The race for the 2020/21 Golden Shoe is heating up with some of the best forwards around the world aiming to finish as the leading goalscorer across Europe’s top divisions.
Lazio striker Ciro Immobile won the accolade for the first time last season with 36 goals and 72 points, but he has a tough task of replicating the feat with only 13 goals scored at the midway stage of the Serie A campaign.
Here are our top candidates to win the European Golden Boot this season.
Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich – 24 goals (48 points) : The Poland international was in stunning form last season and he netted 55 goals in all competitions, 34 of which came in the Bundesliga.
He has been disadvantaged by the fact that the German top-flight has only 34 games per season when compared to the usual 38 in other elite European leagues.
However, he is determined to win the award for the first time this season and has already netted 24 times in just 18 league games, eight ahead of his next competitor in the list across Europe.
He was a big favourite to win the Ballon d’Or last year before the ceremony was called off amid the coronavirus pandemic. He should be one of the front-runners for the prestigious award this year.
Andre Silva – Eintracht Frankfurt – 16 goals (32 points) : The Portugal international has turned his career around since his move to Eintracht Frankfurt from AC Milan, where he struggled to find his feet.
Silva has been the second-best goalscorer in the league with 16 goals and that has recently helped his team jump into the fourth spot in the Bundesliga.
At the moment, it appears that Lewandowski is the clear favourite for the Golden Shoe, but stranger things have happened in the past and there is still plenty of the season left.
Silva has been in stunning form of late, having scored braces in three of the previous five league games. Frankfurt will be hoping that his form can guide them to the Champions League for the first time in six decades.
Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund – 14 goals (28 points) : The 20-year-old is widely regarded as the second-best striker in the German top-flight behind Bayern’s Lewandowski.
At the start of the season, Haaland was backed to help Dortmund close the gap on Hansi Flick’s side and potentially end their eight-year dominance in the Bundesliga.
That has not happened with Bayern running away with the title once again. Haaland has missed five league games this term due to injuries, but he has still bagged a credible tally of 14 goals from as many matches.
The Norwegian is far off from Lewandowski’s tally, but he has a terrific scoring record and could catch up with the Pole. Haaland’s best display came at Hertha, where he scored a stunning quadruple in the second half.
Rest of Europe:
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – 15 goals (30 points): Salah recently became the first Reds player to register 20 or more goals for four seasons on the bounce since the legendary Ian Rush in the 1980s.
In the Premier League, he has netted 15 goals this term, which is three more than the joint second-best in Harry Kane and Heung-min Son of Tottenham Hotspur.
The Merseyside outfit have experienced a tough season compared to recent years, but they are still with a good chance of defending their title with a four-point deficit to leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
Salah recently went through a difficult phase with a five-match goalless streak, but he has since netted four goals in just three matches. He may be peaking at the right time as the Reds look to close the gap to the top.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus – 15 goals (30 points): The Portuguese has shown no signs of slowing down. At 35, he remains one of the best in the business and has accumulated 15 goals in the Serie A this term.
The Bianconeri are going through one of their toughest campaigns in a decade and they are currently seven points behind AC Milan with a game in hand.
Ronaldo has not won the award since the 2014/15 season with Real Madrid where he netted a staggering 48 goals in La Liga. He is no longer in the same phase of his career, but is still a world-class striker.
The nine-goal deficit to Lewandowski could be hard to catch up and his main focus could be on the Ballon d’Or which has eluded him since 2017. For that, Ronaldo will need a strong second half to the season and Champions League glory could be key.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona – 12 goals (24 points): The six-time Ballon d’Or winner had won the Golden Boot award for four seasons on the trot before Immobile broke the streak last term.
Messi was desperate to leave the Blaugrana last summer, but a move never materialised after the Catalan giants made it clear that he would not leave unless the staggering €700m buy-out clause on his contract was triggered.
At present, he has just five months left on his deal, but that has not hampered his performances on the field. Messi recently bagged his 650th career goal with a stunning vintage free-kick in the 2-1 triumph over Athletic Bilbao.
He has recently picked up form with five goals in the last three league games for the Blaugrana, who are 10 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, having played a game more. The club have experienced an average campaign by their high standards, but Messi continues to keep flourishing.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com