The 2021/22 European Golden Shoe race is under way, with the continent’s most prolific goalscorers all vying to win one of football’s most prestigious individual awards.
Lewandowski scored an astonishing 41 league goals from 29 appearances, giving him 82 Golden Shoe points and the highest winning score since Ronaldo in 2014/15.
Keep an eye on this page throughout the 2021/22 season for regular updates on the European Golden Shoe standings.
2021/22 EUROPEAN GOLDEN SHOE STANDINGS
Robert Lewandowski is on the brink of winning back-to-back European Golden Shoe titles.
Lewandowski remains on course to score the most goals in Europe for 2021/22, having finished the league season with 35 goals to his name from 34 appearances.
Given the Bundesliga season is shorter than the other major divisions in Europe, Lewandowski is now finished while many of his rivals are yet to complete their top-flight campaigns.
But Lewandowski’s strike means he sits eight goals clear of his two closest rivals and the Poland star will surely be confident that he has built a sufficient advantage to secure European golden boot glory once more.
While he fell short of his historic 41-goal total last season, Lewandowski looks unlikely to be caught in the Golden Shoe race.
Having scored against Levante on May 12, the France forward now sits on 27 goals – the highest Primera Division total - and has been a challenger to Lewandowski in these standings for much of what has been a sublime campaign.
But having had recent rests against Atletico Madrid and Cadiz, he is being carefully managed by his team between now and the end of the season as the domestic title is already secured while a Champions League final against Liverpool sits on the horizon.
He had scored in four straight league matches before his goalless outing in the 2-0 win over Sampdoria on May 7 dealt a blow to his chances of continuing his late charge even before he had missed Monday’s match against Juventus through injury.
PSG star Kylian Mbappe scored in the comprehensive win over Montpellier and now has 25 top-flight goals this season, putting him top of the Ligue 1 standings. It has been a remarkable year for the World Cup winner, who also has 18 assists.
He is fourth, one goal clear of Leverkusen forward Patrik Schick, Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic – a scorer against Lazio in the game Immobile missed - and Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder, who surged up the standings with a hat-trick against Brest.
That trio are two ahead of the Premier League golden boot race leader, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who has netted on 22 occasions but is losing momentum of late, as well as outgoing Dortmund star Erling Haaland.
Haaland moved with Salah after scoring a farewell goal against Hertha.
Son Heung-min, Lautaro Martinez and Martin Terrier all have 21 goals apiece and are battling to finish inside the top 10 of the prestigious Golden Shoe standings as the league seasons across Europe draw to a close.
For the time being our table below tracking the European Golden Shoe standings will only list players from the top five European leagues, where the winner is most likely to emerge from.
2021/22 European Golden Shoe
|Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||35||70|
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid||27||54|
|Patrik Schick||Bayer Leverkusen||24||48|
|Wissam Ben Yedder||Monaco||24||48|
|Christopher Nkunku||RB Leipzig||20||40|
|Anthony Modeste||FC Koln||20||40|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Man Utd||18||36|
|Vinicius Junior||Real Madrid||17||34|
|Raul de Tomas||Espanyol||17||34|
Who are the previous European Golden Shoe winners?
Lionel Messi has won the most European Golden Shoe titles.
Nine players have two awards apiece, including Luis Suarez and Thierry Henry.
Messi holds the record for most goals and points in a season as well. He remarkably scored 50 goals in 2011/12, earning himself 100 points.
Ronaldo has come closest to breaking that, scoring 48 goals for 96 points when he last won the crown more than six years ago.
Argentina forward Messi is the only player in European Golden Shoe history to win the title three years in a row, doing so from 2016/17 until 2018/19.
Ronaldo, though, is one of only four players to have won the title with different clubs. The others are Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Mario Jardel.
Ligue 1 has not produced a winner since Josip Skoblar in 1971, a statistic the likes of Messi and Mbappe are hoping to change soon.
What are the European Golden Shoe rules and weightings?
Only league goals are eligible for the European Golden Shoe, with each strike earning points in a weighted system depending on the quality of league.
The five elite leagues - Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 - all carry a weighting of 2, meaning that a player will be awarded two points for every goal they score in these competitions.
For the leagues ranked sixth to 21 in Uefa's coefficients rankings - which includes the top-flights in Portugal, Netherlands and Russia - goals scored are given a weighting of 1.5, and goals scored in a league outwith the top 21 are given a weighting of 1.
That was not always the case in the European Golden Shoe. From 1968 until 1991, the award simply went to the highest goalscorer on the continent, regardless of the strength of league.
Awards were not initially handed out between 1991 until 1996, when the new system came into force. Since then, only two players playing outside what were the five highest-ranked leagues at the time have ever won the Golden Shoe - Henrik Larsson (2000/01) and Mario Jardel (2001/02).
The Golden Shoe has been tied in the past, most recently when Suarez and Ronaldo shared the honour in 2013/14. Going forward, though, the award will be given to the player who has played the fewest minutes if two of them end up on the same number of points.
This page covers the 2021/22 European Golden Shoe race.