Champions League football returns to our screens this week. It’s hard not to be excited about it, especially with some of the groups that were drawn a couple of weeks ago.
We will see some European giants face-off before Christmas, which is something we have not always been treated to in Europe’s premier competition.
Rather than speculating about which Premier League team will make fools of themselves and which hipster-loved side will spring to stardom, we are here to talk goals.
No, not goals conceded by Claudio Bravo, but which individual will score more than any other in the Champions League in 2017/18.
Messi vs Ronaldo: Who Else?
There are two familiar names at the top of this market. Yes, it’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has netted five already this season, while Real Madrid are becoming less dependent on Ronaldo.
The two icons of a generation were drawn into relatively challenging groups. Boosting your numbers in the easier group matches is the best way to a Champions League golden boot, but Barcelona’s opponents of Juventus, Sporting and Olympiacos hardly offer a definite thrashing.
Real Madrid’s of Spurs, Borussia Dortmund and Apoel are similarly tricky, but Zinedine Zidane’s side are more likely to dominate than the dysfunctional Barcelona.
Both are priced at 5/1 at the time of writing. Given their group matches, Messi has to be the better value of the two, though.
Ronaldo could bag a hatful against Apoel, but Real Madrid are a more balanced side now and could even rest the Portuguese star if they qualify early. Messi, meanwhile, is more important to Barcelona than ever with Neymar gone...
Don't Rule Suarez Or Lewandowski Out
The next pair are similarly familiar faces. Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski are at 11/1, though Suarez only scored three in the Champions League last season.
Lewandowski will lead the line for one of the tournament favourites, and he is a great price to form a double for those backing Bayern to lift the trophy come 2018.
The Poland star is the best out and out striker on the planet. His Bayern side are still painstakingly reliant on the aged Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery to create, however, which may hamper his Golden Boot chances.
The fitness of Thiago and settling in of James Rodriguez will be huge for Bayern and Lewandowski. The former Dortmund man might take an early lead when Bayern face Anderlecht this week.
Paris Saint-Germain Trio Also In The Mix
The next three are the magical Paris Saint Germain attacking triumvirate. Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are at 13/1, 16/1 and 17/1 respectively.
Neymar’s price is the standout one there, even if the Brazilian drops into deeper positions between the lines to create for his fellow superstars.
PSG are a relatively unknown entity in the latter stages of the Champions League, but they could certainly bump their tallies up a bit against Celtic and Anderlecht.
The world’s most expensive player at 17/1 to top score in the Champions League looks great value, especially after his dazzling start under Unai Emery.
Dark Horses Lurking In Manchester?
A few other prices standout in this market. Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku is at 20/1. The Belgian is yet to prove his Champions League credentials, but has a favourable group, and is off to a flier domestically.
If Jose Mourinho is to mastermind the Red Devils to the latter rounds, Lukaku will need to be on the top of his game and could pick up a few even before Christmas. The concern of rotation with the returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an issue, though.
Secondly, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero are at 30/1 and 25/1 respectively. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will score goals, and they could score a fair few against Shakhtar Donetsk and Feyenoord.
As with Lukaku, rotation is a worry, but Guardiola HAS shown a willingness to incorporate both into the same starting line-up.
City are fancied by many to have a run deep into the Champions League this year, and we would expect Jesus or Aguero to find the net frequently if they are to do that.
Other bets worth considering for those who fancy a longer shot are Harry Kane (50/1), Alvaro Morata (40/1) and Dries Mertens (70/1).