The Last Three Winners of the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot Award

The dust has barely settled on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but already attention has turned to the 2026 installment of the event, which will take place in the USA, Canada and Mexico. In Qatar last winter, we saw Lionel Messi finally secure his legacy as the greatest player that’s ever lived as he led Argentina to their third global triumph. The Paris Saint-Germain player may well have retired by the time the next tournament rolls around, and the planet’s global game will have a new batch of superstars ready to take over the mantle from the Boy from Rosario. 

Despite the next World Cup being over three years away, OddsChecker, which compares soccer odds and offers, has made Brazil and France the early favourites for success. Brazil disappointed in Qatar and were eliminated on penalties by a resilient Croatia side that ended up finishing in third place. France, meanwhile, very nearly became the first nation to successfully retain the trophy in over 60 years. And their star of the show, Kylian Mbappé, may well have taken over the aforementioned mantle from his PSG teammate by then. 

Whether he has or not remains up for debate. But one thing that isn’t up for debate is the fact that Mbappé secured the Golden Boot award in 2022. Here are the last three winners of the coveted award. 

Kylian Mbappé – 2022

Despite Lionel Messi’s brace in the Lusail Iconic Stadium showpiece in December, Kylian Mbappé was the undisputed star of the recent FIFA World Cup final. With France looking dead and buried as the game entered its final stages, the 24-year-old Frenchman popped up with a blistering 90-second double that dragged his team level. Argentina would once again take the lead in extra time, only for Mbappé to complete his hat trick from the penalty spot to take the tie to penalties. 

In the end, Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez had the last laugh. He saved Kingsley Coman’s shot and forced Aurelien Tchouameni to shoot wide to secure the famous golden trophy for his nation.

But no one could take the Golden Boot award away from Mbappé. He netted an astonishing eight goals in seven games throughout the tournament and became just the second man in World Cup history to score a World Cup final hat trick. Despite being just 24, Mbappé is already the man with the most goals in the history of the showpiece final match, and he is just four goals away from breaking Miroslav Klose’s all-time record of 16 goals at the tournament. 

Harry Kane – 2018 

In the quarterfinals in Qatar, England met France in a heavyweight showdown. It wasn’t Three Lions captain Harry Kane’s finest hour. He blazed a late penalty over the crossbar to ensure that it was Les Bleus that progressed to the final four at the expense of Gareth Southgate’s side, despite them dominating the game for long periods. And it was a stark contrast to Kane’s usual consistency from the penalty spot. 

In Russia in 2018, Kane netted six times to secure the Golden Boot award, three of which were spot kicks. His and his teammates’ performances fired England to a first semifinal in a major tournament since Italia ‘90. However, despite taking an early lead, they were eventually downed by Croatia. The following year brought further heartbreak. England lost the final of the European Championships to Italy, on home turf no less. And their bitterly disappointing defeat to France in Qatar was just the latest in a long line of English footballing heartache. 

James Rodríguez – 2014

Nine years ago, young Colombian sensation James Rodríguez took the world by storm as he netted six goals en route to his side reaching the quarterfinals. And he scored some stunning goals along the way. His blistering 30-yard volley against fellow South American nation Uruguay in the round of sixteen will live long in memory, and his performances were enough to secure him a megamoney move to Real Madrid at the culmination of the tournament. 

Despite the move to Los Blancos and a subsequent move to Bayern Munich, Rodríguez never truly hit the heights expected of him following the 2014 World Cup. He now plies his trade in Greece with Olympiacos, but we will always have those magical moments of nine years ago.