With another season of football close to reaching the annals of history, competition for the European Golden Boot is about as hot as it has been in years. Most of the top European leagues still have a pool of two or three players vying for their respective domestic accolade, though one league seems to be all but done and dusted as far as the top scorer charts go.
Alexandre Lacazette of Olympique Lyonnais seems to have the Ligue 1 award all but sewn up, with 25 strikes to his name this season – some way off of second placed André-Pierre Gignac, with 18. With only five games left of the league season, Lacazette would need to just about draw all blanks with Gignac going on a rich run of goalscoring form to see the French boot heading anywhere other than Stade de Gerland in a few short weeks’ time.
The Premier League sees Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane sitting alongside Man City counterpart Sergio Aguero on 20 goals each, but with Tottenham still on the chase for a European spot – as opposed to Man City looking good for fourth place at least – one could argue that there will be more expectant eyes on Kane between now and the end of the campaign. He certainly seems to have more to play for, both personally and for his club, but Aguero still needs to do his bit to help ensure City at least reach next season’s Champions League qualifiers. With Chelsea’s Diego Costa still to fire his side over the finishing line to the title the Spaniard could yet trump the pair to the Premier League Golden Boot as he sits just a single goal behind on 19.
The Bundesliga is a closer race, with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Alexander Meier leading the charts with 19 goals, but he has Bayern Munich’s former Chelsea star Arjen Robben breathing down his neck on 17 – just one ahead of team-mate Robert Lewandowski’s 16. Meier’s standing as present leader is all the more impressive given his club’s standing smack bang in the middle of the league table – meaning that on paper they are likely to face a more stern run-in than league leaders Bayern, and so Robben and Lewandowski will surely fancy their chances of toppling Meier by the end of the season. Whether they work together to get to the top of the charts, of course, remains to be seen! Bayer travel to third placed Leverkusen on 2 May, and that appears their most challenging assignment remaining.
Travelling across to Italy, the Serie A still has four names in with a considerable shout for the award, with the top four scorers in the league sitting within three goals of each other. Juventus star Carlos Tévez leads the way with 18, but a quick glance over the Argentine’s shoulder reveals Jérémy Menez and Mauro Icardi (of AC Milan and Inter respectively) almost keeping pace with 16 each, with Luca Toni (Verona) just a step behind on 15. This one seems just about the most open race of the lot, though our next league is even closer.
The cream of the crop, however, rests in Spain’s La Liga – where a truly epic battle for the domestic Golden Boot – and indeed the continental award too – is being directly contested between arguably the world’s two best players. Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid leads the way with a whopping 39 – a total which would almost guarantee him the award, but for the presence of a certain Argentinian in the rival Barcelona squad going by the name of Lionel Messi, who has 35.
While this gap between the top two is only bettered by the race in France, Ronaldo and Messi have both proven themselves capable of scoring goals for fun at times this season, and so this one could yet still go either way. One thing seems pretty sure though – whoever claims the Golden Boot in Spain will win the European accolade too.