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Top 15 Golden Boot Contenders - World Cup 2018

12th June 2018

Will James Rodríguez retain his World Cup 2014 Golden Boot?

Image by Portal de da Copa (CC BY 3.0 BR)

The 15 players below are who we believe have the best chance of winning this years Golden Boot. In this article we rank their chances from number 15 (least likely) to number 1 (most likely) based on factors like player attributes, club form, national team form, and the strength of their national team at going far in the competition.

 

15. Mohamed Salah - Egypt

Attributes:

Salah's first touch is what brings him into the game, and his pace, quick thinking, and clinical finishing provide him with the goals. He can play as an out and out striker, a second striker and even on the wing where he can fly into play. His vision and ability are beyond question.

Club form:

It should say everything about Salah that after just one season for Liverpool after being bought from Roma that he is known as a club legend. Salah has scored an incredible 44 goals from just 52 matches and was vital in Liverpool getting to the Champions League final this season, their first in 11 years.

National team form:

With 33 goals from 57 games Salah has been Egypt's best and most important player. Last year Salah played 11 times and netted in five of those games. This year he has played for the national side just once and scored. He has recovered from his dreadful Champions League final injury and will be Egypt's key player.

Strength of national team:

Not many would tip Egypt to win the World Cup and for good reason but having Salah in their team can only help them to advance to the knockout rounds. Egypt had a superb qualifying campaign but they are a team who rely heavily on defence and may not be very attractive on the eye.

Overall chances of golden boot:

Egypt are in a tough group that includes hosts Russia and South Americans Uruguay and it will be difficult even with Salah in the team to see them advance. If they do it will be about their defence and that could leave Salah isolated up front. Salah's World Cup could be over in 3 games, and therefore the Golden boot looks highly unlikely. Odds of 51.00

 

14. Radamel Falcao - Colombia

Radamel Falcao - Colombia

Image by Jimmy Baikovicius (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Attributes:

Playing as a traditional number 9, Falcao is a towering presence in the area. He can score with both feet but prefers his right. He also scores many headers, which may come as s surprise given that he is an inch short of 6ft. Falcao is known for his work ethic and his stamina.

Club form:

Falcao has had a great personal season at Monaco where he has scored 24 goals from 36 games in all competitions. However Monaco ended the season having to play second best to PSG who won the domestic treble and beat Monaco in the French Cup final.

National team form:

Falcao has always been more of a club player than an international one where for many years he failed to turn up on the big stage. Having said that his current form for the national side has seen 4 goals in his last 9 games. He is also Colombia's highest ever goal scorer with 29 goals.

Strength of national team:

Colombia have the quality to reach the last 16 but after that it could be very difficult for them to progress. This would give Falcao just 4 games to become top goalscorer, which seems a stretch. Plus in the more difficult encounters he could find himself isolated up front.

Overall chances of golden boot:

This may well be Falcao's last major international tournament as he'll be 34 for Euro 2020. He's a natural goalscorer, however at club level he plays for one of the most attacking sides in a league where the quality isn't the highest, so he'll be unlikely to replicate that level of goal scoring frequency. Also with Colombia unlikely to go too far in the tournament, his chances of being Golden boot look fairly slim. Odds of 51.00

 

13. Robert Lewandowski - Poland

Robert Lewandowski playing for Poland

Image by Damian Kosciesza (CC BY 2.0)

Attributes:

Lewandowski has it all, height, strength, balance and pace. He is an intelligent player that thinks of others in his team. He has a natural ability and an eye for goal that has made him a club legend at Bayern Munich. He's also deadly from set pieces.

Club form:

Lewandowski wrapped up his 4th Bundesliga title in a row with Bayern Munich in style by scoring 29 goals from 30 games. In all competitions he netted 41 goals from 48 games. His form has been superb this season but he has never had a bad period of form since joining Bayern.

National team form:

Lewandowski was the main source of goals for Poland as they qualified for the World Cups. In the last 18 months he has played 9 times and scored 11 goals and like his club form he remains consistent in international football too.

Strength of national team:

Poland won't win the World Cup but they have what could be called one of the easiest groups in Russia and should be able to top their group. There are goals in this team but they remain suspect at the back against better quality teams and may only go as far as the round of 16.

