The last player to win the Champions League Golden Boot outside of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was 2006/07 so they are the obvious places to go and Ronaldo makes appeal to get yet another Golden Boot. The Madrid marksman has now been saved for the coemption that matters by Zinedine Zidane and that strategy paid off in spades as he scored an incredible 10 goals against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Juventus to take them to the title.
He has put up tallies of 12-17-10-16-12 in the past 5 seasons, is sure to be targeted at this competition again, and can score in literally any fashion, so 4/1 appears very fair. His biggest danger is Lionel Messi, who has already hit the ground running in La Liga and who should fill his boots in a decent section outside of Juventus (who start slowly anyway), although Madrid have won three of the last four titles and would appear to be good choices to go further. He may also end up sharing goals with Luis Suarez too even if Neymar is now gone (and where will Ousmane Dembele slot in?).
Sharing the goals could be a rather common theme in the competition. Plenty of goals should be scored in mismatched group stages but the top contenders now have groups of forwards rather than one lone striker.
Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could all feed off eachother for PSG – who will fancy their chances of bagging a lot against Celtic and Anderlecht before they get into the knockouts. Gonzalo Higuain and Paolo Dybala have the same issue at Juventus, and Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Augero, whilst forming a positive partnership, could also share goals in a team that is overflowing with attackers too.
Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata has made a fine start to life at the bridge and is in a team that should only progress through the season, and he, along with Romelu Lukaku, were two of the most appealing options from the Premier League. Chelsea’s two fixtures against Atletico are a negative in this respect, however, so Lukaku might be the better option of the two as he is the focal point of a United side that has started well and appears to have more of an edge than last season.
Bayern have many potential sources of goals, but one clear target man and penalty taker in Robert Lewandowski, with the Pole fancied to push Messi and Ronaldo close again. He scored eight goals last year for Bayern – joint third best with Edison Cavani. Carlo Ancelotti appears to prefer him to Thomas Muller upfront and Celtic and Anderlecht ought to offer plenty of goals whilst PSG are hardly rock solid at the back. That could set him running and his knockout record is as good as any.
A team that attacks and attacks is a necessity for such awards so Napoli are an ideal team to look towards and Dries Mertens is an ideal candidate. He reaped the benefit of being converted to a false nine by Maurizio Sarri when Gonzalo Higuain’s replacement Arkadiusz Milik suffered a long-term injury and scored 28 goals for Napoli last season in Serie A and then 5 in European competition including the opener in their Last 16 tie against Real Madrid.
He’s already got three this season and he appears to be the forward of choice despite the return of Arkadiusz Milik to full fitness and there’s no defence in a competitive group that should Schalke any other side, so quotes ranging from 40 to 50/1 might be a good way to support Napoli long term.
3 pts Cristiano Ronaldo (4/1 general)
1 pt each/way Robert Lewandowski (8/1 general)
1 pt each/way Dries Mertens (50/1 Boylesports, Betfred)