Date: 3rd June 2021 at 6:32pm
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Excitement is building ahead of this summer’s Euros, with international tournament football returning for the first time since the 2018 World Cup in Russia for European nations. 

Expectations are high for England ahead of the competition after impressive displays in the previous World Cup and Nations League campaigns.

With fans split on who will win the competition, talk has also turned to the individual awards with such a plethora of talent on show.

From Gerd Muller to Alan Shearer and Michel Platini to Fernando Torres, a number of the game’s most revered stars have taken home the tournament’s prestigious Golden Boot award.

Will this summer see one of the big names scoop the award, or will an outsider outscore the lot of them?

Below is a list of 5 favourites to take home the award…

Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal

In what may well be Ronaldo’s last international tournament, the 36-year-old will be keen to prove once again that age is just a number when you are arguably the world’s best goalscorer. Tournament holders Portugal, who beat France in the final in 2016, go into this summer’s showpiece with arguably their strongest ever squad and could be something of a dark horse. The Juventus star was forced off with an injury in the final five years ago, but could he be back with a vengeance this time around? With the likes of Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva surrounding him, Ronaldo won’t be short of chances, but could the ‘group of death’ with France, Germany and Hungary prove costly for CR7?

Harry Kane – England

Fresh from scooping both the Premier League’s top scorer and top assister awards and sparking chaos by reportedly telling Tottenham he wants to leave, England’s captain goes into the tournament carrying the hopes of a nation quite heavily on his back as the bookies’ favourite to win the Golden Boot. A tally of six was enough to see him become only the second ever Englishman to win the World Cup’s equivalent award in 2018, and with fixtures against Scotland and Czech Republic in the group stages, and England one of the favourites to go all the way, Kane should have plenty of opportunities to do what he does best. Alan Shearer was the last England player to win the award at Euro ’96 on home soil and, with the semi-finals and final to be played at Wembley, could it be a good omen for the Tottenham striker?

Kane won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Kylian Mbappe – France

Widely regarded as the heir to football’s throne, Mbappe’s goalscoring record since bursting onto the scene with Monaco in 2016 is remarkable. The 22-year-old has scored 132 goals in 177 games since joining Paris Saint-Germain and boats an impressive record of 17 goals, including one in the 2018 final, in 43 appearances for his country. With only two of France, Portugal and Germany guaranteed a spot on the last 16, Group F promises arguably the best entertainment of the group stages, and Mbappe will face Ronaldo in the final round of fixtures with the game potentially deciding who qualifies and who exits.

Romelu Lukaku – Belgium

After disappointing performances at the last World Cup and Euros, Belgium could see this summer’s tournament as the final roll of the dice for their ‘golden generation’. While the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Lukaku and Youri Tielemans will still be around for next year’s World Cup, the country’s ageing defence of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Thomas Vermaelen may well be out of the picture. Lukaku could hardly be in better form going into the tournament, having scored 24 goals on the way to Inter Milan’s first Serie A title in a decade. With De Bruyne behind him and the likes of Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard around him, Lukaku will relish Belgium’s group games against Finland, Denmark and Russia. However, could Roberto Martinez’ side come unstuck in the knockout stages once again?

Robert Lewandowski – Poland

Undoubtedly an outsider for the award, rival players and supporters alike would be foolish to overlook the threat of Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich striker broke the record for the most goals in a single Bundesliga campaign this season with 41, previously held by Gerd Muller, and looked unstoppable for the entirety of the campaign. Poland face Spain, Sweden and Slovakia in Group E and, if they can navigate their way to the knockout stages, Lewandowski’s attacking threat could hurt the tournament’s big boys. With an outstanding record of 66 goals in 118 games internationally, Lewandowski will be looking to fire his country past the group stages for just the second time in their history.

With just over a week until the tournament kicks off, both excitement and nervousness are building ahead of what promises to be an entertaining month from start to finish. With such an array of attacking talent on show, who will write themselves into their homeland’s folklore?

 
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