Can these players do it on a warm Thursday afternoon in Yekaterinburg? As the World Cup is on the horizon we turn our attention to the strikers, the match winners, and the ones who will be hoping bring glory to their home nations and create lasting world cup memories.
Ronaldo, Maradona, Linekar, Pele and Klose are just some of the World Cup greats. Will Messi or Ronaldo finally write themselves into World Cup history? Jonathon Hague looks at the Top Goal Scorer market to see who you should be backing in Russia.
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Lionel Messi to be Top Goal scorer @ 10/1 – BET NOW
What many see as the obstacle that holds Messi back from being the best player of all time, especially in his homeland of Argentine, is that fact he hasn’t been able to bring the FIFA World Cup Trophy back to south-east South America like Diego Maradona achieved.
Winning Player of the Tournament in Brazil, which many argue wasn’t deserved, was overshowed by Argentina’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in the final thanks to a second half Mario Gotze goal. Messi’s inability to use his immense talent to drag his country to major honours, at this point in his career, will be at the forefront of his mind as La Albicelesta have lost three finals back-to-back with losses to Chile in the Copa América.
Messi currently only has 5 goals to him name in the World Cup despite this being his fourth tournament, but with his country’s poor qualifying campaign and a group full of potential banana skins in Nigeria, Iceland and Croatia, could the three-time World Champions find it tough going?
Messi proved yet again that he is a man to rise to the occasion with Argentina’s final qualifying game against Ecuador where the man from Rosário netted an unbelievable hattrick in a game that could have see the side not reaching Russia at all.
With his club form nothing more than spectacular and the Barcelona star man now in his peak, many believe that his moment to conquer the world stage has finally come. In 43 games this season, Messi has scored 35 times but with Argentina struggling will Messi’s ability to change games be enough if the service is lacking? Time will tell.
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Thomas Müller to Be Top Goal Scorer @ 25/1 – BET NOW
If the odds are to be believed then Germany are the favourites to retain their World Cup crown in Russia with one of the more formidable squads in international football. Die Mannschaft breezed through qualification and won the Confederations Cup last summer with effectively their third team. With fresh blood pouring into a German team which many of their major stars are entering the peak of their careers, is it possible that this crop of German players are even better than the team that conquered the competition in Brazil?
Thomas Müller is one of those players entering his prime and entering his third World Cup in June and already 10 goals in the competition to his name, he is just 6 goals from equalling the all-time record held by fellow countryman, Miroslav Klose. With 5 goals each in his previous two World Cups in South Africa and Brazil, Mueller will be hoping that within this star studded he will be given the service needed to go one better and score 6 goals this competition.
Germany’s group shouldn’t be too much of a challenge as they face a poor an average South Korea side, a Sweden side lacking any star power and a declining Mexican team. You would definitely bet on Germany capitalising on this and tearing all three nations apart in attack.
The one question for Müller equalling his goal scoring tally would be his current goal scoring form. For Bayern Munich this season, he has only scored 10 times in a team fortunate to be littered with goal scorers all over the field. Germany possess this same quality and with the rise of Timo Werner (priced at 20/1) in the past 18 months, the limelight upfront could be hogged by the latest rising German star.
However, time and time again, Müller has proven to be a big game player; priced at 25/1, 10 goals to his name already and gifted with playing for the favourites, he is a very decent outsider for Golden Boot.
Luis Suárez to be Top Goal Scorer @ 30/1 – BET NOW
World Cup have been nothing, if not entertaining for Luis Suárez after taking a chunk out of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 group stages, the Uruguayan striker became public enemy number one and received a four-month ban. In 2010, he was at the centre of a massive controversy after he handled the ball on the goal-line to prevent Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah from scoring a last-minute winner. Ghana then missed the penalty following with the South American side progressing to the semis by penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play couldn’t separate them.
Despite his questionable style of play, there is no doubt that Suárez is one of the deadliest strikers in the world. Since joining Barcelona after the 2014 World Cup, the Uruguayan striker has scored 145 goals in 187 appearances and his international record isn’t too shabby either with 48 goals in 92 appearances.
While I can’t imagine Uruguay repeating their success in 2010 by reaching the latter stages of the competition, they were the second-best team in South American qualification and have been drawn in by far the weakest group of the competition with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia.
Expect Suárez to tear apart all three teams at the back and for the South Americans to walk the group and while I don’t think they can expect anything more than a quarter-final finish at best, there is plenty of opportunities earlier in the competition for Luis Suárez to bag plenty of goals and in his current form, you wouldn’t back him not to score.
Cristiano Ronaldo to be Top Goal Scorer @ 13/1 – BET NOW
Obviously, you can’t talk about top goal scorers without mentioning Real Madrid front man and real-life Action Man, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker has been in devastating form in 2018 averaging 1.68 goals per game in one of the most clinical runs of form in his career. In 13 games since the turn of the year he has scored 21 goals and provided 4 assists in just 13 games.
When form is huge going into a World Cup, England fans can definitely attest to that statement, CR7 looks set for a World Cup and with Iran and Morocco, as well as their Iberian neighbours Spain, in their group they will be plenty of opportunities for the Portuguese striker to make his mark in Russia.
Elsewhere, Harry Kane, or as many believe, the only hope England have, is priced at 17/1 if you fancy him banging in a few against Panama, Tunisia and Belgium before being knocked out by Poland or Colombia by a fluky goal with Joe Hart getting sent off for handling outside his box.
Frenchman, Antione Griezmann is priced at 16/1 as he heads into the World Cup with sensational form for Atlético Madrid and leading the line with an extremely talented French side that many are backing to win the competition this time round.
Brazilian Neymar is currently second favourite for top goal scorer behind his former Barcelona teammate, Lionel Messi, priced at 11/1 but with his current injury leaving his World Cup prospects in the balance, will he be return fit enough to make his mark in Russia?
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