening the scoring against Argentina before setting the seal on an eye-catching 4-1 triumph.
South Africa 2009: Fabiano follows Brazilian forebears
Brazil retained their crown in South Africa courtesy of a narrow 3-2 success against the USA in the final. Former Sevilla marksman Luis Fabiano led the line for the defending champions and he kicked off by contributing to a 4-3 defeat of Egypt in Brazil's first game, following up with a pair of goals as Italy were swept aside 3-0. Shortly after putting two past Gianluigi Buffon, Fabiano then conjured up both his side's equalisers against the Stars and Stripes in the showpiece. After winning the award, Fabiano told FIFA.com: "I hadn't scored in my two previous games but as it turned out there was no better way for me to reach that target of five goals in as many games."
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