By Jawolusi ‘Segun
While the most outstanding award on display at the World Cup is the gold trophy, it is all but a collective thing and not the only award that is up for grab.
The Golden Boot is an individual award that has been bestowed on football greats like Gerd Muller, Eusebio, Ronaldo and Paolo Rossi.
The Golden Boot is a symbol of individual brilliance for an attacking player and winning this edition of the award would be much of importance to the winner with the focus on the attacking intents of the teams.
Footy Online takes a look at the front runners in the race for the Golden Boot and brings to you the most realistic seven players capable of winning the award.
The Colombian just like his country has been a surprise figure in the top of the scorer table and with a quality goal against Uruguay standing in contention for the Goal of the Tournament.
Really he is a dark horse in the race for the Golden Boot, country mate Radamel Falcao would have been a better name for contention but with the Monaco ace out with injury, all eyes automatically shifted to Jackson Martinez but it was Rodriguez that have stepped up and delivered for Colombia as they continue their impressive run in this competition.
With two assists and 88% shot on target, the Monaco ace could go on to claim the golden boot if his country go so far and his form continues to blossom.
Muller was the winner of the award in the last edition of the competition in South Africa in 2010. He scored five goals along with David Villa, Diego Forlan, Westley Sneijder in that edition. His ability to pounce on half chances in the penalty box gives him the edge and he is still a hot contender with his performance in Group G of the ongoing competition.
A total of four goals, including his hat-trick against Portugal, prove Muller’s instincts, and with the likes of Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil supplying him with chances, there’s no doubt the 24-year-old is a legit contender again.
The Argentine is perhaps the most favourite for the award on most people book and his four goals in Group F’s three games has further strengthen the believe that he can make this World Cup his own.
There is no doubting the fact that Messi is more than just a goal scorer as testified top by his 354 goals in 425 games for Barcelona. But now it’s time for the 27-year-old to really step up at international level. Judging from his strikes against Bosnia and Iran, and brace against Nigeria, this could not only be Messi’s Golden Boot, but also his World Cup.
Messi’s playing mate at the Nou Camp, Neymar, bears the burden of expectation of all Brazilian’s for a sixth World Cup. His tricky and flare has made the 22 year old a well known face in the football circle within few years.
The former Santos star is also capable of finding the back of the net, and despite being so young, has close to 200 goals to his name for both country and clubs. Those include his braces against Croatia and Cameroon in Group A. For the young Brazilian to win the Golden Boot, that form will have to continue, as he will be going up against the world’s hottest strikers.
ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Unlike the two previous seasons, the Manchester United’s striker was held to 12 goals in the Premiership in the just concluded season with injury problems. However, the Manchester United dangerman was back to his lethal best in Group B, scoring three goals, including a magnificent double against Spain. Undoubtedly, Van Persie is capable of scoring against the very best competition, which means he will be a legit contender for the Golden Boot as long as Holland are in Brazil.
Along with Van Persie, Holland have Arjen Robben to thank for making it through to the last-16. The 30-year-old was just as clinical in Group B as he also scored three times. Although the Bayern Munich winger has been noted for his assists more than anything else, he has achieved double figures in goals in all his five seasons in Germany. Therefore, Robben has an outside chance of winning the Golden Boot.
Surprisingly, Karim Benzema had never scored at a major international tournament until his first of two in Group E’s against Honduras. But as France have impressed in Brazil, he has finally proven himself on the international stage. And if Les Bleus are to continue that form in the last-16, Benzema will have every chance of winning the Golden Boot. His calmness in front of goal make him one of the game’s most dangerous finishers, and for certain, he will be eager to show the Real Madrid fans how lucky they are after their criticism of him last season.