The European Golden Shoe race is beginning to hot up across Europe with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Liverpool’s talismanic forward Mohamed Salah leading the race
The battle for the European Golden Shoe is heating up with football’s attacking stars all eyeing the coveted price for the most lethal striker in Europe.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski bagged last year’s prize as he netted an all-time Bundesliga record of 41 goals in a single league campaign.
We take a look at the early runners and riders for the 2021/22 European Golden Shoe with their current league goals and points tallies.
1) Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich – 13 goals (26 points)
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If we had not lived through the era of Ronaldo and Messi, the goalscoring achievements of Lewandowski would have received much more of the praise they deserve.
A remarkable 585 goals in senior football across club and country, of which 23 have come this season in all competitions across just 17 appearances for Bayern Munich.
He beat the late Gerd Muller’s all-time Bundesliga record last year when he scored 41 goals in just 28 league starts.
A goal-getting phenomenon, who at 33 appears to be getting even better and will be hard to stop for this award.
2) Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – 10 goals (20)
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The Egyptian star may not have quite the same goal output as Lewandowski, but his all-round game makes many consider him as the current world’s best player.
10 of his 15 goals so far this season have come in the Premier League, where he is the top scorer and the talisman for one of Liverpool’s greatest ever teams.
Just as with the Ballon d’Or award, Salah will be a contender for every major award this year.
3) Ciro Immobile, Lazio – 10 goals (20)
The 2019/20 winner of the Golden Shoe when he scored 36 Serie A goals for Lazio, he is on course for similar numbers this campaign with 10 strikes in 11 league appearances.
Immobile helped Italy to this year’s European Championships and while he is not as high-profile as many other leading scorers on this list, he is deadly in front of goal and will be a contender for the prize.
4) Karim Benzema, Real Madrid – 10 goals (20)
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Another Ballon d’Or contender, Benzema has come into his own goal scoring element since Ronaldo left Real Madrid in 2018.
He has bagged 101 goals in less than three-and-a-half seasons since becoming the central striker, netting 14 times in 15 games this season – including 10 in La Liga.
Another golden oldie who is getting better with age.
5) Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund – 9 goals (18)
Another player who needs no introduction, with his nickname ‘The Terminator’ summing up his prolific nature in front goal.
He has scored 70 goals in 69 club appearances for Dortmund, although an injury is likely to keep him out until the New Year and may rule him out of winning this year’s Golden Shoe.
6) Giovanni Simeone, Hellas Verona – 9 goals (18)
The son of legendary Atletico Madrid boss Diego; Giovanni is now very much making a name for himself without leaning on his family history.
In his sixth Serie A season, this is currently his best with nine goals in 10 appearances since joining Verona on loan from Cagliari.
7) Patrik Schick, Bayer Leverkusen – 8 goals (16)
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Schick starred for Czech Republic this summer – netting 5 goals in Euro 2020 – and has carried that form into the club season.
His eight Bundesliga goals mean he is just one off last season’s tally and is hopeful of firing Bayer Leverkusen to a top two finish this term.
8) Dusan Vlahovic, Fiorentina – 8 goals (16)
Aged just 21, Serbian striker Vlahovic netted 21 goals last season for Fiorentina and is on course to do even better this term with eight in Serie A and 10 in all competitions.
The marksman has been linked with a Premier League move, perhaps unsurprisingly.
9) Anthony Modeste, Koln – 8 goals (16)
Yes Blackburn fans – this is the same player who failed to score in nine appearances on loan at Rovers in 2012!
He has enjoyed a strong upturn in fortunes since and has always find his best form at Bundesliga club Koln, where he has scored eight goals this term.
10) Gaetan Laborde, Rennes – 8 goals (16)
French striker Laborde caught the eye with his goal scoring exploits at Montpellier but he has accelerated that this year – bagging nine goals in all competitions across two clubs.
Ligue 1’s current top scorer and clear of any Paris Saint-Germain superstar.
11) Jonathan David, Lille – 8 goals (16)
The Canada international striker scored 13 Ligue 1 goals last season and is on course to surpass that with eight this term, having joined Lille from Gent in 2020.
Looks to be a future star for club and country.
And the big two?
Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United – 4 goals (8)
Ronaldo has actually scored more goals (five) in the Champions League this season than in the Premier League.
Having missed the first three league matches of the campaign, his goal return is still more than respectable and he is likely to become a contender for a leading scorer this term.
Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain – 0 goals (0)
All three of Messi’s goals for PSG have come in the Champions League with his Ligue 1 career not getting off to the ideal start.
Impacted by fitness issues and likely to be prioritised for European football, do not expect Messi to rack up big domestic numbers this campaign.