Overall chances of golden boot:

Poland will fancy their chances of winning their group and scoring a few goals too. Unfortunately for Lewandowski, Poland just wont be strong enough to give him enough games to make his mark, and they are likely to be defensive against top sides. Therefore the Golden boot looks out of reach. Odds of 34.00

 

12. Sergio Aguero - Argentina

Sergio Aguero - Argentina

Image by Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro) (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Attributes:

Though seen as a naturally gifted striker Aguero can play off another forward and hold the ball up well in attacking play. His vision and ability to read the game is second to none and of course he scores plenty of goals, most of them memorable.

Club form:

It's been another terrific season for Aguero at Manchester City where he scored 30 goals in all competitions, this despite missing segements of the season with injury. He was a pivotal player once again as City dominated in the Premier League winning the title with games to spare.

National team form:

Ageuro's form has not been good for the national side where for Argentina he has scored just 4 goals in the past two years from 16 games. Injury has hampered him at times but so has a loss of form and missing key chances. He remains however an important part of the national side.

Strength of national team:

Argentina really struggled in the qualifying group to get to the World Cup, but they will be tipped to win it by some. The side of course boasts some of the best players in the world including the one and only Lionel Messi. He will be able to link up with Aguero well. There are some question marks over the defence and how Argentina will react when under pressure.

Overall chances of golden boot:

This will most probably be Aguero's final World Cup and if he stays fit he can certainly score goals. Argentina could well go all the way but Aguero will need to make his mark early on as traditionally Argentina do not score many goals in knock out games, and there will be a certain Lionel Messi wanting to get in on the act with some goals also. Overall, not a stand out choice for the Golden boot. Odds of 26.00

 

11. Luis Suarez - Uruguay

Luis Suarez celebrating for Uruguay

Image by Jimmy Baikovicius (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Attributes:

What a defender doesn't want is a quality striker such as Luis Suarez running at you and that's the key attribute to the Barcelona forward's game. He has great technique on the ball, confidence, can let other players into the game and scores many goals, usually brilliant ones.

Club form:

Suarez has continued to score goals for Barcelona and netted 31 times in all competitions last season. This helped Barcelona to the league title with games to spare and Suarez also won the Copa del Rey, his 4th in a row with the club. He continues to link up well with talisman Lionel Messi reading his game, which has helped enormously in the absence of Neymar.

National team form:

Suarez was criticised for not scoring many goals in Uruguay's World Cup qualifying campaign but his overall record is still impressive with 51 goals from 98 games. This year alone Suarez has been on fire with 2 goals from the 3 matches he has played.

Strength of national team:

Uruguay have a lot of quality and want to shake off their usual physical game which has led to problems at past World Cups. If they can do that they could reach the latter stages of the competition. Suarez and Cavani have the problem of taking goals off of each other though.

Overall chances of golden boot:

Luis Suarez has all the qualities to be Golden boot, however two large factors work against him. One is that Uruguay are unlikely to go too far in the tournament, so he'll have less games to get his goals than one of the top sides. The second factor is his teammate Cavani, who will be equally eager to be the goalscorer of the team, and therefore goals will be shared between the two. Odds of 26.00

 

10. Edinson Cavani - Uruguay

Edinson Cavani - Uruguay

Image by Ailura (CC BY-SA 3.0 AT)

Attributes:

Cavani is an all round striker who can score with both feet and his head. He likes to take freekicks too, he has good pace and is fully committed.

Club form:

Cavani had another excellent season with PSG, with the club winning the domestic treble. He scored an impressive 40 goals in all competitions and 28 goals in the league from just 32 games. The only downside to his game were his arguments with new signing Neymar that hampered the atmosphere surrounding the club.

National team form:

Cavani recently celebrated his 100th game for Uruguay with a goal and remains an important and consistant player for the team. He particularly likes playing Brazil where he has scored in the last 3 meetings against them. Overall Cavani has 42 goals from 100 games.

Strength of national team:

Uruguay have opted for a more direct attacking approach and we could see a very attractive style of play. But overall Uruguay's form is not good, with just 2 wins in the past year in competitive football. They should have the quality to qualify from their group but if they don't win it they will face a strong team in the round of 16.

Overall chances of golden boot:

Cavani should score goals but the problem is that Uruguay do lack quality when playing against the better teams. They will not be able to go toe to toe with another attacking side, which could see them shut up shop and defend, all bad news for Cavani's Golden boot chances. Odds at 21.00

 

9. Diego Costa - Spain

Attributes:

Costa is able to give defenders headaches with his runs and has a never say die attitude. Unlike other strikers Costa has great strength and technical ability to keep possession of the ball until another player joins play and is happy to assist.

