Euro 2016 is just around the corner and everybody is getting excited as the build up to 'England's best chance to win a tournament since 1966' starts to dominate the football pages and the newspapers.
Will England finally do it? Can they win the Euros for the first time? We certainly hope so, however, the purpose of this article is to see who we believe will end the tournament with the most goals to their name. It doesn't always end up with a player who's country have won the tournament in fact it is almost always somebody who failed to lift the famous trophy.
Players such as Mario Balotelli, Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool 'legend' Milan Baros are previous winners of the Golden Boot despite not winning the tournament, however, David Villa did manage to win it in Euro 2008 when Spain were victorious.
As said earlier, this article is aimed at presenting you with the facts and likely candidates for the Euro 2016 Golden Boot with a sneaky outsider thrown in for good measure so you are armed with all of the important facts and information when you decide to place your bet.
We have managed to narrow this particular list down to 6 players that are all capable of scoring goals based on how many goals they have scored for their club and country, how many goals they scored in qualifying and the opposition they scored their goals against.
If you haven't heard of this man then you must have been living under a rock for the last 5 years. Robert Lewandowski is an unbelievably talented striker who scores goals for fun. He's big and strong, with a reasonable amount of pace but most importantly he knows where the goal is, Lewandowski has to be a good tip to fill his boots this Summer, and if you follow him on the To Score Anytime markets for each match, you should be quid's in.Club Career
Since joining Bayern Munich on a free transfer in the summer of 2014, he has scored 42 goals in 58 appearances for them, including scoring 5 goals against Wolfsburg in just 8 minutes and 59 seconds after coming on at half time! That is scary stuff.International Career
Lewandowski regularly scores goals for his native Poland , he has 34 goals in 75 caps and was the top goalscorer in qualifying with 13 goals but who did he score those 13 goals against?
As you can see, only 2 of Lewandowski's goals came against teams that are ranked in the top 30 of the FIFA World Rankings with 6 of them coming against Gibraltar who are not even currently ranked by FIFA.
This man cannot stay out of the headlines, he's out of contract in the summer after telling PSG he would only sign a new deal if they replaced the Eiffel Tower with a statue of him.
There is sure to be a lot of interest in his signature from clubs all around the world and Sweden will consider themselves very lucky to have him.Club Career
Zlatan has had a lot of clubs including Malmo, Ajax, Inter, Milan, Barcelona and now PSG. He has managed to win the league title with every one of those clubs and currently has 105 goals in 117 games for PSG in back to back title winning seasons. Basically this guy is a winner and clearly has a knack for scoring goals.International Career
As it stands, Ibrahimovic has 62 goals in 112 caps for Sweden and is the nation's most prolific goalscorer, there will be a lot of expectation on his broad shoulders in Euro 2016 but I don't expect that it will bother him too much. He was the second highest goalscorer in qualifying with 11 goals. Let's analyse who he scored these goals against:
Now on the face of it Zlatan has also scored goals against lesser teams but they do say you can only beat what is in front of you and he scored against every team Sweden played against in qualifying at least once, with 3 coming in the 2 legged playoff against Denmark to eventually qualify.
Thomas Muller is a very gifted footballer, he is mainly used on the wing or in a number 10 role for Bayern and still manages to score goals, however he is often deployed up front for Germany due to their lack of a real, top class striker.Club Career
Muller is a product of Bayern's youth system and to date has managed to score 90 goals in 224 appearances for them, which is an impressive stat considering he has moved around a lot. He has also won 4 league titles with Bayern since breaking into the first team in the 2009/10 season.International Career
Muller has had a fantastic international career to date scoring 31 goals in 70 appearances for them, he was also part of the 2014 World Cup winning team and is a previous World Cup Golden boot winner. This man is well on course to beat Miroslav Klose's record of goals scored in World Cups. Muller, like his country of birth, is a tournament player and won player of the tournament in Euro 2012, he also scored 9 goals in qualifying which makes him the 3rd highest scorer. The opposition he scored his goals against were as follows:
Like Lewandowski, most of his goals came against terrible international teams such as Gibraltar and Liechtenstein with Scotland (Ranked 45) being the highest ranked team he scored against. The thing that Muller has going for him though is his performances in previous tournaments.
