England captain Harry Kane is one of the favourites to win the World Cup golden boot in Qatar, though the Tottenham man will face stiff competition.
The World Cup is here and while discussions of who is going to win the tournament dominate, not far behind that is the question of who will win the coveted golden boot award. Kane walked away with the golden boot in 2018 as he helped England reach the semi-finals in Russia and will by hopeful of adding to his tally of 51 international goals.
Kane is two goals behind Wayne Rooney in England’s list of all-time top scorers and the expectation is that the 29-year-old will surpass Rooney’s 53 goal tally by the time he returns to his club in December. With an opening group game against Iran, a match that the Three Lions are fancied to win well, there is every chance that Kane could score a hat-trick and claim the record before the business end of the World Cup.
When it comes to winning the golden boot, however, Kane does have some strong opposition – even with the absence of Erling Haaland, whose Norway side failed to qualify.
Messi is an obvious pick to win the golden boot and many believe that the magician could cap what is expected to be his final World Cup by lifting the trophy. South American teams are fancied to do well in Qatar due to the hot temperatures, and that would mean that Messi having seven games (should Argentina reach the final) to fill his boots.
The former Barcelona man has been in fine form for Paris Saint-Germain and is nine goals away from reaching a century of international goals. Could you imagine the scenes if Messi was to score his 100th goal for Argentina in the final of a World Cup, helping his country taken him the trophy they haven’t lifted since the days of Diego Maradona?
Mbappe is a popular pick to win the golden boot and it is easy to understand why. Messi’s PSG teammate is electric and scores goals for fun, racking up 19 goals in all competitions (including seven in the Champions League) before the mid-season break.
The 23-year-old is the main man in a France team that is expected to fight to retain their title as world champions right to the very end and will benefit from playing alongside a wealth of world-class talent. With France given what appears to be a kind group stage draw, with Denmark, Australia, and Tunisia, Mbappe could easily fire his way into an early lead in the goalscoring charts.
Mbappe, though, may not even end the tournament as his country’s top scorer, such is the fine form that Benzema has been in. The once-omitted France star has been unstoppable since stepping outside of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, deservedly winning this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Benzema has suffered with injury problems this season, however, and with France already missing the likes of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante through a lack of fitness they will be desperate fro the 34-year-old to be ready and raring to go in Qatar.
Brazil’s main man is of course among this list of potential golden boot winners. Neymar is now 30 years old and is regularly on the scoresheet for his club, alongside teammates Messi and Mbappe. Brazil goes into this year’s tournament as the favourites to win what would be their first World Cup in 20 years – something that once seemed unthinkable during the days of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, and Roberto Carlos.
Fifteen goals in all competitions for PSG represents an upturn in form this campaign for Neymar, who struggled last season with just 13 goals. Leading the charge for Brazil could see the forward return to Paris with two of the game’s biggest prizes.
He may be 37 years old, but you cannot discount the pedigree of Ronaldo. He is still Portugal’s go-to man and will be playing with a point to prove this winter after making headlines for all the wrong reasons, especially most recently.
Ronaldo was Manchester United’s top scorer last season with 24 goals and, despite not featuring regularly under new manager Erik ten Hag, he remains one of the best players on the planet. Portugal are many peoples outside bet to go far in the tournament – could you imagine if Ronaldo meets Messi’s Argentina in the final?
Will Kane Retain his Golden Boot?
If you offered Kane the choice between a second golden boot or lifting the World Cup on 18 December, there is only one answer he will give. For England to be successful, you feel that the Spurs man is going to have to be free-scoring.
As long as England remain in the tournament until the latter stages, Kane has every chance of adding another golden boot to his collection of awards. He will be hoping it comes home along with the trophy that has eluded the Three Lions since 1966.