Club form:

Costa had to wait until January to play for Atletico Madrid because of their transfer ban. At first glance seeing that Costa has scored just 3 league goals from 15 games played may look poor. However he was playing in a team managed by Diego Simeone in a system that helped the club all round and was praised at the end of the season by the manager. Costa scored the goal that sent Atletico to the Europa League final, which they deservedly won.

National team form:

Costa has only played 4 games for Spain in the last 18 months but has scored on 3 of those times. He scored against Argentina in a recent 6-1 friendly win and is sure to feature for the Spanish when the World Cup kicks off.

Strength of national team:

Spain are still one of the best and most attractive teams in the world to watch. Qualifying with few problems for the World Cup, they have re invented themselves as it seemed like they had gone stale. This will be Andres Iniesta's final World Cup and he will be backed up in midfield by quality such as Costa's team mate Koke, the talented Isco, and David Silva. The team look light up front but they won a World Cup in 2010 effectively with no striker.

Overall odds of golden boot:

Apart from having to play Portugal in the group stages Spain have an easy route, including a match against Iran where they will be massive odds on favourites and will be expected to score goals. At the very least Spain can reach the semi-finals. The problem for Costa is that he's so much more than just a goal scorer, and he has a temper, so if he gets sent off he will miss key games and miss his chance for the golden boot. Odds at 21.00

 

8. Harry Kane - England

Harry Kane England

Image by enviro warrior (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Attributes:

Goals, goals, goals, Harry Kane is a natural born winner and goes from strength to strength each season in the Premier League. Defenders fear him and he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. His long range shooting ability is outstanding and he's never afraid no matter what the distance to go for goal. He gets in behind defenders and remains a danger for the opposition and a massive asset for his team.

Club form:

In one sense Kane has yet again had a superb season with Tottenham. He has scored 41 goals in all competitions and if he stays will break club records. The problem is that he is still yet to win a trophy, but he is such an important player for the club that he has signed a new 6 year contract.

National team form:

Kane started off slowly for England but it has been in the past 18 months where he has shone. From the last 7 games he has scored 8 goals and he has been able to transfer his club form onto the international stage.

Strength of national team:

England were superb in qualifying for the World Cup reaching the finals with no losses under Gareth Southgate. Along with Kane there are some exciting youngsters in the line up such as Kane's Tottenham team mate Dele Alli who himself has had a fantastic season. Marcus Rashford is sure to score goals up front. This England team have the potential to attack and have the quality to get to the quarterfinals at least. However, serious questions remain about their ability to dump out a major team at a World Cup.

Overall chance of golden boot:

England will qualify from their group and so Kane could get at least 4 games. However the squad doesn't look the most creative, which could limit his chances in front of goal. That being said, England will fancy scoring a few against the likes of Tunisia and Panama in the group stages, and Kane should be on spot kick duties, so Kane could be worth looking out for. Odds at 15.00

 

7. Romelu Lukaku - Belgium

Attributes:

Lukaku is a strong centre forward who plays a physical game and is a deadly finisher. He will use his superb left foot to get the goals and can also hold the ball up letting others in on the counter attack.

Club form:

Despite scoring 27 goals for Manchester United this season in all competitions Lukaku's first season at the Red Devils has been seen as a failure. In part this is due by United ending the season empty handed but Lukaku had a pattern about his game where he would score a batch of goals then go weeks without another one. From his first season it is clear that Lukaku lacks consistency.

National team form:

As strikers go Lukaku has clearly been Belgium's best with 23 goals from his last 26 games. Lukaku was integral in World Cup qualifying, with some suggesting that the different pace of international football suits his game.

Strength of national team:

Belgium have had a great set of players for a few years now, they have avoided key injuries, and come to Russia with a team that could go very far. They have a good route through to the quarterfinals and the only doubts remain about the players mental strength against the tried and tested teams. They are in an attacking sense a delight to watch.

Overall odds of golden boot:

Whilst Lukaku does have a great goalscoring record with Belgium, there is a lot of quality in the team that can also get on the scrore sheet and may take goals away from his total. But when the Belgians sense victory they usually get many goals against the weaker teams, which could help Lukaku with the golden boot. If they go far, he could be a real contender. Odds of 17.00

 

6. Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal

Ronaldo Portugal

Image by Ajith Kumar (CC BY 2.0)

Attributes:

Cristiano Ronaldo may well be the fittest player at the World Cup and at 33 he still plays as good as he did five years ago. He has tremendous ability and confidence in himself to be the best and is an all round player who can shoot with either foot as well as being dangerous with headers from crosses.

