Ronaldo will play a maximum of seven games but for that to happen Portugal must reach the semi-finals at least. As Messi’s country, Argentina, are more likely to progress to that stage he looks the player to back in this market. Rooney’s team England have a tough group which means he may only play three matches in the tournament.
At the last tournament in South Africa three players scored five goals and that was enough to share the honour. In seven finals between 1978 and 1994 the leading goalscorer scored six goals. Since 1978 Ronaldo of Brazil scored the most goals to win the Golden Boot, eight in 2002. That means it looks like a player will need to score about one goal per game to win this year’s prize.
Over the course of his club career Ronaldo has scored 369 goals in 563 matches, which is a remarkable return at the highest level. He has played 110 times for Portugal and scored 49 goals so will need to improve his rate in international football to win the 2014 Golden Boot. However, on average he has scored more than one goal per game for Real Madrid.
Portugal beat Sweden in the play-offs for the competition in Brazil. In the second leg Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and he was the main reason that his country qualified. In Zlatan Ibrahimovic Sweden have another world class striker but he misses the finals because his country were eliminated by a Ronaldo inspired Portugal.
Messi won the prize for the best player in the world for four seasons before Ronaldo received the honour this year. The Barcelona player is another prolific scorer and looks like playing in more matches than Ronaldo in Brazil this summer. Argentina are potential world champions and Messi will play in all seven matches for his country.
Messi’s overall scoring record is not quite as good as that of Ronaldo but his strike rate is marginally more impressive. He has played 83 matches for Argentina and scored 37 goals so his average is good for nothing outstanding. He has scored 240 goals in 272 matches wearing the shirt of Barcelona.
Given another five years injury free Rooney will overhaul Bobby Charlton as the leading goalscorer for England and Manchester United. However, he has played in two world finals without scoring a goal. England are unlikely to win the world championships which means Ronaldo and Messi are better bets to win the Golden Boot in Brazil this summer.