Nigeria's Macauley Chrisantus has every reason to feel on top of the world as his side celebrate their triumph at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007. His seven goals were a vital part of the Golden Eaglets' victorious campaign, one that saw them claim their third world title in the category. And just to round it all off for the scintillating striker, he also ended the tournament top scorer to claim the coveted adidas Golden Shoe.
Chrisantus' tally included a goal against France, two against Japan, another brace against Haiti, and vital goals against Argentina and Germany in the knockout rounds. The only teams able to snuff out the threat posed by the powerful forward were Colombia in the Round of 16, and Spain in Sunday's Final. Not that the Spanish were able to stop the irresistible Africans from making off with the trophy. And as his team-mates soaked up the adulation of the fans, marvellous Macauley chatted exclusively to FIFA.com.
FIFA.com: Macauley, how do you feel right now?
Macauley Chrisantus: I'm very proud of my team and myself for reaching the goals we set before coming to Korea. Winning the World Cup and the Golden Shoe is a dream come true.
Did you expect to finish the tournament as top scorer?
I scored twice when we came here for the Eight Nations Tournament, and I felt at the time that I would definitely go on and score more goals at the World Cup. But it wasn't just down to me. My team-mates played a big part too and I want to share the award with them.
Do you think you can improve on this achievement?
Yes, of course, by repeating what we've done here at the next World Cup. This team has a lot to offer in the future, and I hope we can carry on developing together and achieving things in the older age categories.
You were the tournament's top scorer but you failed to score in the Final. How do you explain that?Scoring goals is a gift from God. But apart from having that gift you also have to work hard, and I spend a lot of time trying to improve parts of my game so I can get even better and score more goals. However, that's football and you can't score all the time. I just have to keep working hard to improve.
Did you ever think that a final between the two most attacking sides in the competition could end in a goalless draw?
No, but that's understandable. We came here to win and so did they, and so we were both a bit more cautious than usual. All the same, I think we put on a pretty good show for the fans that came to see us.
The pressure was on Nigeria to win and you did just that. What was the key?
Sometimes when you are expected to perform at your best you can match those expectations. I think we were at our best and that we played a great game, particularly when you consider we were playing a very tough side like Spain. Thanks to God, luck was on our side in the penalties.