Club form:

Ronaldo has just won the Champions League for a third straight year with Real Madrid and even though he had a quiet final the team relied on him to get them there. Real Madrid by their standards did have a poor domestic campaign but Ronaldo still scored 44 goals in all competitions this season.

National team form:

In the last 3 years Ronaldo has played 27 games for Portugal and scored 26 goals which is no mean feat in international football. Portugal won the last major trophy in Euro 2016 and the team will be based once again around their star man who rarely has a bad game for his nation.

Strength of national team:

Portugal are the European champions and will be aiming to go one step further and become world champions. They don't have the best of defences but have quality in midfield in the likes of Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and Monaco's Joao Moutinho. Ronaldo will be the main player up front but he could be joined by Milan youngster Andre Silva, who at 22 has been making waves this season in Serie A.

Overall chances of golden boot:

Ronaldo usually tops the goalscoring charts, be it in La Liga or the Champions League but interestingly enough the World Cup has not been a tournament that he has really shone in. In the 3 World Cups Ronaldo has competed in he has only scored 3 goals, one in each finals. Portugal have the potential to at least get to the quarter finals but Ronaldo will have to score quite a few in the group stages to have a realistic chance of being top goalscorer in Russia. Odds of 17.00

 

5. Gabriel Jesus - Brazil

Gabriel Jesus - Brazil

Image by Agência Brasília (CC BY 2.0)

Attributes:

Gabriel Jesus has burst onto the football world with Manchester City and fans have been left in awe at the forwards pace. He also bags goals, has great vision and agility, and can also play as a false number 9. He is only 21 but he moves as if he has been playing the game professionally for years.

Club form:

He's missed some important moments for Manchester City this season with a knee injury but considering this is his first full season in England he had a successful one scoring 13 goals from 29 matches. He scored the final goal for the season that also ensured that Man City ended up with 100 points, on their way to winning the league title.

National team form:

Jesus has made a big impact with Brazil, scoring from the moment he was selected and he has bagged 10 goals in 17 matches. He was an integral part of Brazil's World Cup qualifying group, which they won with ease and he struck up a fantastic chemistry with Neymar.

Strength of national team:

Brazil will want to shrug off their nightmare exit from the last World Cup that they hosted. Current form is excellent and the team are full of confidence, question remarks will remain however until they are really tested in Russia.

Overall chance of golden boot:

Brazil will go far in Russia and Jesus has already proven that when picked he scores goals. He will most probably have to share them with Neymar though. But Jesus has the quality and talent to make this World Cup his own. Good chance of being Goalden boot. Odds at 17.00

 

4. Timo Werner - Germany

Attributes:

In Germany Timo Werner is known as Turbo Timo and the reason is that he has terrified defences in the Bundesliga with his pace. His shooting ability and goals have comparisions with Miroslav Klose, he's also good with his head and is always looking for that extra yard, an exceptionally clever player.

Club form:

RB Leipzig with a small budget have been a revelation in Germany in the past two seasons and Werner has helped them along scoring 21 goals in all competitions, an excellent return for a 22 year old. He helped Leipzig finish in the top six this season and the club had a great run in the Europa League reaching the quarterfinals.

National team form:

Germany manager Joachim Low had little choice not to include Werner in his side and from the 14 games he has played he has returned 8 goals. He plays in the national team as if he has been in the squad for several years.

Strength of national team:

The world champions look as strong as ever and goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer is set to be fit for Russia after suffering an injury ravaged season with Bayern Munich, however recent form is not overly impressive. The old guard in the form of Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos will be in midfield but there is younger quality in the likes of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich. Up front Werner will have chances created by stalwart Thomas Muller and Marco Reus.

Overall chance of golden boot:

Germany are always strong at the World Cup and they always score plenty of goals. They will want to get off to a positive start in their group games and Werner will have many chances, which makes him a good bet for the golden boot. He will be the main man for goals in the side, however recent shaky form from Germany means he doesn't make our top spot for Golden boot. Odds at 15.00

 

3. Lionel Messi - Argentina

Lionel Messi Argentina

Image by Nazionale Calcio (CC BY 2.0)

Attributes:

Messi is the only person at the World Cup who can change a game in a flick of a switch and go past several players at will. His goals will be all about his magnificent left foot alongside his pace and acceleration. He has every attribute an attacking player could wish for, except maybe out jumping a central defender to nod in a cross.

