The excitement is building ahead of World Cup 2022 in Qatar and while the battle for the Jules Rimet Trophy is set to be a fascinating one, the race for the Golden Boot promises to be as just as intense.
Ahead of the major tournament in the Middle East, we have looked at some of the potential candidates to win the prestigious award, which was first claimed by Argentina’s Guillermo Stabile at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay.
Harry Kane – England
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane won the Golden Boot in Russia in 2018, notching six times as England made it through to the semi-finals, and his form will likely be crucial to the Three Lions’ chances of lifting the trophy for the first time since 1966.
Spurs’ talisman is well-accustomed to picking up the Golden Boot in the Premier League, having picked up the accolade three times, while he has 50 international goals and is only three behind all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney.
With that record within grasp, it would be no surprise to see Kane bang in the goals in Qatar and there could be plenty of opportunities for him to do so, with England drawn in Group B alongside the USA, Wales and Iran.
Memphis Depay – The Netherlands
The Netherlands will make their first World Cup appearance since 2014 later this year, having missed out on a spot in Russia four years ago, and they are set to be spearheaded by Barcelona forward Memphis Depay.
Although there is uncertainty around the 28-year-old’s future at the Camp Nou, he continues to be a leading light for his country and he netted 12 goals in European qualification for the Finals – only Canada’s Cyle Larin (13) and the UAE’s Ali Mabkhout (14) scored more.
The Dutch have also been handed a favourable draw in Group A alongside Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal, and if Louis van Gaal’s men top their pool as expected, they would likely face one of Iran, the USA or Wales in the last 16.
Lautaro Martinez – Argentina
While it is hard to overlook Argentina’s Lionel Messi when it comes to the Golden Boot, he has only scored six goals across four World Cups and he failed to find the back of the net at the 2010 edition.
Based on that evidence, there could be more value in backing his compatriot Lautaro Martinez to grab the top award. The 24-year-old has a fantastic record for his country, bagging 20 goals in 38 games, and his form for Inter Milan has been impressive.
The talented forward scored 21 Serie A goals in the 2021/22 campaign and he will fancy his chance of racking up the strikes at World Cup 2022, with Argentina drawn in Group C alongside Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland.