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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Thursday, 10 June 2010 14:40 UK

Who will win the Golden Boot?

Who will win the Golden Boot in South Africa?

Messi, Ronaldo, Torres, Rooney, Kaka, Fabiano, Villa - all good bets to finish top of the scoring charts at the 2010 World Cup.

Competition for the prestigious Golden Boot will be intense in South Africa and there is no guarantee that any of the illustrious names mentioned above will win it.

The World Cup has a habit of making heroes of players few had heard of before the tournament had started, like Salvatore 'Toto' Schillaci in 1990 and Oleg Salenko in 1994.

1990 World Cup - Top 10 goals

However, it would come as no surprise if Messi, Torres or Rooney followed in the footsteps of past winners Eusebio, Mario Kempes, Paolo Rossi, Gerd Muller and Ronaldo.

Here, BBC Sport takes a look at the favourites for 2010:

David Villa (Spain): A tally of 38 goals in 58 international matches is a testimony to one of the most lethal strikers around. Despite missing the final and the majority of the semi-final of Euro 2008 because of injury, the 28-year-old was the top scorer with four goals in four games as Spain clinched the trophy. Will lead the line for Barcelona next season following a £34.2m summer move from Valencia.

Lionel Messi (Argentina): With 34 goals in 35 games for Barcelona last season, Messi cemented his place as one of the best players in the world. However, Messi's form for his country is notoriously poor in comparison, with 13 goals in 45 appearances. But if Diego Maradona can get his young charge firing, the Golden Boot could be the perfect fit for the 22-year-old's skilful foot.

Wayne Rooney (England): Rooney's international record, while not as good as Villa's, is impressive, with 25 goals in 60 games. England's talisman truly came into his own last season with Manchester United. With Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, Sir Alex Ferguson switched Rooney to his favoured central attacking role and reaped the rewards, the 24-year-old scoring 34 goals in all competitions.

Luis Fabiano (Brazil): Fabiano has cemented his place in the Brazil side with 25 goals in 38 appearances. Was the top scorer in last summer's Confederations Cup with five goals, including two in the 3-2 final victory over the United States. Since 2005, the Sevilla striker has proven himself a prolific goalscorer in La Liga. A tally of 90 goals in 152 games in all club competitions is a testimony to this.

World Cup guide - Netherlands

Robin Van Persie (Netherlands): A record of 18 goals in 44 games for the Netherlands does little justice to the threat Van Persie poses in front of goal. During his international career he has often featured on the wing, or in a withdrawn forward role, but in South Africa he is likely to be the focal point of the attack. An ankle injury sustained in a friendly with Italy in November sidelined him for much of last season, but the Arsenal ace is fully fit heading into the World Cup.

No man has ever won the Golden Boot twice, but that could change in South Africa if Germany get on a roll.

Miroslav Klose's five-goal haul for the host nation at the last World Cup gave him the award - and the Bayern Munich striker was also joint second in 2002, finishing behind Ronaldo.

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see also
Team guide: Brazil
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Spain
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Netherlands
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Argentina
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: England
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
No fears over Rooney - Ferdinand
08 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Villa completes Barcelona switch
21 May 10 |  Europe
Wenger says Messi is world's best
07 Apr 10 |  Europe
Messi wins Fifa best player award
21 Dec 09 |  Football
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Dutch hit out at Wenger criticism
29 Nov 09 |  Arsenal

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