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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK

Brazil's golden shot

By Paul Fletcher
BBC Sport Online

Ronaldo's two goals against Brazil in the World Cup final ensured that he not only returns home with a winner's medal but also the much-prized Golden Boot.

The striker's goals were Brazil's first in a World Cup final since they defeated Italy 3-1 in 1970.

Golden Boot winners since 1970

  • 1970: Gerd Muller, Germany (10)
  • 1974: Gregorz Lato, Poland (7)
  • 1978: Mario Kempes, Argentina (6)
  • 1982: Paolo Rossi, Italy (6)
  • 1986: Gary Lineker, England (6)
  • 1990: Salvatore Schillaci, Italy (6)
  • 1994: Hristo Stoichkov, Bulgaria /Oleg Salenko, Russia (6)
  • 1998: Davor Suker, Croatia (6)
  • 2002: Ronaldo, Brazil (8)

  • And in taking his tally for the tournament to eight he became the highest scorer in a World Cup since Germany's Gerd Muller scored 10 in Mexico 32 years ago.

    Ronaldo went into the final just one goal ahead of team-mate Rivaldo and Germany's Miroslav Klose.

    But a sense of destiny has followed born-again Ronaldo through the final rounds of the competition.

    And after spurning numerous first-half chances, Ronaldo capitalised on a rare goalkeeping error from Oliver Kahn to give his team the lead after 67 minutes.

    His exquisitely placed second 12 minutes later sealed both the competition and his own personal renaissance after four years of injury and frustration.

    The mystery surrounding Ronaldo from the final in France 98 had threatened to overshadow his career.

    The four years between France 98 and the 2002 World Cup had not been happy for Ronaldo, who was dogged by a succession of career-threatening injuries.

    But in winning the Golden Boot, the 25-year-old has shown that he is once again the world's top striker - and he has done it in some style.

    The previous six World Cups had been won by players scoring six goals.

    Ronaldo had already equalled that tally prior to the final.

    He opened his account with an athletic finish in his team's opening game of the tournament, against Turkey.

    He followed that up with a goal against China, a brace against Costa Rica and another in the second-round win over Belgium.

    The Inter Milan striker failed to breach England's defence in the quarter-final, leaving the goalscoring duties to fellow R's Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

    But he quickly bounced back to form in the semi-final, scoring his team's only goal in the win over Turkey.

    His opening goal against Germany pulled him level with Gregorz Lato's total of seven from the 1974 World Cup.

    And his second ensured that he became the most prolific World Cup score since 1970, when his mentor Pele was a member of the Brazilian side.

    It also pulled Ronaldo level with Pele's World Cup goalscoring tally of 12 goals and put him within reach of Muller's all-time scoring record of 14.

    Ronaldo will be 29 when the next World Cup moves under way in Germany.

    And if Ronaldo can stay injury free and reproduce the sort of form he has shown over the last month, the record will surely be his.

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