Russia put five goals past Saudi Arabia to set the tournament off with a goal scoring spree, but who will win the World Cup’s Golden Boot, and which boot will they be wearing?
With major sports brands Nike and adidas dominating the sponsorship of elite footballers, the World Cup’s Golden Boot winner is likely to come from a player wearing Nike or adidas.
Outside of the two dominant football brands, PUMA have taken their designs to new levels with the PUMA Future boot, which will be showcased by the Euro 2016 Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot winner Antoine Griezmann.
At 33-years-old Ronaldo heads onto the global stage in scintillating form. Amassing 44 goals in 44 games this season, the Portuguese striker led all Champions League scorers with 15 goals, as his team won the prestigious trophy for the third consecutive season. His 15 goals in qualification for the World Cup arrived at a goal every 51 minutes played; the best amongst European players with six goals or more.
Neymar’s home World Cup four years ago was curtailed due to injury. Before his injury, the Brazilian talisman notched four goals in five games and was selected on to the 2014 World Cup Dream Team. Last year, Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG for a record £200m. An injury against Real Madrid brought his club campaign to a premature end, but the Brazilian was back on the scoresheet when his countrymen beat Croatia on his return.
Mercurial Players’ International records
Cristiano Ronaldo (149 app / 81 gls), Neymar (84 app / 54 gls), Radamel Falcao (71 app / 29 gls), Ayoub El Kaabi (9 app / 11 gls), Isco (26 app / 10 gls), Kylian Mbappe (14 app /3 gls)
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adidas X have a host of lethal strikers vying for the Golden Boot, including the leading goal-scorer of the last tournament, James Rodriguez, who lit up Brazil from midfield, scoring six goals on route to winning the goal of the tournament and earning a place on the Dream Team.
World Cup winner Thomas Müller ended his domestic campaign as the top assist man in the Budesliga, along with his 15 goals in all competitions. For Germany, his burden for scoring goals is greater without club teammate Robert Lewandowski leading the line. Benefitting from a robust efficient team behind him, Müller has scored 10 goals in 13 World Cup appearances, and will have his sights set on Miroslav Klose’s all-time record of 16 World Cup goals.
X Players’ International Records
Luis Suarez (97 app / 50 gls), Thomas Müller (90 app / 38 gls), Mohamed Salah (57 app / 33 gls), James Rodriguez (62 app / 21 gls), Gabriel Jesus (16 app / 9 gls), Diego Costa (19 app / 7 gls)
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Since his exploits at Euro 2016, Griezmann has scored 55 goals in 102 games for Atlético Madrid, including a brace in the Europa League final in May to help the capital club win their first major trophy in four years. He failed to score in five appearances in Brazil, but after winning the Golden Boot in Euro 2016, Griezmann will be hoping to take his game to new levels in Russia with his signature PUMA Future boots.
Sergio Aguero is one of the many outstanding attacking options that Argentina can boast. Ahead of their number 10, Lionel Messi, both Gonzalo Higuain and Aguero will compete to see who will lead the line. The focal point of Manchester City’s record breaking season, if the diminutive striker gets the nod, he is likely to prosper from the brilliance of Messi.
PUMA Players’ International Record
Sergio Aguero (85 app / 37 gls), Romelu Lukaku (69 app / 36 gls), Olivier Giroud (73 app / 31 gls), Antoine Griezmann (53 app / 20 gls) Marco Reus (30 app / 9 gls)
Poland’s all-time leading goal scorer, Robert Lewandowski, broke the record for the most goals scored in a European Championship qualifying campaign with 13 (for Euro 2016), and followed it up with the record for most goals scored in European FIFA World Cup qualification with 16. Sharing a group with the likes of Senegal, Japan and Columbia, Poland have every chance to progress, if Lewandowski can keep up his scoring exploits.
“If England are going to do well this summer, it’s going to be on how well he (Harry Kane) does,” said former England captain Wayne Rooney. Since a disappointing goalless Euro 2016, Kane has scored 76 goals for Tottenham Hotspur in 86 games, and will be England’s youngest ever World Cup captain at just 24-years-old.
Hypervenom Players’ International Record
Robert Lewandowski (93 app / 52 gls), Gonzalo Higuain (70 app / 31 gls), Harry Kane (24 app / 13 gls)
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Lionel Messi’s stunning hat-trick in Argentina’s last World Cup qualifier ensured the two-time winners would be in Russia for this summer’s tournament. Already his country’s all-time leading goal scorer, Messi has tasted defeat in three Copa América finals and in the last World Cup final, so will be desperate to go one better this time around.
Roberto Firmino increased his output from 12 goals last season to 27 goals this campaign for Liverpool. His endless running and team play have propelled him into one of the elite forwards in football. With all the focus on Neymar and Jesus, Firmino might be able to cash in on his great form to contend for the Golden Boot.
Nemeziz Players’ International Record
Lionel Messi (122 app / 64 gls), Roberto Firmino (20 app / 6 gls), Jesse Lingard (11 app / 1 gls)
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