Top class football is guaranteed whenever Europe's biggest heavyweights compete for continental glory. The current UEFA Champions League campaign has entered the knockout stage and the very best in the competition are beginning to rise to the top.
Erling Haaland was the top-scorer in last season’s campaign despite his team being knocked out at the quarter-final stage. Indeed, 15 goals have been enough to be called the highest goalscorer in each of the last five Champions League seasons and a similar return in 2022 could do so once again.
The elimination of Christopher Nkunku and RB Leipzig means Mohamed Salah is now the sole third-highest goalscorer in 2021/22 with seven goals. Hence, the best online bookies have helped us to evaluate the Golden Boot race for the ongoing campaign.
We will be going through the top contenders for the Champions League top scorer award.
Two of Europe's hottest strikers are battling atop the Champions League scoring charts as the Ajax forward leads with 10 goals and one assist after the group stage.
Haller became the first player to score four times on his Champions League debut since Marco van Basten as Ajax crushed Sporting 5-1 on matchday one.
The Ivorian has grabbed all the headlines in his maiden campaign in Europe’s top competition and his goal scoring exploits could continue well into the new-year should the Dutch side get on a good run into the knockout stages.
Ajax are in last-16 action against Benfica and will fancy their chances especially with a fit and firing Haller. The 27-year-old became the first player in UCL history to score in each of his first six matches and has already matched last season's top scorer, Haaland.
This season could well turn out to be a memorable one for the Dutch giants and Haller would be confident of hitting more goals after joining Cristiano Ronaldo as the only other person to score in all six group games.
The Bayern Munich marksman already has nine goals and two assists despite failing to score in the group finale against Barcelona.
Nevertheless, Lewandowski’s last UCL strike was a bicycle kick in the 2–1 away win against Dynamo Kiev as he became the first player to score in nine consecutive games in two separate Champions League campaigns.
Such is his dominance particularly in the last few seasons that Lionel Messi admitted the Pole deserved to win the Ballon d'Or in his 2021 acceptance speech for the award. And one cannot argue LewanGOALski deserves whatever individual award he gets due to the mere fact he is setting the benchmark for centre-forwards throughout the game.
Lewandowski is the first-ever player to win 21 successive Champions League games and the only man to hit over 80 goals in his first 100 games. He is undoubtedly the most efficient player in the UCL at the moment and will take some stopping from winning the competition and Golden Boot award.
The Portuguese superstar keeps going strong in the UCL with six goals in only five games which were all delivered emphatically in clutch fashion.
The last-gasp winner against Villarreal on Matchday 2 was followed by three crucial match-saving goals in the double-header against Atalanta. Ronaldo asserted Manchester United’s dependence on his goalscoring exploits with another late opener to seal last-16 qualification on Michael Carrick’s managerial debut.
Ronaldo is already the record appearance maker in the UCL and the top goalscorer in the history of football with over 800 goals. There is no doubting the pedigree of the man who has embodied the competition like no other and he has a realistic shot at the Golden Boot should United progress far in the competition.
The red-hot winger has also asserted his clinical goalscoring in Europe with seven goals in six games in arguably the Group of Death alongside Atlético Madrid, AC Milan and Porto.
Salah became the first Liverpool player to ever score in nine consecutive UCL games with his brace in a 3–2 win at Atlético Madrid. The modern-day hero is also Liverpool's record goalscorer in the competition after surpassing Steven Gerrard’s 30 goals.
Liverpool are having a memorable campaign and look primed for a seventh European crown as they are now the first English club to win all six group games in the competition's history. Salah will be an integral part of their progress into the latter stages of the competition and there is no doubt his goal tally should at least get into double figures.
The 29-year-old has been unstoppable so far and there will be few surprises if he proves so in the scoring charts come the end of the season.
The four-time Champions League winner has registered five goals and an assist in five games as he dragged Madrid to the top of a group consisting Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff Tiraspol. Benzema’s first strike of the campaign means he is the first player in history to score in 17 consecutive Champions League seasons.
Having scored Real Madrid's 1000th Champions League goal against Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday 4, Benzema is once again showing no signs of slowing down as he now shares the attacking burden with Vinícius Júnior. The Frenchman has been enjoying the form of his life in the last couple of years and is responsible for 20 goal involvements (13 goals, seven assists) in only 16 La Liga games this campaign.
Benzema is making a serious case as the best player in the world right now and a deep run in the Champions League will only offer a bigger stage to stake his claim. Needless to say, the 33-year-old’s ability to take hold of games within this supremely experienced side opens up the possibility of a thoroughly prolific run in the Champions League
By all standards, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has yet to hit his stride in Paris for many reasons following his sensational exit from Barcelona last summer.
However, Messi got off the mark in PSG colours with a trademark goal in matchday two’s blockbuster against Manchester City then followed it up with a brace against Leipzig.
Messi ended the group stage campaign with a fantastic brace against Club Brugge and is forging a deadly partnership with Kylian Mbappe.
A prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker, the Argentine has hit five goals in five games and meets one of his favourite opponents Real Madrid in the heavyweight tie of the last-16.
The two months before the knockout stage kicks off will give the 34-year-old ample time to settle further into his star-studded team, and he will have a chance to deliver more clutch moments as the competition rumbles on.
Four goals and six assists in six games underline his importance to the PSG cause as he is once again the leading marksman in their fantastic forward trio.
Mbappe memorably set up Messi’s first goal for PSG against Man City and has recorded a goal contribution in each UCL game so far. Simply put, this season’s Champions League hopes will rest majorly on the 22-year-old’s shoulders and there is no doubt he could be the leading goalscorer should they go all the way.
Mbappe is already the club’s top scorer this season and before the European campaign runs out he might as well be the leading man in Europe’s top competition.
This article was written in cooperation with Overlyzer