Knack of the Bet: Cristiano Ronaldo going for gold in Brazil
In a new satirical section, Back of the Net’s John Foster takes a sideways look at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. While the odds are very real, he may have taken some artistic licence elsewhere.
With the 2014 World Cup just days away, it’s time to take a close look at the candidates to be the tournament’s top scorer. In just over a month, a new hero will be leaving Brazil with the coveted Golden Boot, assuming 2010 winner Thomas Müller remembers to bring it with him.
Lionel Messi (8.00 with Intertops.eu to end the tournament as top scorer)
Leo Messi has scored just twenty-one goals in his past twenty-three international appearances, leading many to wonder if he will ever be effective for Argentina. The 26-year old is yet to score at a World Cup, having been underused in 2006 by José Pekerman and mistrusted in 2010 by Diego Maradona, who thought Messi was a mystical forest spirit only he could see. Most pundits agree that the Barcelona star cannot truly be considered El Diego’s heir until he shoots a journalist with an air rifle.
Neymar (11.00 with AllYouBet.ag)
Brazil’s golden boy will be carrying the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, despite Hulk’s objections that Hulk’s shoulders would be far better suited to the task. Neymar hasn’t quite set the world alight at Barcelona, having got as far as Xavi’s jacket and Cesc Fabregas’ pants before being told to stop it, and much will depend on whether he can respond to being called ‘the New Pelé’ in the same way that Pelé did in 1958 after being dubbed ‘the Old Neymar’.
Cristiano Ronaldo (15.00 with Intertops.eu)
The Portugal captain will be desperate to display the World Cup Golden Boot next to his Premier League Golden Boot, his Ballon d’Or, his other Ballon d’Or, his three UEFA Golden Shoes, his golden tamarind monkey, and the bust of his own head made from solid gold. It was widely reported last week that Ronaldo had been cursed by a Ghanaian witch doctor, who told him that he would achieve great fame and wealth but never get past the twelfth-level boss in Assassin’s Creed IV.
Fernando Torres (34.00 with AllYouBet.ag)
The Chelsea frontman is having a miserable 2014, following a poor 2013, a bad 2012, and an unsuccessful two-year period before that. He has been included in the Spain squad thanks to his tendency to be top scorer at international tournaments, a record that stretches back nearly two tournaments. Vicente Del Bosque’s side is likely to line up without a recognized striker, a role that Torres has made his own.
Wayne Rooney (41.00 with Intertops.eu)
England’s main offensive weapon has struggled for goals recently, though he continues to be offensive and is clearly a bit of a weapon. The Manchester United man has a tendency to get overheated in big matches, and when playing for England, and in the heat, so expect strike partner Danny Welbeck to take to the field carrying buckets of ice-cold water. Rooney may also be hampered by a massive luxury hamper featuring a selection of cured meats and rich, creamy cheeses, a pre-tournament gift from the Uruguayan FA.
Josip Drmic (3.75 with AllYouBet.ag to finish as Switzerland’s top scorer)
Swiss striker Drmic became a household name at Nürnberg this season despite a crippling lack of vowels. The 21-year old owes his success to a relentless work rate and a lethal instinct for goal, and also to his faithful companion Khyrax, a giant eagle who carries off defenders with her vicious eight-inch talons and consumes them on the stadium roof. Khyrax picked up a beak injury in Switzerland’s friendly with Peru, and Ottmar Hitzfeld will be praying she recovers in time to terrorize the Ecuadorian back four.
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