World Cup 2018: Who will win the Golden Boot?

With Miroslav Klose not appearing in the tournament for the first time since 1998, who will win the Golden Boot at this World Cup?

REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Who was Miroslav Klose before 2002?

The German had enjoyed a decent season with Kaiserslautern but was a surprise inclusion in what many believed was his country’s weakest World Cup squad in decades.

Five goals in Korea and Japan put him on the map. Moves to Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich followed with Klose eventually winning the Golden Boot four years later in Germany.

Less reliable at club level, the Polish-born forward has dined on his legend ever since. The Golden Boot can forge a career, admitting a player to an exclusive club that’s populated by the finest strikers in history. 

With that in mind, here are five candidates who could add their names to that list.

  1. 5 Edinson Cavani

    REUTERS/Andres Stapff

    For so long the supporting artist to Luis Suárez and Diego Forlán, Edinson Cavani may finally be ready to assume centre stage for his country in Russia.

    The Uruguayan has enjoyed another ravaging season in France, walloping through 40 goals in 48 appearances. 

    Oscar Tabarez' side are far from the muscular aggressor of tournaments past - the new generation, led by Fede Valverde and Giorgian De Arrascaeta, rely more on technique than brawn. 

    Good news for Cavani, who will look to pray on their incisive passes.

  2. 4 Diego Costa

    REUTERS/Susana Vera

    Half-fit four years ago, Diego Costa has put a difficult 18 months behind him with his January return to Atlético Madrid. 

    The naturalised Spaniard is a brilliant bully and a wonderfully-physical alternative to his country's surgical style. 

    Free from injury and off-field distractions, Costa will lead a rejuvenated Spain as they attempt to banish the memories of Brazil. 

    Woe befall any defence that has to face him.

  3. 3 Robert Lewandowski

    REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

    The Poland striker is widely expected to depart Bayern Munich this summer and will be mindful of the impact that a decent tournament will have on solidifying the interest from Real Madrid and others in his services.

    Ever the Bundesliga bully, Lewandowski should be able to translate his domestic form with the help of old head Jakub Blaszykowski and Neopolitan pair Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zielinski. 

    The 29-year-old is a surefire bet to build on his 52 goals from 93 caps, the apex of the strongest Polish team in decades.

  4. 2 Timo Werner

    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

    Leipzig's jet-heeled forward is the latest luxury addition to the Germany squad this summer. 

    Werner is a speedy assassin in the front line, an explosive maestro assisted ably by glittering artistes such as Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos. 

    After a remarkable break-out season in 2016/17 in which he scored 21 goals and carried RB Leipzig to second in the league, Werner was slightly less impressive this season, still finishing with 13 goals overall.

    If Die Mannschaft arrive with the same mentality of four years ago, Werner will have a whale of a time.

  5. 1 Neymar

    REUTERS/Andrew Yates

    Commentators might have expected Neymar to be a touch rusty against Croatia at the weekend.

    How wrong they were. The Brazilian scored a sumptuous strike on his first march since returning from injury, helping his team on the way to a 2-0 win.

    After the aborted glory of 2014, this feels like Neymar's time. 

    He might be a craven individualist with sights permanently set on personal glory, but he has the skill and drive to top the scoring charts with ease.

    Who do you think will win the Golden Boot competition in Russia? Let us know by commenting below.

  1. Poll: Who will win the Golden Boot in Russia?

    1. Edinson Cavani
    2. Robert Lewandowski
    3. Neymar
    4. Timo Werner
    5. Diego Costa
    69 votes
    Share Your Result

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Chris Weir


Chris is a Senior Writer for These Football Times and has appeared on The Guardian and TalkSPORT.