Johannesburg: Portugal great Eusebio feels that David Villa or Gonzalo Higuain could be the top scorer in the World Cup while German legend Gerd Mueller voted for his compatriot Thomas Mueller.
Eusebio, who was born in Mozambique, feels that Argentina’s Higuian and Spaniard Villa, who are joint top scorers with Slovakia’s Robert Vittek with four goals each.
‘The stand-out strikers for me who have been doing well for their teams are Gonzalo Higuain (of Argentina) and David Villa (of Spain). Maradona is actually the luckiest coach in this World Cup, looking at the Argentine strikers he has at his disposal. But my favourite to win this tournament is Brazil,’ Eusebio said Thursday during a press conference themed ‘Adidas Golden Boot Day’ in Sandton.
The 68-year-old Benfica striker played for Portugal between 1961 and 1973, scoring 41 goals in 64 appearances and had won the Golden boot in 1966 World Cup in England with nine goals.
With Slovakia out of the tournament, Vittek will not be able to add to his tally and Eusebio feels that ‘it’s going to be a close shave between these (Villa and Huguain) two.’
Eusebio, however, predicted that Argentina’s Lionel Messi would be remembered as the best player of the tournament.
German great Mueller has not only tipped Bayern Munich’s 20-year-old attacking midfielder Thomas to be the top scorer but also as his successor. Thomas has scored three goals so far.
‘He’s a good player. At 18, he was already in the squad. He’s a very valuable player. On top of that, he’s a very decent person, a good person and that’s important, too,’ said Mueller, who won the Golden Boot award in the 1970 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Eusebio defended Brazil midfielder Kaka, who was sent of harshly in the pre-quarterfinal match against Chile.
‘It looks as though the technical players like him (Kaka) are being unnecessarily punished. I know Kaka very well, he is truly professional and I think for Kaka to receive those cards he was provoked by the other players if you were watching those matches closely, and what I think is that the linesmen have been falling asleep in this tournament,’ said Eusebio, who was nicknamed Black Panther during his heydays.
Eusebio feels that Kaka is playing to his full potential and was extremely disappointed that Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t live up to expectations.
‘I’m not going to condemn Ronaldo or any of them for performing poorly. It happens that players don’t always perform the way we expect, but it happened in my time and it will continue to happen,’ he said.