Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press
An exciting sub-plot at the World Cup is always the race for the Golden Boot, and this year it will be no different.
The world’s top players will not only be battling it out for the game’s biggest prize but also to write themselves into World Cup history by finishing the tournament as top goalscorer.
It will come as little surprise that one of the favorites to pick up the Golden Boot is Argentina star Lionel Messi, but the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar will also have ambitions of securing the award.
Here are select odds for the Golden Boot winner, courtesy of OddsShark:
- Lionel Messi, Argentina, 10-1
- Neymar, Brazil, 10-1
- Antoine Griezmann, France, 12-1
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, 16-1
- Harry Kane, England, 16-1
- Timo Werner, Germany, 16-1
- Gabriel Jesus, Brazil, 16-1
- Romelu Lukaku, Belgium, 18-1
- Luis Suarez, Uruguay, 22-1
- Thomas Muller, Germany, 33-1
- James Rodriguez, Colombia, 50-1
Lionel Messi, Argentina, 10-1
Messi comes into the tournament on the back of an incredible season, in which he netted 45 goals in all competitions.
The Barcelona man grabbed 34 of them in La Liga from just 32 starts, per WhoScored.com:
European Team of the Season: ST – Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – by @BenMcAleer1 — https://t.co/JHjIO30tLA https://t.co/422VlnPbhl
The tally was enough to win him the European Golden Shoe—his fifth overall—and offered a timely reminder of how prolific he can be, as if we needed one.
The Argentinian has form in international tournaments, too. He scored five goals at the 2016 Copa America and bagged four at the 2014 World Cup.
At the World Cup, six is usually enough to pick up the award—only the Brazilian Ronaldo has scored more than that in one tournament since 1974—so he only needs to replicate those performances and add one or two goals to potentially win it.
What’s more, La Albiceleste have a good chance of going deep in the competition, giving Messi more time to rack up the goals, and he also typically gets plenty of assists, which are used as a tiebreaker if needed.
Antoine Griezmann, France, 12-1
Antoine Griezmann will be leading the line for France in Russia, and he has a good chance of going far in the competition with his country.
Les Bleus will likely place similar importance on the striker as Atletico Madrid do, and he was involved in a significant amount of their goals last season, per OptaJoe:
45% – Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in 45% of the 93 goals (29 goals, 13 assists) that Atlético Madrid have scored in all competitions this season. Essential. https://t.co/JY5X7isZfd
For those considering a bet on Griezmann to pick up the Golden Boot, it’s also worth remembering his performance at Euro 2016.
The 27-year-old finished as top scorer in that tournament with six goals, and he’s more than capable of putting in a similar performance in Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, 16-1
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Ronaldo doesn’t have the same service with Portugal that he enjoys at Real Madrid, but that hasn’t stopped him from scoring 81 goals for his national side.
The 33-year-old has scored at all seven European Championships and World Cups he has attended, though he has just one goal in each of the latter.
The forward is perhaps not helped by Portugal’s tendency not to contest the latter stages of World Cups, though even at Euro 2016 he only scored three as his side won the tournament.
If there is one thing Ronaldo has proved during his career, though, it’s that you write him off at your peril.
Portugal will face Iran and Morocco in their group, and it’s not inconceivable that he could rack up a few goals in one or both of those matches, which could give him the platform to claim the Golden Boot, even if his side don’t make it to the semi-finals.