The Race for the European Golden Shoe

The race for the Golden Shoe is officially on and the competition is hotting up nicely. It’s an accolade that has been heavily dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the last decade, each having won the award four times, but this season things tighter at the top than usual.

 

 

Many of the world’s top strikers are in contention to win the Golden Shoe, with the likes of Cavani, Kane and Lewandowski all near the top of the standings. There are also a couple of surprise faces near the top of the charts, including Brazilian veteran Jonas, now of Benfica, who is right hot on the heels of the leading pack. The latter has scored the most goals than anyone else in Europe this season, however due to him playing in a league deemed less challenging, he only receives 1.5 points per goal, instead of all the others who receive 2.

 

So, who is set to take the Soulier d’Or this season?

 

Edinson Cavani

 

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24 Goals (48 Points)

 

Ever since Zlatan left PSG for Manchester United, Edinson Cavani has excelled in being the predominant goal source for the French Champions. His movement off the ball is second to none and he constantly knows how to find pockets of space, even in the tightest of areas, which makes him a constant goal threat. With PSG now out of the Champions League, and Neymar suffering an injury that means a decent spell on the sidelines, Cavani can focus on banging them in in Ligue 1 (including penalties).

 

Harry Kane

 

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24 Goals (48 Points)

 

What a few years it’s been for the Spurs man – he finished as Europe’s top scorer in 2017, and surpassed Alan Shearer’s record for the amount of goals scored in the Premier League calendar year. Kane’s continued his form this season, after a slow start (by his standards), however it looks as though he’ll miss out on this season’s award, due to an ankle injury picked up against Bournemouth this weekend. He suffered a similar fate at the start of last term, which saw sidelined the striker for almost two months. It’s unlikely he’ll return in time to compete for the Golden Shoe come the end of the season. But England fans are hoping to see him back fit for the World Cup in June.

 

Ciro Immobile

 

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24 Goals (48 Points)

 

Immobile spearheads the Lazio attack and has been prolific in front of goal for the last two seasons. Unfortunately we won’t see Immobile at the World Cup but his form for Lazio has played a key role in them mounting a real challenge to make Serie A’s top four. The way he’s playing, it doesn’t look like the goals are going to dry up so don’t be shocked if he hits the 35 mark this season! He’s currently on 34 goals in 36 games across all competitions.

 

Mo Salah

 

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24 Goals (48 Points)

 

Arguably the signing of the season, we have run out of superlatives for Mo Salah. He’s thrived under Jurgen Klopp’s style of play and created a formidable partnership with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. It could be argued that Salah should be closer to 30 goal, given the amount of chances he’s spurned but that shouldn’t take anything away from the wonderful season he is having. Seven of Liverpool’s remaining eight fixtures are against teams in the bottom half of the table, notably West Brom and Crystal Palace who are scrapping in the relegation battle, so this may be a brilliant opportunity for Salah to sneak ahead of the other strikers.

 

Lionel Messi

 

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24 Goals (48 Points)

 

Admittedly, due to his own ridiculous standards, he’s not having a ‘Messi-like’ season in front of goal per se, yet the maestro has still been amongst the goals and will be the favourite to claim a fifth Golden Shoe. Barcelona have got some tough fixtures before the end of the season, including an El Classico, as well as matches against Sevilla and Celta Vigo, however, this is one of the greatest players of all time and no one will be shocked if Messi hits the 40 mark in the league even at this late stage in the season.

 

Jonas

 

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31 Goals (46.5 Points)

 

What a fantastic season Jonas is having in Portugal – he has been banging them in for Benfica and is the first man to reach the 30 mark. He currently boasts a strike rate of over a goal a game for Rui Vitoria’s side in the Primeira Liga and there’s no reason to suggest this scintillating form will come to a halt before the end of the season. Unfortunately for him, his goals only count for 1.5 points, so he will need to seriously outscore his opponents if he wants to win but he’s definitely worth an outside bet.

 

Robert Lewandowski

 

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23 Goals (46 Points)

 

Lewandowski’s form over the last few seasons has been sensational. He’s a constant goal threat and is deservedly talked about as one of the world’s best strikers. He’s hit the 30 goal mark in the last two Bundesliga campaigns and if he manages it for a third time, the Golden Shoe may just be his. Bayern Munich are prone to hammering sides within the division, yet they do have to play RB Leipzig, Dortmund and Leverkusen to play so it will be interesting to see his final talley.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

 

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18 Goals (36 Points)

 

Ronaldo is currently on for his worst ever goal return for Los Blancos since he joined them in 2009 and endured an uncharacteristically slow start in La Liga. However, somewhat like he did last year, he’s hit a rich vein of form at a crucial point in Real Madrid’s season, scoring on a regular basis and at vital moments. He’s six goals behind the top scorers but if anyone can make up that gap, it’s Ronaldo.

 

Our predicted Golden Shoe winner? Ciro Immobile

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