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Euro 2020: The Golden Boot contenders

We run the rule over some of the leading contenders for the top-scorer award.

Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated Jun 10th 2021, 9:30 PM

Kylian Mbappé, France

A genuine superstar of the game, Mbappé has enjoyed another fine campaign with PSG, scoring 27 goals in 31 Ligue 1 appearances and bagging another eight in 10 Champions League games.

France are favourites to win the Euros but have been placed in a potentially challenging group alongside Germany, Hungary and Portugal, and while the 22-year-old could light the tournament up – as he did at the 2018 World Cup – Mbappé isn’t quite as prolific at international level. His minutes per goal average for Les Bleus is 181 minutes, compared to 89 minutes for PSG last season.

And while goals aren’t likely to be an issue for Didier Deschamps’ side they won’t be heavily relying on Mbappé, who has plenty of firepower around him – Antoine Griezmann won the Golden Boot at Euro 2016, while the recalled Karim Benzema adds a new dimension to Les Blues’ attack.

Robert Lewandowski, Poland

There’s few better finishers in the game, and when it comes to out-and-out strikers, Lewandowski has set the benchmark in recent seasons as his numbers continue to soar. The Bayern Munich striker recently set a new Bundesliga record of 41 goals in a season, so heads into the tournament in lethal form. 

However, Poland aren’t Bayern Munich, and the 33-year-old could end up feeding off scraps in a group that contains Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. Lewandowski has also struggled at major tournaments in the past – scoring two goals in eight games at the European Championships, and none across 270 minutes of football at the 2018 World Cup.

With a new manager, Paolo Sousa, at the helm, it’s hard to know what to expect from Poland, but Lewandowski will be determined to have a strong tournament as he looks to finally seal the Ballon d’Or.

Harry Kane, England

Not only is Kane one of the best finishers around, he’s also hoping to convince the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea that he’s worth the €100million-plus it would likely take to prize him out of Daniel Levy’s mitts. 

At 27, the Tottenham striker is in his prime and boasts an impressive record at international level – with 34 goals in 54 appearances. As the focal point of an energetic, attacking England side, Kane – golden boot winner at the 2018 World Cup – should get plenty of chances in front of goal in a group that sees England play Croatia, Czech Republic, and Scotland. If football’s coming home, Kane will have a major say.

Romelu Lukaku, Belgium

Lukaku, 28, is already Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer with 60 goals in 93 games. He enjoyed an excellent season with Inter Milan, scoring 30 goals across 44 games in all competitions as Inter powered to a first Serie A title since 2010. 

Belgium will expect to top a group that includes Denmark, Finland and Russia, with ambitions of going deep into the tournament, and in Lukaku they have a player with a proven record on the big stage. Lukaku has registered seven goals in 15 games at major international tournaments to date.

Worryingly for Lukaku, though, while he’s in the form of his life Eden Hazard has had a miserable year with Real Madrid and Kevin de Bruyne is nursing a serious facial injury suffered during Manchester City’s Champions League final loss to Chelsea, which is set to keep him out of the opener against Russia. Lukaku has the potential to run riot, but he won’t be able to do it on his own. 

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Ciro Immobile, Italy 

An outside bet, but we’re big fans of Immobile, who certainly has the ability to shine over the next couple of weeks. The Lazio forward scored 20 Serie A goals this season – 16 down on his return for 2019/20 – and should fancy his chances of building on another strong campaign in a group that pits Italy against Wales, Turkey and Switzerland.

However, the 31-year-old has often struggled to bring his excellent club form to the international stage, with a return of just 13 goals in 46 appearances. Manager Roberto Mancini is expected to keep faith in the mercurial striker, and if he hits his stride, it could be a big summer for Italian football.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Not the majestic force of old, but still going strong. Ronaldo netted 36 goals in 44 games for Juventus this season, but hasn’t been as prolific with Portugal over the last two years.

An interesting group awaits, with Portugal taking on France, Germany and Hungary. It’s also worth noting that Ronaldo is reportedly on the lookout for a new club this summer, meaning the tournament offers a perfect stage to remind any potential suitors of his worth. Ronaldo is still Portugal’s main man, but they will be hoping the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota – who appears to be favoured over Jaoa Felix – can ease some of the goalscoring burden.

Honourable mentions: Memphis Depay (Netherlands), Karim Benzema (France), Alexander Isak (Sweden). 

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About the author:

Ciarán Kennedy

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