The countdown is on to the World Cup, and speculation is mounting as to whom might join the list of all-time greats by winning the Golden Boot. James Rodriguez, Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose and Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) have earned greatness in recent tournaments by claiming the accolade. Here are the leading contenders to follow in their footsteps:
The five-time World Player of the Year heads the betting to win the Golden Boot at 10/1 with Bet Victor and 9/1 with various others. He has been usurped by fierce rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the individual glory stakes in recent years and seems hell-bent on returning to the summit of the game. He is enjoying another terrific season at Barcelona, where he leads the goal scoring charts in La Liga and looks set to fire his side to the title. Messi heads a terrifying list of Argentina forwards that also includes Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, Mauro Icardi and more. They are not as strong defensively, so they will need to go all-out attack in a bid to win the World Cup and it could pay dividends. Either way, Messi will dazzle with his brilliance and should get plenty of goal scoring chances, so he looks a decent shot at 9/1.
Some bookmakers have the Brazilian as the 7/1 favourite, but he is out at 11/1 with Unibet and 888 Sport and 10/1 with bookmakers like William Hill. He will feel like it is his time to cement his greatness by leading Brazil to the World Cup, and he certainly has the talent to achieve that. Neymar has 27 goals in 34 games this season and has the flair and exuberance to light up this tournament. Brazil finished top of the South American qualifying group, but question marks still linger over their defensive capabilities, and an early exit in Russia would be disastrous to Neymar’s Golden Boot chances.
The Portuguese striker always seems to deliver on the big stage and he was the driving force behind his country’s shock Euro 2016 win. His magnificent goal scoring prowess makes it understandable to see him as the third favourite in this market, priced at 13/1 with Unibet. But Portugal are unlikely to go all the way in this tournament, as they do not have the necessary depth of talent, so this looks like on to avoid.
Griezmann is 16/1 with Sky Bet and Boyle Sports and that is sure to tempt many punters after the graceful Atletico Madrid star finished as the top scorer at Euro 2016. France have a seriously impressive team and look a great bet to win it, so Griezmann could benefit from strong service and a run to the final, making him look an enticing option.
The Englishman is scoring for fun in the Champions League and looks poised to win the Premiership Golden Boot for the third time in a row, causing British punters to back him into 17/1 fifth favourite in this market. But it is difficult to see England making much of a splash in this tournament, so he looks like another one to avoid.
Werner looks like a great bet at 20/1 with 888 Sport because the RB Leipzig striker is highly likely to be given the nod to start up front for World Cup favourites Germany. They are the defending champions and sure to be among the main contenders in Russia this summer, so Werner – a deadly striker – will get plenty of chances to rack up a strong goals tally. He will have assist king Mesut Ozil behind him, along with anyone from Julian Draxler, Muller, Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sane, while the peerless Toni Kroos will anchor the midfield. Werner can therefore expect terrific service and looks really attractive at 20/1.
Egypt’s Mohamed Salah is attracting some attention at 66/1 after his exploits for Liverpool this season, but it is best to avoid players in teams that are unlikely to go far. Gabriel Jesus looks interesting at 20/1 as he looks like the Brazilian Ronaldo’s heir apparent, and another intriguing long shot is Kylian Mbappe at 35/1. The marauding young Frenchman is the world’s second most expensive player after Neymar and can really deliver on his promise on this big stage. There are so many fantastic strikers heading to Russia – Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Higuain, Dybala, Romelu Lukaku – that this is sure to be a fiercely contested market, but right now Werner stands out as he spearheads such a strong team