As the much-awaited Euro 2020 is finally all set to unfold after a dragged year of a frustrating wait due to the menacing virus, football fans simply cannot hold on to their fervour as the best nations from the continent will go head to head in order to decide the kings of Europe.
Not only shall it pit the best nations of the continent against each other but it will actually converge stalwarts of the sport and remain witness to a high-octane extravaganza amongst the greats that would feature Gods and super-humans taking the field for continental glory.
However, all the glory that we are talking about is being settled by goals and no matter how creatively, artistically or brilliantly a team renders itself, the final deal is settled by the numbers on the board.
As we talk about goals, this tournament comprises countless avatars of untenable sporting personalities who can set the fray ablaze with their own exotic brand of football. The man with the highest number of goals at the end of the tournament will be awarded the prestigious Golden Boot.
In this story, we will be looking at five probable contenders for this award as the tournament has previously seen the shining monikers of Fernando Torres, Antoine Griezmann, Dennis Bergkamp, Alan Shearer, Michael Platini and Gerd Muller bagging this glory.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Undoubtedly, Ronaldo will be leading the race for the Golden Boot contenders given his burning statistics in the tournament’s glittering antiquity. He has already featured in the highest number of appearances in the Euro Championship which reads 21 caps while he is already at par with the highest goal-scorer of the tournament. He has so far managed to smash 9 goals that have placed him on the same scale as that of Michael Platini. He has also managed to score in 7 matches which is the highest in the Euro list.
Despite, Juventus barely managing a UCL spot for the next summer, Ronaldo was in a world of his own that saw him banging in 29 goals in the season. He is currently in the midst of a purple patch and with a supplier like Bruno Fernandes and Joao Moutinho, his goals-scoring flair may go a notch higher. Ronaldo also has a proclivity towards shooting and with 1500 minutes under his belt in the ongoing season, he has speared 90 shots. The average comes to a whopping 5.4 that is in line with Lewandowski’s 5.0 and Messi’s 5.8. With the prolific finisher, CR7 is, expect a goal-fest every time Portugal takes the field.
2. Romelu Lukaku
Ever since donning on the jersey of Internazionale, Lukaku has evolved as a serious menace ahead of the goal. He has converted almost every chance that has been fed to him. Had it not been for the elimination at the hands of eventual winners, France, Belgium posted a resounding performance in the 2018 World Cup. However, en route to the semi-final, they needed their star striker to pull the strings behind that all-important goal sinking a soaring Japan in the dying minutes to the depths of despair. Lukaku will be taking the field for Belgium under a purple patch so bright that it has seen him grabbing 24 Serie A goals. This was the second-highest number of goals in a single season by Big Rom after his sublime outing for Everton in 2016-17 that saw him banging in 25 goals.
One of the primary aspects that Lukaku has actually changed about his original gameplay is his positioning. Both his on and off-the-ball positioning has improved by leaps and bounds that makes him a palpable menace ahead of the goal. With 64 goals for Inter Milan ever since his joining, Lukaku is one of those handful seven players to score 60 plus goals in just two seasons of signing for a club. It is not just at the club level that he has shown his class, but for Belgium, he has been a famished beast too. From 14 appearances, he has managed to net 18 strikes that included nine goals from the seven games in the qualifiers of this very edition of the tournament. He is the leading goal-scorer of Belgium already and it is needless to say that with a supply line that comprises KDB, Youri Tielemans and Nacer Chadli, he will simply keep on adding to that tally.
3. Harry Kane
The three-time golden boot winner of Premier League, Harry Kane will be the crux of England’s battery in the imminent Euro Cup. Put brilliantly by Peter Drury, “Harry Kane is England’s priceless gem” and the man from London has validated these words time and time again. In the recently concluded Premier League, he hammered 23 goals from 35 appearances and strung 14 assists. Out of these 23 strikes, 4 were by his head while the remaining 19 were from his feet. He powered 137 shots out of which 53 were on target and 9 of them blazed the crossbar. He completed 908 passes that averaged at 25.94 passes per game.
He whipped in 38 crosses while stringing 14 brilliant chances for his team to score. In fact, his partnership with Gareth Bale and Heung-Min Son proved to be extremely fruitful for Spurs despite changes in personnel midway through the league. He has also had glittering antiquity for the national team as he has successfully blasted 34 netters from 54 matches. These numbers are overwhelmingly in favour of the English striker finding himself at an elevated position for the Golden Boot contention. He will also be able to play a lot more freely given the availability of Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho on the wings.
4. Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe was already exuding an explosive beacon of rays at Le Parc des Princes before he set the 2018 World Cup ablaze with an untenable menace for France. He single-handedly destroyed Argentina in the pre-quarterfinals. He has underlined his scintillating calibre by becoming the Ligue 1 top-season for the last three seasons and has also become the youngest player to complete his century of goals in Ligue 1. He has been such a revelation that he has reigned supreme over other top-flight players, blasting 78 netters in the process.
Other than the goal-scoring prowess of this wunderkind, he has also hammered the most number of shots with 316 shots out of which 175 were on target. 27 of his goals have been a carry forward from the back that is the joint-most in any European league with the other player being Messi. The return of Benzema will change a few strategies hither and yon but Mbappe will be their main man when it comes to toppling oppositions.
5. Robert Lewandowski
This was indeed a very tough call as there were a lot of competitors for this spot given the availability of Ferran Torres, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Jadon Sancho and also the fact that Poland isn’t really an exceptionally strong team to pose a serious threat. However, Lewandowski has validated himself to be of a different metal altogether and time and time again he has come forth and led the forces of Bayern Munich in exquisite fashion.
Despite fiascos in a couple of early editions of the same tournament, a lot will be depending on their star-striker, Lewa as he will be riding into this contention on the back of one of his most prolific seasons. In fact, he was so towering this season that he went on to rattle Gerd Muller’s record that stood the test of time for fifty long years by scoring 41 goals. Since 2018, he has scored the highest number of goals at the club level with 141 goals coming from 134 games. His marauding instinct n the opposition box makes him an extremely menacing player to look forward to. If the Polish midfielders are able to string perfectly weighted passes onto the stride of this man, he can spell doom for any opposition.