Madrid maestro can carry his superb club form over to the international stage

I’M ASKING a lot of Cristiano Ronaldo here, but I think he has the ability to not only take Portugal to the latter stages, but be the tournament top scorer too.

Free-kick, dribble, header – or a tap in – there is no goal, too simple or spectacular, that Ronaldo cannot score. He has it all.

He’s shaken off the tag of being a big-match bottler and, since his last few years at Manchester United, the Portugal captain has been on the rampage, destroying defences in domestic, European and international football, amassing a huge tally of goals along the way.

He’s struck 32 times in 90 appearances for Portugal, but his scoring rate in qualifying was better than that with seven in eight games. And, as likely penalty taker, he will surely be among the goals here. Take Coral’s 14/1 for him to win the golden boot each-way, with the firm paying quarter the odds for the first four places.

Among the names Ronaldo is up against in the top scorer betting is Mario Gomez of Germany. The prolific striker is 9/1 favourite in the market, but I’m keen to look beyond him, with doubts about his ability to deliver when it really matters.

Robert Lewandowski, of Poland, has received much attention and he could be firmly in the running if he has a good group phase, which he is perfectly capable of against the defences of Russia, Greece and Czech Republic, but now 22/1 with Coral, the value has gone.

Karim Benzema will spearhead the France attack and he knows exactly how to find the back of the net, with 32 goals for Madrid last season. If France go as far as I think they will then he should be among the goals and is also worth backing each-way, at 12/1.