The Golden Boot (formerly Golden Shoe) was first awarded at a World Cup in 1982, with 11 players winning or sharing the accolade in the men’s game.
Ronaldo is the only Brazilian to claim it in 2002 - five Brazilians have been top-goalscorer overall, but only Ronaldo since the boot was introduced in 1982 - and since then, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Müller, James Rodríguez and Harry Kane have all been winners of one of the most prestigious individual awards in the game.
With all eyes turning to Qatar for the most recent edition of the World Cup, 101 Great Goals has provided the best World Cup Golden Boot odds and tips.
Golden Boot Previous Winners
|World Cup||Golden Shoe/Boot||Goals||Silver Shoe/Boot||Goals||Bronze Shoe/Boot||Goals|
|1982||Paolo Rossi||6||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||5||Zico||4|
|1986||Gary Lineker||6||Emilio Butragueno|
|1990||Salvatore Schillaci||6||Tomas Skuhravy||5||Roger Milla|
|1998||Davor Suker||6||Gabriel Batistuta|
|2006||Miroslav Klose||5||Hernan Crespo||3||Ronaldo||3|
|2010||Thomas MUller||5||David Villa||5||Wesley Sneijder||5|
|2014||James Rodriguez||6||Thomas Muller||5||Neymar||4|
|2018||Harry Kane||6||Antoine Griezmann||4||Romelu Lukaku||4|
World Cup Golden Boot odds and tips
10) Vinícius Júnior
When Vinícius Júnior first arrived at Real Madrid from Flamengo, the biggest criticism thrown his way regarded his end product, or lack there of. However, these critics have since been silence, with Vini Jr. having scored 32 goals for los Blancos since the start of last season. At international level, Vinícius has actually only scored once, this coming in a World Cup qualification victory over Chile in March. But, after bagging the winner goal in the most recent Champions League Final, Vinícius will be hoping to elevate his stardom even further at this tournament.
9) Romelu Lukaku
At the age of just 24, Romelu Lukaku had already become Belgium’s leading goals-scorer of-all time, smashing Bernard Voorhoof’s record that had stood since 1940. Lukaku scored that record-breaking 31st goal back in November 2017, taking his tally up to 68 in the subsequent five years. This includes netting five times at World Cups and six at European Championships. In Russia, Lukaku bagged braces against Tunisia and Panama as Belgium went on to finish third. In the summer, Lukaku returned to Internazionale Milano, on loan from Chelsea, after his €100 million move 12 months earlier. He’s actually only made five appearances for Inter this season, due to a hamstring injury, but is confident of returning in time to feature prominently in Qatar. What could hinder Lukaku’s golden boot chances is that Belgium are in a tough group, and the fact their golden generation isn’t shinning quite as brightly, so they could be set for an early exit.
No Dutch player has ever won the World Cup golden boot; can Memphis change that fact in Qatar? The Barcelona forward currently has 42 international goals to his name, level with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and eight shy of Robin van Persie’s national record. Memphis’ first two Netherlands goals actually came at the World Cup, netting against Australia and Chile as a 20-year-old. Given that the Oranje then failed to qualify for Russia, this’ll be Holland’s semi-long awaited return to the world’s biggest stage. Memphis netted 12 times in qualifying, the joint-most of any player in the UEFA region. Despite having made just three appearances for Barça this season, he remains his national team’s main man for goals, hoping to fill his boots in favourable group fixtures against Ecuador and Qatar.
7) Gabriel Jesus
Gabriel Jesus led the line in all five of Brazil’s games at the 2018 World Cup, but the fact he didn’t score still haunts him to this day. Jesus declared that, as a result, he wanted to play as a wide-player, something that became the case at Manchester City. However, in the summer, Jesus joined Arsenal, becoming the Gunners’ number nine, both figuratively and literally. He’s already scored five times in the Premier League for Arsenal, most recently doing so in the North London derby. For Brazil, Jesus has 19 goals to his name, including scoring in the Copa América semi-final and final victories back in 2019. With Jesus set to start up front, and with A Seleção the favourites to win the whole tournament, backing Jesus at 25/1 could represent great value.
