Early Contenders to Be World Cup 2014 Top Scorers

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIJanuary 16, 2013

Early Contenders to Be World Cup 2014 Top Scorers

0 of 20

    Bleacher Report is taking a look at some early contenders to win the Golden Boot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    Players like David Villa, Diego Forlan and Robert Vittek were among the top scorers in the 2010 World Cup, but you never know who could top the charts. 

    Thomas Muller was a surprise winner thanks to the fact that he played one less game than David Villa. Wesley Sneijder, a midfielder, was close to winning as well.

    Players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been scoring in astounding fashion since the 2010 World Cup.

    It's also quite possible that other top players will hit their best form before the tournament begins.

    Here are some early contenders to be World Cup 2014 Top Scorers.

     

    *Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of ESPN Soccernet

Javier Hernandez (Mexico)

1 of 20

    Javier Hernandez has been in really good form for Manchester United this season, with 12 goals in 22 games.

    As reported by ESPN Soccernet, the Manchester United forward has vowed to continue improving, and that's a scary proposition for his opponents.

    He's expected to lead the line as part of an exciting, youthful Mexican squad. With the creativity of Marco Fabian, Giovani dos Santos and others behind him, there's a good chance of goals.

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

2 of 20

    Yes, Lionel Messi has not had much success in big international tournaments in recent times.

    That's partly down to inefficient coaching, tactics and not much help from his teammates.

    The Argentinian's otherworldly form in recent seasons makes him a certain contender to be a top scorer. 

    He hasn't been unstoppable for only Barcelona, either. Messi netted 12 goals in nine games for Argentina in all of 2012.

Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)

3 of 20

    Argentina have plenty of talent of attacking talent, but one player folks can bet on to match Lionel Messi in scoring is Gonzalo Higuain.

    The Real Madrid forward is a clinical finisher, and he, like Messi, has improved his goals-to-games ratio for the national side in recent times.

Robin Van Persie (Netherlands)

4 of 20

    Robin van Persie will have competition in the Netherlands national team for a starting spot.

    If he continues his current form for Manchester United though, he'll be starting, and he'll definitely be a contender for the Golden Boot.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands)

5 of 20

    Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's predatory instincts make him a danger to his opponents on any given day.

    He's on this list in case he gets the starting spot for the Netherlands when the 2014 World Cup rolls around.

    His strike rate for the national side is better than Robin van Persie's, but he has to get more game time to make the difference.

Demba Ba (Senegal)

6 of 20

    Demba Ba's form with Senegal has been nothing like what you would expect, considering his Premier League strike rate in recent seasons.

    Time is on his side to change that trend before the big show and should Senegal get there, Ba has a chance to make an impression.

    Ba's power and predatory instincts will serve him well in tight games. From what we've seen in his Chelsea career so far, he's not afraid of stepping up to a bigger stage.

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)

7 of 20

    Asamoah Gyan scored three goals in five games during the 2010 World Cup.

    Gyan did this after coming off a season with Rennes where he scored 13 goals in 30 games.

    He's considerably more prolific with his new club Al-Ain in the UAE, as he currently has 21 goals in 13 games (statistics courtesy of Soccerway.com).

    Will that guarantee goals? Not necessarily, but Gyan is the best bet for goals in the Ghana side, just as he was in 2010.

    A repeat performance could be in the making.

David Villa (Spain)

8 of 20

    David Villa is still Spain's best striker at the moment. Despite not being a regular, he has decent return of 10 goals in 22 games for Barcelona this season.

    Villa will have plenty of competition as usual for a starting berth for Spain, but one would bet on him keeping that spot and producing goals in the process.

Papiss Cisse (Senegal)

9 of 20

    Papiss Cisse has done much better internationally in the goals department than Demba Ba.

    He has 12 goals in 24 games for Senegal since his debut (statistics courtesy of footballdatabase.eu).

    He is likely to benefit from Ba's recent departure from Newcastle, and that could see a return form that he could carry throughout the 2013/14 season and into the World Cup.

Mario Mandzukic (Croatia)

10 of 20

    Mario Mandzukic was in great form during Euro 2012, scoring three goals in three games.

    He continued the scoring after a big move to Bayern Munich and currently has 11 goals in 21 games with his new club.

    Add in the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic providing the chances, and Mandzukic has a great chance of scoring goals.

Mario Balotelli (Italy)

11 of 20

    Mario Balotelli has all the physical tools necessary to be a great player.

    He showed up for Italy in a big way during Euro 2012, and there's a good chance he could do the same again at the 2014 World Cup.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)

12 of 20

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to get better with age. He's currently running rampant in France.

    Okay yes, it's Ligue 1, but still. He's doing it in style.

    Provided he doesn't decide to stop playing internationally, he will be Sweden's main threat in a year's time.

    If 2014 is his last hurrah, he'll want to go out with a bang. 

Mario Gomez (Germany)

13 of 20

    Germany are a team that can get goals from anywhere, but Mario Gomez is the purest striker in the squad.

    Miroslav Klose has been his main competition for years, but the Lazio striker will be 36 when the competition starts.

    The starting striker role should be Gomez's to lose, and he'll be looking to fire a strong German side to victory.

Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

14 of 20

    Edin Dzeko will be the dark horse for the Golden Boot should Bosnia and Herzegovina make it to the 2014 World Cup.

    Dzeko is the leading scorer—with five goals—in a side that leads European qualifying in goals scored with 15.

    He'll be able to put his Premier League title-winning experience to good use.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

15 of 20

    Cristiano Ronaldo will be one of the most watched players in the tournament. And with good reason.

    He can score all sorts of goals and is expected to do so no matter the opposition.

    Ronaldo will be the main source of goals for Portugal for the next few years, and if he continues his current form, he may be extremely hard to stop come tournament time.

Radamel Falcao (Colombia)

16 of 20

    Colombia have the looks of being a dangerous team for any opposition should they make it to the 2014 World Cup.

    Radamel Falcao is a big reason for this.

    Falcao is simply the best pure striker in the game right now and has really started to produce for Colombia, with five goals in six games in World Cup qualifying.

Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

17 of 20

    Luis Suarez is an electric player on the pitch and has shown some really good form for Liverpool this season.

    Suarez is a major part of Uruguay's attacking power, and if the national team wants a repeat of its semifinal appearance in 2010, he will have to chip in with goals.

Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)

18 of 20

    If Luis Suarez can't get it done for Uruguay, then Edinson Cavani can.

    Cavani has been a consistent performer for first Palermo and then Napoli in these last few seasons.

    His overall goal tally has increased in each season, and he looks set to continue that trend in 2012/13.

    The only negative is that, thanks to his great work rate and team attitude, he can get placed in positions where goals are hard to come by.

Neymar (Brazil)

19 of 20

    Neymar has plenty of trickery and flash, but the Santos forward has goals about him, too.

    There will be high expectations for the young Brazil forward in 2014, and playing in familiar surroundings may help him perform well.

    He has a pretty impressive ratio of 17 goals in 26 games for the national side and will continue to add to that in 2013.

Leandro Damiao (Brazil)

20 of 20

    Leandro Damiao has yet to really sparkle for the national side, but that shouldn't put folks off.

    Goals are his foremost concern, and his six goals in six Olympic games showcased an improvement in Selecao colors.

    Damiao has over a year to become as lethal in Brazil colors as he is at the club level, and he has the ability to do just that.