Written by Harshal Rao
From Paolo Rossi to Eusebio to Ronaldo, the World Cup Golden Boot has been awarded to some of the finest players to ever grace the game. The Golden Boot has been won both by established stars like Gerd Muller and Gary Lineker as well as complete novices like Thomas Muller and James Rodriguez.
Here are our top 5 contenders for the Golden Boot Award.
1) Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
All eyes will be on Neymar and for this reason, Gabriel Jesus is our top pick to win the Golden Boot. Yes, Neymar thrives under pressure but just ask Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi how difficult it is to score on this stage when the opposition keeps a tight eye and leg on you. Gabriel Jesus can use this extra space and less scrutiny to devastating effect. Possessing a nice first touch, technique and athletism, Jesus can score goals both with his feet and head. Having scored 9 goals in 15 appearances for Brazil and 20 in 39 appearances for Manchester City, Jesus is no stranger to finding the back of the net.
Boot Rating – 4/5
P.S: Neymar to win the Golden Ball in Russia.
2) Antoine Griezmann (France)
The man with the dancing feet; he can dance his way to the Golden Boot Award. Having won the Golden Boot in Euro 2016, he will look to add this trophy to his individual collection. France are so well endowed in attack that even after leaving Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette at home , the forward line is the envy of every country at the World Cup. Highly rated youngsters Mbappe and Dembele with veteran Giroud can play an able supporting cast around Griezmann and help him win both the World Cup and the Golden Boot.
Boot Rating – 3.5/5
3) Lionel Messi (Argentina)
The Messiah, the Magician, the God; it would be foolish on one’s part to write off arguably (look away Ronaldo fanboys) the best player in the world’s chances of winning this prestigious award. Having donned his boots back for Argentina, Messi will be determined to win the World Cup and in the process the Golden Boot in possibly his final journey with Argentina.
Boot Rating – 3.5/5
4) Cristian’s Ronaldo (Portugal)
A list that includes Messi would most likely include Ronaldo as well. Having led his country to European Glory, his hunger has increased and only the World Cup can satiate it. At 33, Ronaldo is in peak physical condition. The diminishing pace has been replaced by an astute sense of positioning. The bicycle kick against Bayern Munich is proof that Ronaldo can still astound us with his out of the world ability. Ronaldo will be hoping for some Benzema like support from Andre Silva and accurate crossing from Bernardo Silva and Gonçalo Guedes to achieve this feat.
Boot Rating – 3/5
5) Timo Werner (Germany)
Werner is the dark horse for the Golden Boot. Timo Werner is reminiscent of a young Thomas Muller at South Africa. We all know what Muller achieved, Werner is capable of replicating it. Werner is adapt at playing with both feet and is also commanding in the air. The World Champions are favourites to defend their crown and Werner could be a key part of it. The competition for places in Germany is so fierce that Werner could win the Golden Boot or not score at all in the tournament.
Boot Rating – 2.5/5
Who else should make this list? Let us know in the comments below!