6) Cristiano Ronaldo
On top of the 32 major honours he’s won, Cristiano Ronaldo has collected four European golden shoes, three Pichichi awards and one Capocannoniere. This may be ridiculous to say, given that Ronaldo is the highest-scoring man in international football history, but the Portuguese forward hasn’t really produced his best at World Cups. Just seven of his 117 Portugal goals have been scored at the World Cup, these coming against IR Iran, Korea DRP, Ghana, Spain and Morocco, all in the group stages. Amazingly, Portugal haven’t won a World Cup knockout match since 2006, a key reason why their all-time top scorer is yet to net at that phase of the tournament. Given that Fernando Santos’ side are in a tough group, alongside Uruguay, Ghana and Korea Republic, the 37-year-old appears to be a long-shot to win the golden boot.
Neymar has hinted that 2022 may well be his third and final World Cup, so will he go out on a high? Eight years ago, with the hopes of a nation squarely on his shoulders, Neymar bagged braces on home soil against both Croatia and then Cameroon. He suffered a back injury in the quarter-final victory over Colombia, thereby forced to uncomfortably watch the Mineiraço, as his side were smashed 7-1 by Germany. In Russia, Neymar took his tally to six World Cup goals, scoring against both Costa Rica and then Mexico. At club level, he might just be enjoying his best form at Paris Saint-Germain just now, having scored 15 goals in just 19 appearances this season. Back with Brazil, Neymar will be hoping to become his country’s all-time leading goalscorer at this tournament; he’s currently two behind Pelé's 51-year old record of 77. Will that historic moment come in Qatar?
4) Karim Benzema
Will the newly-crowned Ballon d’Or winner add to his growing collection of individual accolades? Karim Benzema was not part of France’s victorious 2018 squad due to, how best to put this, off-field issues. So, Benzema has only featured at one World Cup to date, scoring three times in Brazil, twice against Honduras and one in a drubbing of Switzerland. Since then, Benzema has become Real Madrid’s second-highest goalscorer of all-time, lifting the Champions League for the fifth time in June. If Les Bleus are going to become the first nation since 1962 to retain the World Cup, expect Benzema to be at the forefront of their attacking threat.
3) Lionel Messi
Did you know, Lionel Messi has scored 785 goals in his senior career, but none of these have come in the World Cup knockout stages? Messi has scored 90 times at international level, only two men, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ali Daei have more, with six of these coming at World Cups. He scored against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria in 2014 and Nigeria again in 2018. You may notice that 2010 was omitted from that list; that’s because Messi led the way in most shots without scoring at that edition. So, it would take a big upturn in Messi’s World Cup fortunes for him to leave Qatar with the golden boot. Two factors in his favour are, firstly, Argentina are actually good now and, also, la Albiceleste take on Saudi Arabia, possibly the weakest team at the entire tournament, in their opener.
2) Kylian Mbappé
Kylian Mbappé won the best young player of the tournament in Russia, so will he add to his individual accolades in Qatar? In 2018, Mbappé scored against Peru, twice against Argentina and then bagged the clincher in the final victory over Croatia, This saw him become the first teenager since Pelé in 1958 to score in a World Cup Final. Since, Mbappé has taken his tally to 28 international goals, winning 11 major honours with Paris Saint-Germain and the UEFA Nations League with Les Bleus. So far this season, he’s scored 18 goals in 19 PSG appearances, so will head to the Middle East in red hot form.
1) Harry Kane
No player has ever won the World Cup golden boot at back-to-back tournaments, a fact Harry Kane is seeking to change. In Russia, Kane scored six times as England reached the semi-finals, bagging two against Tunisia, a hat-trick in the demolition of Panama and a penalty in the victory over Colombia. Since then, he’s also collected a third Premier League golden boot, with only Thierry Henry able to boast more of those. At international level, Kane scored his 51st goal for England in September’s draw with Germany at Wembley. So, he needs just three more to break Wayne Rooney’s record, and will be hopeful of achieving that in Qatar. However, given that Gareth Southgate’s side are not in great form, the Three Lions could be set for an early exit, hampering Kane’s individual ambitions.
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