Club form:

When has Messi not been in form for Barcelona? This latest season was wrapped up with another Spanish double, finishing up the league in style with just 1 loss from 38 games. Messi scored 45 goals from 54 matches and is showing no signs of slowing down.

National team form:

Just a couple of weeks ago Messi scored a hat-trick against Haiti in a friendly and despite the lack of international trophies he continues to impress with the the national team. Since the last World Cup he has scored 19 goals in 27 games and his goals were pivotal in Argentina being in Russia given how they had struggled in the qualifying group. Messi was simply the difference.

Strength of national team:

Despite almost missing out on qualification Argentina will be one of the favourites to win the World Cup. Their team are talented, but every Argentina team since 1986 has been talented and failed to win. There will be questions over the mental strength and backbone of the side, which has failed them in the past, get over that hurdle and they could win in Russia.

Overall chances of golden boot:

At the 2014 World Cup Messi scored 4 goals just two shy of the winner James Rodriguez. Messi has just 5 goals in his 3 tournaments. If Argentina can go far then Messi has every chance to win the golden boot, however it all depends on whether Argentina can play well as a team and not just a bunch of individual stars. Odds of 11.00

 

2. Neymar - Brazil

Neymar Brazil

Image by Agencia Brasil (CC BY 3.0 BR)

Attributes:

Neymar's first touch is golden and his pace has not deserted him despite his injuries in recent seasons. His dribbing skills have been fine tuned since he came to Europe and he is a player full of confidence that can score with either foot.

Club form:

Neymar's debut season with PSG after his near £200m move to the French capital from Barcelona last summer has been overshadowed by his foot injury which cost him 3 months out. However he arrived with a bang and still managed to score 28 goals in all competitions. In his debut season he helped PSG win the domestic treble including claiming back the French league title from Monaco.

National team form:

Neymar is Brazil's 4th all time goalscorer and at 26 needs just 24 more goals to pass Pele and continues to be the national sides stardust. He consistently scores goals and creates them and is the one player that really drives Brazil going forward. In the last World Cup he managed 4 goals.

Strength of national team:

This Brazil team are the strongest they have had since they last won the World Cup in 2002. Players such as Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Fred will be happy to play in advanced positions. And besides Neymar up front there is Gabriel Jesus and Douglas Costa. Perhaps after the 2014 World Cup doubts will remain if Brazil are good enough to win in Russia but they qualified with ease and they come into the World Cup in great form and with a lot of confidence.

Overall chances of golden boot:

Brazil will certainly go far in the competition and that means that Neymar will have plenty of opportunity to score goals. He is a big time player for the big occasion and after having a rest through injury with PSG he will be raring to go. He will be on penalty taking duty and will have a good chance at getting the Golden Boot. Odds of 10.00

 

1. Antoine Griezmann- France

Antoine Griezmann

Image by Biser Todorov (CC BY 4.0)

Attributes:

A fearless player who can play as an attacking midfielder dropping back if he needs too. Griezmann is France's best chance of winning the World Cup. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and has a devastating shot on him.

Club form:

Finally Griezmann after appearing in many finals won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, a club he is tipped to leave in the summer. Atletico had a good season winning in Europe and also finishing 2nd and above their great rival Real Madrid. Yet again most of the goals were provided by Griezmann who netted 29 goals in all competitions, including scoring in the Europa League final.

National team form:

Griezmann has only scored 1 goal from 5 appearances for France this year but they have all been friendlies. When it really matters in competitions and the qualifiers Griezmann has delivered and his form for France has been excellent.

Strength of national team:

France look in better shape than they did when they reached the Euro 2016 final. They have quality all over the pitch in defence Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti will keep the back four focused. They have a midfield, which consists of Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Thomas Lemar all top players. Up front they have an embarassment of riches in Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Nabil Fekir.

Overall chance of golden boot:

Griezmann is our choice to finish as the golden boot winner due to the fact he spearheads the French attack, and the fact the French team has the quality to go all the way. Also, Griezmann loves the big occasion, which was evident at the Euros a couple of years ago where he finished as top goalscorer with 6 goals. At these odds, he can't be ignored. Odds at 13.00



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