Artem Dzyuba is probably the least known footballer on this list. He plies his trade in Russia with Zenit St.Petersburg under former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas but has only been there since the Summer of 2015, before that he was at Spartak Moscow for his whole career. Definitely a late bloomer, he stands at 6ft 5 inches and is a strong, powerful striker that has burst through in recent years.Club Career
Like we said earlier, Dzyuba was at Spartak Moscow for his whole career before Zenit and now at 27 years old he seems to be finally showing what he can do. Previously at Spartak, he had only managed 26 goals in 126 appearances however since transferring to AVB's Zenit, he has scored 10 goals in 22 games which is an average you would want for your striker. This guy could be a dark horse in this competition as he was the 4th highest scorer in qualifying with 8 goals.International Career
Again, as Dzyuba was a late bloomer, he only has 16 international caps to his name, however, he has scored 8 goals. All of which came in qualifying. The only issue he is going to have at international level is that Russia only use one striker and at the moment that seems to be Alexandr Kokorin, but with the goals Dzyuba is scoring for club and country, can Leonid Slutskiy afford to leave him out?
Here are the teams that Dzyuba scored his 8 goals against:
As you can plainly see, most of Dzyuba's goals came against the lowest ranked team in the group, Liechtenstein. He also scored against Sweden and tournament football is a different kettle of fish. He clearly has talent but can Russia go far enough in the competition for him to win the Golden Boot? I suppose they are both linked to each other.
This may cause a stir but United captain Rooney is in fact Englands top goalscorer in qualifying, oh and did I forget to mention of all time? Rooney scored in 7 of England's 10 games during qualifying and has a great international record, however, his record in the big games is questionable.Club Career
Rooney signed for Manchester United on deadline day in 2004 and has since scored 177 goals in 362 games, making him one of the highest ever Premier League Goalscorers, add to that 5 league titles and a Champions League and you've got a born winner.International Career
Rooney is England's all time top goalscorer with 51 goals in 109 appearances. He was also Englands top scorer in qualifying with 7 goals. With the emergence of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane, some people are calling for Rooney not to be in the starting eleven against Russia on June 11th , however, it is doubtful that Roy Hodgson won't have his captain in the starting line-up, so is now the time Wayne improves his tournament goal scoring record? Here are the teams he scored against in qualifying:
Rooney's goals didn't come against particular difficult opposition apart from maybe Switzerland so there's not a great indication of how he would do against bigger teams, but if he can take that form into Euro 2016, I'm sure England will be happy.
Finally there is the outside bet, the dark horse, who didn't score ANY goals during qualifying!
Ok, so yes he didn't score any goals in qualifying but that is because he plays for France, who did not have to qualify due to the tournament being held there this year. Griezmann started as a winger but very quickly became a central striker, he can still play on the wing if asked to make way for Benzema by Didier Deschamps.Club Career
Griezmann first caught the eye playing on the left wing in La Liga for Real Sociedad, he impressed so much that in the summer of 2014 Diego Simeone brought him to Atletico Madrid and since then he has been on fire. Griezmann, to date, has scored 41 goals in 68 games for Atletico and has to be considered a massive threat for France.International Career
Griezmann obviously did not play any qualifying games for France, however he does have 7 goals in 24 appearances for them and with his direct style of play and pace, and goals at club level, he is a brilliant outside shout for the Golden Boot should you feel like taking a risk.
It was a close call but we feel that Thomas Muller is the best bet for the Golden Boot and is therefore our tip for the betting enthusiasts.
Muller's record in qualifying and previous tournaments for Germany has been nothing short of sensational, he already has a World Cup Golden Boot to his name and always comes very close to winning it. With the team mates he has around him to feed him the ball, Muller has to be the smart selection over Zlatan and Lewandowski.
So there you have it, Thomas Muller is our tip to win the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 at around odds of 8/1, got to be worth a cheeky £10 right?