4 Reasons Why Messi and Ronaldo Won’t Win the Golden Boot at the Qatar 2022 World Cup

The FIFA World Cup 2022 will begin on November 20 in Qatar. For the sport’s most experienced strikers, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Thomas Mueller, and Luis Suarez, this year’s World Cup could potentially be their last.

Over the past decade, Ronaldo and Messi have been the two most polarizing men in professional soccer, and they’ve caused continuous debates among critics and fans.

However, despite dominating the football world, neither has ever lifted a World Cup Golden Boot. Heading into Qatar, they’ll both be attempting to rectify this, but do they have what it takes?

FIFA Golden Boot Betting Odds  

The current World Cup 2022 Golden Boot future odds have Ronaldo and Messi positioned in the top 6.

Still, Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, and Neymar are the sportsbooks’ likely candidates and favorites to claim the coveted award.

  • Harry Kane [England] +650  
  • Kylian Mbappe [France] +850  
  • Karim Benzema [France] +1400  
  • Neymar [Brazil] +1400  
  • Cristiano Ronaldo [Portugal] +1600  
  • Lionel Messi [Argentina] +1800  
  • Romelu Lukaku [Belgium] +2100  
  • Vinicius Junior [Brazil] +2900  
  • Memphis Depay [Netherlands] +2900  
  • Lautaro Martinez [Argentina] +2900  
  • Gabriel Jesus [Brazil] +3400  

Odds courtesy of FanDuel

So, Ronaldo and Messi are two of the most decorated and accomplished players in the game… why aren’t they the favorites to win the Golden Boot in the 2022 World Cup and why won’t they achieve the award that’s eluded their respective careers?

1. Competing Against Youth  

Aged 35-years-old, Lionel Messi isn’t getting any younger, and aged 37, Cristiano Ronaldo is also reaching the latter stage of his professional soccer career. While both men have still delivered outstanding performances in recent years, there’s no denying that their output has slowed down, and their prime playing years are beyond them.

In the Golden Boot betting odds above, Messi and Ronaldo are the two oldest players on this list. This can be viewed as a testament to their skill level, but we must recognize that their name value rarely drops despite how well they are playing.

The top strikers competing in Qatar have youth, speed, recovery, and hunger on their side. Messi and Ronaldo have been through injuries and reached heights that have already etched their names into the history books, and I wonder how much desire they both possess compared to their younger counterparts.

2. The Elite Squads They Compete For  

Argentina and Portugal are brimming with up-and-coming talent and many players who’ll be looking to put their names on the map. A remarkable performance at the World Cup can dramatically increase a player’s stock, so Messi and Ronaldo will spearhead two squads with teammates attempting to outperform their mentors.

On average, six to eight goals would almost secure the golden boot for a player. In particular, Ronaldo will be up against this task, as he isn’t the lone Portuguese prolific goalscorer, with Diogo Jota and Joao Felix in the squad.

Likewise, Messi’s goal-scoring efforts could be challenged by the likes of:

  • Nicolas Gonzalez
  • Angel Correa
  • Lautaro Martinez
  • Julian Alvarez

To put it into perspective, the Argentine squad boasts strikers from Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Roma, Manchester City, Napoli, Ajax, Manchester United, and Juventus.

Ronaldo and Messi will likely share the spoil of goals scored for their respective team with the hungered teammates wanting to make their mark.

3. Domestic Form   

Liverpool’s Diogo Jota has already netted 13 goals in the Premier League this term, and through eight EPL matchdays, Ronaldo has scored none. If the domestic form is anything to go by, Jota will be Portugal’s highlight reel in Qatar, and Ronaldo will be nothing more than an experienced veteran guiding the ship.

While Ronaldo’s domestic form doesn’t give much hope for his Golden Boot chances, Messi has been in top form for Paris Saint Germain. With four goals and seven assists from nine games in Ligue 1, he’s undoubtedly heading into Qatar with a greater chance of scoring more goals than Ronaldo.

However, Messi’s domestic performance perils compared to his PSG teammates Neymar and Mbappe. Neymar has netted 10 goals, and Mbappe is on nine. As they’ll represent two of the World Cups outright winner betting favorites – Brazil and France – we must recognize that Messi’s Golden Boot chances are lowered while his PSG comrades are still present in the tournament.

4. The Competition  

France’s Mbappe has netted 27 international goals in 57 games, and as the defending World Cup winner returns to familiar territory, he’ll want to best the four goals he scored at Russia 2018.

Neymar (74 goals in 119 games) is on the brink of exceeding Pele’s record (74 goals). In soccer history, Pele is regarded as the best ever to lace up the boots, and for Neymar to break the Brazilian goal-scoring record would perhaps be a greater achievement than winning the Golden Boot.

In addition to his possible record-breaking moment, Neymar’s form this season has been exceptional, he’s the leading man for PSG, and although prime Messi could compete, today’s climate is slightly different.

Let’s not forget this year’s Champions League Golden Boot winner Karim Benzema or the current World Cup Golden Boot holder Karry Kane. Of course, the award will favor the strikers whose team can stay in the tournament the longest. Still, overall, the probability of Ronaldo or Messi outperforming this elite list of players is lower than in previous years.

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