With only a couple of months remaining for the 2022 FIFA World Cup to commence, the excitement surrounding the footballing extravaganza is at an all-time high. The grand prize itself is lucrative enough, but there are a few exceptional individual awards on offer as well.
Winning the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the leading goalscorer at the World Cup, is the ultimate dream of any goalscorer. Many eligible candidates will be vying for the Golden Boot award at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and today, we will take a look at the early front runners.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top seven contenders for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot:
#7 Vinicius Junior — Brazil
Vinicius Junior enjoyed a scintillating 2021-22 campaign for Real Madrid, scoring 22 goals and claiming 20 assists in 52 appearances across competitions. In addition to helping the Whites to La Liga and Spanish Super Cup glory, the young winger scored the winning goal in the Champions League final against Liverpool.
Vinicius Junior will experience the biggest tournament of his life at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year. The Brazilian forward, who has 14 caps for his country, is preparing for the occasion by producing eye-catching displays for Real Madrid every week.
Vinicius Junior has thus far scored five times and bagged two assists in seven matches for the Whites. It will be interesting to see if he can work his magic at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in a few weeks’ time.
#6 Cristiano Ronaldo — Portugal
The all-time leading goalscorer in international football (117 goals in 189 matches), Cristiano Ronaldo has not had a good start to the 2022-23 campaign. He has only started two of Manchester United’s eight games this season, coming off the bench in the remaining six fixtures. The Portugal skipper is yet to score or assist for the Red Devils in all competitions.
Ronaldo’s recent form is far from encouraging. But given Portugal’s creativity and Ronaldo’s knack for stepping up in big games, we simply could not keep him off this list.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has featured in 17 World Cup games for Portugal thus far, scoring seven times.
#5 Harry Kane — England
Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane has enjoyed a fruitful start to the 2022-23 season. The striker has five goals to his name in seven games across competitions and has also impressed fans with his defensive work rate, creativity, and passing range.
The England international won the Golden Boot in 2018, with him scoring a tournament-high six goals in as many fixtures. Given his current form, the Three Lions striker has every right to fancy himself winning another Golden Boot in this year’s iteration.
#4 Karim Benzema — France
Karim Benzema enjoyed his best-ever campaign with Real Madrid in the 2021-22 season, scoring 44 goals and providing 15 assists in 46 games for the club across competitions. His exploits helped Real Madrid to Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Super Cup glory.
Before getting injured in the 2022-23 Champions League opener against Celtic, Benzema had scored four goals for Los Blancos in all competitions. Granted he recovers in the next couple of weeks, Benzema should have enough time to regain top form. If he can, he would be primed to vie for the Golden Boot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
#3 Lionel Messi — Argentina
Lionel Messi’s Argentina was knocked out in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, losing 4-3 to eventual winners France. La Albiceleste has since grown in confidence and quality, with captain Lionel Messi leading his side by example.
Messi was Argentina’s best player at the 2021 Copa America tournament, with him pitching in with four goals and five assists (7 games) to take his team to the final. There, they squared off against Brazil, beating them on penalties.
Messi has also enjoyed an excellent start to the 2022-23 campaign at PSG. Bagging four goals and seven assists in nine games (across competitions), he has emerged as one of their best players. It would not be surprising to see him have a similar impact for Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November.
#2 Kylian Mbappe — France
Kylian Mbappe, who won the Young Player of the Tournament in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, scored four goals (7 matches) at the competition in its previous iteration. Now considerably more mature and lethal, he could find the back of the net even more frequently at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Mbappe, who has scored 27 international goals in 57 matches, has enjoyed an impressive start to the season at PSG. The 2018 World Cup winner has found the back of the net nine times in seven matches in all competitions, helping the Parisians to important victories.
#1 Neymar — Brazil
Brazilian ace Neymar has been in scintillating form for Paris Saint-Germain this season, netting 10 goals and claiming seven assists in only nine games across competitions. If he can carry his blistering form to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, he would be a favorite for the Golden Boot award.
Neymar has a knack for finding the back of the net in national colors. Over the course of his international career, he has represented Brazil 119 times, scoring 74 goals. Only the great Pele (74 goals in 92 matches) has more goals than the PSG superstar for Brazil.
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