Copa America 2021: Who will win the race for the Golden Boot?

The world's oldest international soccer competition is underway. Question is, who will top the score charts and take home the Golden Boot?

Neymar Jr.

Although he narrowly missed out on another league title with PSG, Neymar once again posted impressive numbers this season with 17 goals and 11 assists across all competitions.

Despite the disappointment in Paris, the 29-year-old was left with little time to dwell on his domestic shortcomings as he swiftly turned his attention towards the 2021 Copa America.

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Given his recent form in the yellow and green of Canarinho, it's hard to look past Neymar as one of the favourites to be crowned the tournament's top scorer.

His 4th minute goal in Brazil's 2-0 victory over Paraguay was his 11th overall in the World Cup qualifiers, drawing him level with Zico and Romario as the country's all-time top goalscorer in that stage of the competition.

In addition, the Sao Paulo native has already hit the ground running in the tournament's opening fixture, scoring a goal and providing a key assist as Brazil breezed past Venezuela.

With 67 goals and counting for his country, Neymar will be hoping to increase this tally in what could be a sensational summer for the Brazilians.

He is priced at 4/1 to be crowned the winner of the Golden Boot.

Lionel Messi

Having won all there is to win at club level, a major international trophy continues to elude the Barcelona talisman as the cherry on a greatly decorated cake.

Lionel Messi in action against Chile
Lionel Messi in action against Chile

A three-time runner up in the competition, Messi has scored on nine occasions in the Copa America and will hope to propel his side towards lifting the trophy.

With four goals and two assists in his last ten appearances for La Albiceleste, the forward must rekindle the fine form that saw him crowned as his country's all-time leading goalscorer.

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In Argentina's opening game against Chile, he sensationally gave his side the lead with a trademark free kick to get off the mark in emphatic fashion.

Messi is 7/2 to finish as the tournament's top scorer.

Luis Suarez

Following his release from Barcelona - and subsequent questions over his viability as a world class striker - Luis Suarez has emphatically proved his doubters wrong.

Uruguay's Luis Suarez has already tasted Copa America glory
Uruguay's Luis Suarez has already tasted Copa America glory

Bouncing back from his Catalonian cold shoulder, the Uruguayan striker was a pivotal cog in an Atletico Madrid side that secured their first La Liga title in seven years. What's more, the forward bagged 21 goals and recorded three assists for Los Culchoneros.

His prolificity isn't just limited to the domestic stage. The 34-year-old leads Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan as his country's top scorer with 62 goals in 116 games and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

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Additionally, the Atletico Madrid man enjoys a decorated record in the Copa America, with six goals and three assists in ten previous appearances. He scored a crucial goal to capture the trophy for his country in 2011, as they defeated Paraguay 3-0 in the final.

Ten years on from his triumph in the tournament, Suarez is just as prolific, determined and controversial as he was a decade ago, and undeniably possesses all the ability to emulate his previous success.

Suarez is 9/1 to score the most goals in the tournament.

Lautaro Martinez

Another Argentinian in with a serious shout of capturing the crown is Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez.

The forward enjoyed a sensational season in Serie A, forming a lethal partnership with Belgium's Romelu Lukaku. He returned 19 goals and 11 assists in 48 appearances for I Nerazzurri as they marched towards the league title.

Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring for Inter Milan
Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring for Inter Milan

Despite not always being a regular starter in Abiceleste's set up - having recently been omitted from their 2018 World Cup squad - he has a respectable record for his country in the 21 times he has featured, with 11 goals and three assists to his name.

As a result, a majority of the Argentina faithful are confident the Milan man can fire them to their first victory in the tournament since 1993.

Martinez is 9/1 to hold aloft the Golden Boot in July.

Gabriel Barbosa

Lovingly dubbed 'Gabigol' in his native country, Barbosa was instrumental in inspiring Flamengo to their second successive Brazilian league title.

Gabriel Barbosa celebrates scoring a goal against Venezuela in Brazil's 2021 Copa America opener
Gabriel Barbosa celebrates scoring a goal against Venezuela in Brazil's 2021 Copa America opener

After an impressive spell at boyhood club Santos, Barbosa meteorically came under the spotlight when he secured a sensational switch to Italian giants Inter. But in the end, he failed to ever establish himself at the Milan outfit.

Upon his return to his native country with spells at Santos and current club Flamengo, Barbosa's prolific goal record has spoken for itself. A total of 62 goals in 84 appearances for the Rio outfit deservedly propelled him towards selection for his country.

Despite only having one goal in nine appearances for Canarinho, Barbosa's exceptional form at club level has re-asserted him as one of the country's most lethal strikers and this will undeniably filter through at international level.

Alongside Neymar and Marquinhos, he opened his campaign for the tournament in perfect fashion, scoring the final goal of their aforementioned 3-0 victory in Brasilia.

Gabigol is 12/1 to win the Golden Boot and assert himself for his country once and for all.

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