Supercomputer predicts favourites for Euro 2024 Golden Boot

Supercomputer predicts favourites for Euro 2024 Golden Boot
Supercomputer predicts favourites for Euro 2024 Golden Boot

What do Alan Shearer, Milan Baros and Cristiano Ronaldo have in common? They are all European Championship Golden Boot winners.

The fact that none of the aforementioned trio went on to win the competition in the year they topped the goalscoring charts shows that claiming the Golden Boot at a major tournament is no guarantee of team success, but it certainly doesn't hinder a nation's chances of glory.

At Euro 2024 this summer, some of the world's greatest forwards will be vying for the accolade, hoping that their ruthlessness in front of goal can fire their country to the crown.

Here are the favourites for the Euro 2024 Golden Boot award.

5. Jude Bellingham

Having crowned a remarkable debut season at Real Madrid with the Champions League title, England fans are praying Jude Bellingham can pack his incredible performances in his suitcase before departing for Germany this summer.

The midfielder, who will likely operate as a number 10 for the Three Lions, is among the bookies' favourites to claim the Golden Boot award despite not playing as a centre-forward.

The fact Bellingham has managed just three goals for his country so far suggests this may be slightly wishful thinking, but his red hot form and technical brilliance means it's tough to bet against him.

He seldom featured at Euro 2020 as England suffered heartbreak in the final at Wembley, but he did pop up with a goal and an assist at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Despite regularly facing criticism for his technical ability, Romelu Lukaku has never struggled putting the ball in the net for Belgium. Well, maybe a little during his cameos at the 2022 World Cup, but he is generally ruthless.

He has produced over 80 goals for Belgium during a prolific international career, often finding himself in the right place at the right time. Of course, it helps having Kevin De Bruyne conjure up chance after chance.

His record in Euro 2024 qualifying was truly astonishing. He netted 14 times in just eight matches - a new record for a Euros qualifying campaign. At Euro 2020, he also found the net regularly, bagging four goals in five matches.

Belgium's 'golden generation' may be fading, but Lukaku is still a machine up top.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been a Golden Boot winner in the past. He won the accolade at Euro 2020 despite Portugal only reaching the last 16, scoring five times in four matches - Patrik Schick also scored five at the tournament but lost out on the award due to a lack of assists.

Given he's international football's greatest ever goalscorer, Ronaldo is always capable of going on a hot streak at a major tournament, even if his powers are waning slightly at the grand old age of 39.

Regardless, Portugal have been handed a fairly tame group at Euro 2024 featuring Czechia, Turkey and debutants Georgia. Team this with an influx of creative magicians in and around Ronaldo in the Portugal squad and the former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker could claim a hatful.

2. Harry Kane

Harry Kane has produced 63 goals in 91 games for England, yet still doesn't have a trophy to show for it. In fact, it was his penalty miss at the 2022 World Cup that proved costly, even if he had provided a goal and three assists up until that point in Qatar.

He also bagged himself a Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup with six goals in as many matches - including five in his opening two games - and remains the first name on the England team sheet. That won't change in Germany.

Having sparkled in the early stages of past World Cups, it was the latter part of Euro 2020 when Kane came alive. He netted four goals in the knockouts having blanked in the group stage, breaking his duck against Germany in the round of 16.

A similar peak would be welcomed this time around.

1. Kylian Mbappe

If one forward strikes fear into opposition defenders more than any other, it's Kylian Mbappe. The electric Frenchman missed the decisive penalty at Euro 2020 that saw France exit in the last 16 to Switzerland, but he more than made up for it with his 2022 World Cup display.

Mbappe claimed the Golden Boot in Qatar with eight goals in seven matches, leapfrogging eventual tournament winner Lionel Messi with a hat-trick in the final defeat to Argentina. If he manages those numbers at Euro 2024, France will be unstoppable.

Now a Real Madrid player, it will be interesting to see where Didier Deschamps utilises his prized asset. The 25-year-old is best suited coming in off the left flank and should feature in that role, even if he can prosper as a number nine.

Regardless of where he plays, he's scoring goals - and probably more than anyone else.