The World Cup often produces drama and intrigue. Although it is a team tournament, the individual award the Golden Boot is always an interesting sub-plot.
In Brazil four years ago, Colombia attacking midfielder James Rodriguez won the top scorer award. Here are the most likely contenders for the award at Russia 2018:
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
It is impossible to avoid the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. The Barcelona forward fired the Catalan giants to a domestic double of league and cup last season.
Last time out in Brazil, he came close to picking up the one trophy that seems to be missing from his collection, the World Cup, as the Albiceleste suffered a 1-0 defeat in the final against Germany.
Messi is his country’s top goalscorer with 61 goals. No doubt he will add to that goal tally this summer in Russia.
Messi’s former Barcelona teammate now at PSG, the poster boy of Brazilian football has only recently returned from injury. The former Santos star has already chalked 54 goals for his country in 84 appearances.
With a stellar supporting cast of the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus, he may be a good shout to finish with the competitions big individual award this summer.
Antoine Griezmann (France)
The Atletico Madrid forward is without a doubt one of the best out and out strikers in the world game. Griezmann heads into the World Cup on the back of another prolific club campaign, helping Atletico to win the Europa League.
The former Real Sociedad forward has scored 20 times for Les Bleus in 53 appearances after coming to prominence on the international stage at Euro 2016.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Like arch-rival Messi, Ronaldo is hard to ignore when you think about goalscorers heading into this summer’s World Cup. The 33-year-old has enjoyed another productive goalscoring campaign with Real Madrid, becoming the first player to score 30 or more goals in six straight La Liga campaigns.
The forward is the European champions top scorer with 79 goals and also holds the appearance record, having made 147 appearances for his country.
Other worthy mentions:
Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Gabriel Jesus, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero.