Trophy-winning Brazil have duly provided the two men honoured with the most valuable individual accolades at the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009. Kaka took the adidas Golden Ball as best player, with compatriot Luis Fabiano going home with the adidas Golden Shoe as the tournament’s top scorer. The two attacking stars provided the moments of magic as the five-time FIFA World Cup™ winners fought back from 2-0 down in the final to edge out a plucky USA side at the death.
FIFA.com presents a full analysis of all the individual and team awards after an absorbing Festival of Champions in South Africa.
adidas Golden Ball: Kaka (Brazil)
The very sight of Kaka’s name on the team-sheet is enough to strike fear into a defender’s heart these days. Like so many former legends who have worn the illustrious number 10 shirt, the Brazil playmaker was the orchestrator and string-puller in attacking midfield. His sublime assist to level the scores at 2-2 in the final, as he left two defenders rooted to the spot with an explosive burst of pace, must go down as one of the pivotal moments in the Seleção's march on the trophy. The 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year emphatically restated his credentials as one of the modern greats.
adidas Silver Ball / adidas Golden Shoe: Luis Fabiano (Brazil)
Brazil were in trouble at 2-0 down after 45 minutes, but Luis Fabiano rose irresistibly to the challenge, netting twice to bring his team right back into it and lay the foundation for the South Americans’ successful trophy defence. The athletic, lithe and technically gifted striker finished with an impressive five goals from five games, underlining his status as the undisputed number one goal-getter both for the current Seleção's line-up and at the tournament in general. The 28-year-old joins Romario, Ronaldinho and Adriano as the fourth Brazilian to go home from the FIFA Confederations Cup with the adidas Golden Shoe.
adidas Bronze Ball: Clint Dempsey (USA)
Singling out an individual from an outstanding USA team is a hard task, but if one man stood tall above the rest, it was the dangerous Fulham midfielder. The 26-year-old contributed three vital goals to the North Americans’ utterly commendable tournament, but was arguably even more valuable as a consistent source of unpredictable and inspirational ideas. One or two opponents may have gravely underestimated the US as a potent attacking force, but Dempsey’s superb touch and ability to make the difference will have teams around the world thinking again. The USA star rates as one of the biggest discoveries of the 2009 event in South Africa.
adidas Silver Shoe: Fernando Torres (Spain)
The Spain marksman struck three goals at the tournament, all of them in an action-packed 660-second blitz. In the European champions’ opening match against New Zealand, Torres blasted a hat-trick between the sixth and 17th minutes, employing his blistering pace and killer instinct to devastating effect against the bewildered Kiwis, and doubtless sparking panic among future opponents at the Festival of Champions. However, opposing bosses and defenders clearly did their homework, as the 25-year-old Liverpool ace failed to hit the target a fourth time at the tournament.
adidas Bronze Shoe: David Villa (Spain)
The striker, fondly nicknamed Guaje by the Spanish fans, continued his habit of scoring crucial goals for his country. Against New Zealand, Villa played a supporting role to Torres with just a single goal, but in the next two games against Iraq and South Africa, he netted a winner and an opener respectively. No-one seriously doubts the 27-year-old’s class, a fact underscored by his passing of a milestone during the event: Villa became the second-highest scorer in the history of the Spanish national team behind living legend Raul.
adidas Golden Glove: Tim Howard (USA)
Bob Bradley’s US team came within an ace of glory at the Confederations Cup, making a mockery of the pre-tournament betting. Their triumphant march into the final was in no small measure due to a series of truly outstanding performances by Tim Howard, who consistently left opposing strikers cursing in dismay. Everton's No1 combined calm authority with formidable presence of mind, visibly steadying his defence when the going got tough. With an eye on the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, Howard looks set to provide the USA with a rock-solid last line of defence.
FIFA Fair Play Award: Brazil
The Seleção thrilled the watching world with football that was as graceful as it was effective, playmaker Kaka and top scorer Luis Fabiano leading the way as the South Americans deservedly retained the trophy. The passionate crowds took Dunga’s star-studded ensemble to their hearts, and the Brazilians’ power to captivate fans and followers of the game everywhere was, is and remains to their eternal credit.