World Cup 2014: Golden Boot contenders

By Francis Whittaker of IES | Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
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Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Ten candidates for the top scorer in Brazil this summer See Gallery

Many of the world’s top attacking players will be hoping to win not just the World Cup but also the Golden Boot award for the tournament’s top goal scorer.

One of the contenders is Argentina striker Lionel Messi (pictured) who may have a trophy cabinet full of Ballons d’Or but has never quite hit his best form for his country at a World Cup.

Click or swipe to discover his main rivals for the Golden Boot.

Filipe Amorim/Demotix/Corbis
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Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Messi’s long-time adversary Cristiano Ronaldo not only beat him to the most recent FIFA Ballon d’Or, he also pipped him to Spain’s Pipichi Trophy for top scorer in La Liga, after scoring 31 times in 30 games.

Jorge Adorno/Reuters
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Sergio Agüero (Argentina)

Messi’s Argentina team mate Sergio Agüero shouldn’t be written off. Despite missing chunks of Manchester City’s season through injury, he still managed to amass an impressive scoring record of 17 goals in 23 Premier League games and, now he’s fully fit, will be looking to replicate that in the World Cup.

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Neymar (Brazil)

If Brazil win the World Cup at home then it is likely that star strikr Neymar will have scored enough times to win the Golden Boot.

Although he scored only nine goals in 26 La Liga games for Barcelona this season, his four goals for Brazil during the 2013 Confederations Cup showed what he can do with a home crowd cheering him on.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters
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Luis Suárez (Uruguay)

If Uruguay can progress from a group that includes Italy and England, striker Luiz Suarez will have a good chance of winning the Golden Boot. His 31 goals in 33 matches for Liverpool made him the English Premier League's top scorer in 2013-14.

Paul White/AP Photo
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Diego Costa (Spain)

Spain's Fernando Torres was a top scorer at Euro2012 and the 2013 Confederations Cup but Diego Costa could be the Golden Boot winner this time.

He scored 27 goals for La Liga champions Atlético Madrid this season and, having decided to represent Spain rather than Brazil the country of his birth, he will have a lot of motivation to prove to local fans he made the right choice.

Sang Tan/AP Photo
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Ciro Immobile (Italy)

Italy have had some of the World Cup's best strikers, with players such as Toto Schillaci, Paolo Rossi and Roberto Baggio lighting up tournaments in recent years.

Hoping to follow them this year is Ciro Immobile who has just joined Borussia Dortmund after finishing the 2013-14 Serie A season as top scorer with 22 goals for Torino.

Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
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Gonzalo Higuaín (Argentina)

The third man in Argentina’s mighty three-pronged attack this summer shouldn’t be underestimated. Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuaín is an undeniably gifted player who topped the South American scoring charts with 9 goals during qualifying. Don’t bet against him finding the net more times than Messi or Agüero in Brazil.

Peter Dejong/AP Photo
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Robin van Persie (Netherlands)

Netherlands striker Robin van Persie was the top scorer in the UEFA qualifying section with 11 goals, which took his international total to 40 and beyond.

After a difficult season at Manchester United, he will be hoping to impress his club's new manager, Louis van Gaal, who is also in charge of the Dutch team.

Matthias Schrader/AP Photo
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Miroslav Klose (Germany)

Veteran Germany striker Miroslav Klose needs one more World Cup goal to equal Ronaldo’s all-time tournament goal scoring record of 15.

There’s a strong chance he’ll at least do that but could he win the Golden Boot award as well? He won it in 2006 and is the only striker in a German squad that should progress far in this tournament.