The World Cup is a special event. Fans have the opportunity to watch the best players on the planet represent their nation, in an attempt to be crowned champions of the world. Expect trickery, flair, passion, and the odd upset. But one of the biggest anticipations in Brazil is goals. Lots of goals. The deadliest strikers, all in one place, looking to terrorise defenders. This could be fun to watch.
Whilst some of them, like England’s Wayne Rooney, will be looking for their first goal at a World Cup finals, others will be eyeing up their own personal award, the Golden Boot. Whist legends such as Gerd Müller and Brazil’s Ronaldo have won the award, the list of players to miss out is even more impressive. Zico, Karl-Heinz Ruminegge and Maradona all fell short of winning the star prize during their playing career. So who are the favourites to win the Golden Boot this year? Here are the bookies’ top 5.
Lionel Messi, 8/1
The Argentine is currently off the field recovering from a hamstring injury, but everyone is expecting him to return with a bang. The 4 times Ballon d’Or winner is expected to watch his rival Ronaldo win the end of year award, which could fuel Messi in the summer. The Barca star will be keen to show the world that he’s better than his Real rival, and what better way than to score stunning goals at the World Cup.
Messi has a relatively easy group on paper, facing Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia in Group F. But there will be two tough tests for the small forward. Firstly, he must outscore his teammate Sergio Aguero, who is in fine form for Manchester City. And secondly, it will be a test to see how he does without the service provided by Xavi and Iniesta. Whilst Barcelona’s Tika-Taka football suits Messi perfectly, how will he do with Banega and Biglia in the centre?
Another Barca star, the Brazilian has the opportunity to repeat, or even improve on, his strong performances at the Confederations Cup. His 4 goals, and stunning tricks, earned him the Golden Ball award at the tournament, and Neymar will be eager to earn the award again at the World Cup, along with the Golden Boot. Starring at the Nou Camp, especially in Messi’s absence, Neymar is supposed to lead Brazil to tournament glory in the fans’ eyes.
The forward, who normally plays on the left, loves to confuse defenders, tying their legs together with stepovers and stunning tricks. As long as he remembers to shoot, and doesn’t focus on doing too much unnecessary footwork, then the Brazilian youngster has a great chance of being the tournament’s top scorer. Not bad odds either, averaging at 14/1 across most major bookmakers.
Cristiano Ronaldo 14/1
The Golden Boot is just one of many awards that Ronaldo could win in the next 12 months. With a possible Ballon d’Or coming his way this month, the Real Madrid superstar is also the joint top scorer in La Liga, with 17 goals from just 15 games. But he will have his work cut out in Brazil. Portugal have been drawn against Ghana, USA and Germany. Not the easiest of teams to play.
But with Ronaldo in the side, anything is possible. The former Manchester United star’s hat-trick against Sweden in the play-offs secured Portugal’s place at the World Cup, and the nation could be relying on his goals to get out of the group. The powerful forward can blitz past defenders comfortably, before unleashing a stunning, precise shot from long range. Could he win the Golden Boot?
Sergio Aguero 16/1
The striker has been deadly for Manchester City this season, scoring 13 goals in the Premier League and 6 in the Champions League. The scorer of City’s famous league winner back in 2012, Aguero has often been described as unstoppable. With pace and precise accuracy, the Argentine has delicately dribbled his way through tight gaps in the defence before calmly slotting the ball past the keeper.
In a strong team with Messi and Higuain, Aguero could be forced to share his goals tally with his star teammates. But often the finisher and not the creator, this summer could be the perfect end on what looks set to be an incredible season for the Argentine. Let’s just hope he can find his good form again when he comes back from his calf injury.
Luis Suarez 16/1
England fans beware, as Luis Suarez is on fire this season, Despite missing the first 5 games of the season, the Uruguayan has 17 goals to his name from just 11 fixtures. With two hat-trick balls already, the Liverpool forward has pretty much dominated every defence he has come up against this campaign, scoring in a variety of ways. Be it headers on the edge of the box, or 45 yard volleys, Suarez can score in every fashion.
Teamed up alongside Edinson Cavani for Uruguay, the Red could be key in deciding who qualifies out of group D. England, Italy and Costa Rica will face the forward, who is currently one of the most feared strikers in Europe. A strong dribbler, he must be tracked every second by the defence, because just half a yard is all he needs right now.