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The European Golden Shoe standings

Thursday 15th December 2016
The Golden Shoe is awarded to the best goalscorer, at the end of every season, competing in a top division European League. Between the three of them, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez have won the accolade on the last eight occasions. Here is how things stand this season.
Every player plying their trade in one of the European national leagues is eligible to win the Golden Shoe. The winner is determined by who accumulates the most points come the end of the season; goals are multiplied by factors, and the factor is given based on UEFA coefficients.

Players competing in the top five ranked leagues receive 2 points a goal, it's 1.5 points per goal for the leagues ranked 6-21, and 1 point per goal for the leagues ranked 22 and lower. Last season, Suarez scored 40 times for Barcelona, which earned the Uruguayan 80 points and the Golden Shoe trophy.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang currently sits top of this season's standings after finding the back of the net 15 times in just 13 appearances. Aubameyang has proven himself one of the best goalscorers in European football over the past two seasons, which saw the Borussia Dortmund striker named Bundesliga Player of the Year for 2015/16 and African Player of the Year in 2015.

Two relatively unknown quantities complete the top three in the standings: Russian striker Evgeni Kabaev and Albanian frontman Azdren Llullaku. Kabaev has scored 25 goals for Estonian side Sillamae Kalev this season, which is the most in Europe, but he only gets one point for each goal. While Llullaku has found the net 16 times in the Romanian league for Gaz Metan.

The next five players in the standings have all scored 12 times this season. Anthony Modeste ended with 15 goals in the Bundesliga last season and he's on target to beat that this campaign with Cologne. In Italy, Roma target man Edin Dzeko and Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi are both at the top of their game; the pair are renowned goalscorers in Serie A.
After a loss of form, Diego Costa is back to his best; the striker is playing a huge role for Chelsea and his 12 Premier League goals have come in just 15 games. Staying in London, Alexis Sanchez is Arsenal's main goal threat; he scored his 12th of the season Tuesday night and he has been one of the Premier League's top performers up to now this season.

Edinson Cavani has 16 goals in just 15 games; the Paris Saint-Germain striker would be leading the standings if Ligue 1 was ranked in the top five leagues by UEFA. Instead, Cavani's goals earn only 1.5 points, which puts him in the top 10 on the list. Also in the top 10 is Belarus international Vitali Rodionov, who has struck 15 times this campaign for his club, BATE Borisov.

Next up, with 11 goals each: Robert Lewandowski, Andrea Belotti, and Lionel Messi. Lewandowski finished last season as top scorer in the Bundesliga and he's in superb form once again. Torino youngster, Belotti, is attracting attention from some of Europe's biggest clubs after scoring 11 times in 14 Serie A games. After last winning the Golden Shoe in 2013, Messi remains in this season's race and the Argentine is looking to win the award for the fourth time in his career.

Also making the list are four players who don't possess a big reputation. Gerard Gohou has an impressive 22 goals in 28 games for his side from Kazakhstan, Kairat. Finland international Teemu Pukki has found the net 14 times for Brondby. On loan Porto striker Moussa Marega has ten goals for Vitoria Guimaraes; while in Belgium, Lukasz Teodorczyk has struck 13 for Anderlecht.
Completing the top 20 is Suarez, Sergio Aguero, and Cristiano Ronaldo - the usual suspects aiming to outscore everyone else. Suarez already has two Golden Shoes to his name, including last seasons. Although the Barcelona striker isn't at the peak of his powers, he still has ten goals this campaign, along with his South American compatriot, Aguero.

Aguero regularly demonstrates for Manchester City why he's regarded as one of the best goalscorers around. Finally, the 2016 Ballon d'Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid man has an unbelievable goalscoring record, which has previously earned him four Golden Shoe trophies, and he already has ten goals this season in La Liga.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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