European Golden Shoe

What does the European Golden Shoe look like without penalties?

Ciro Immobile collected the award with 36 goals, but 14 were penalties? What if we looked at it differently?

5:00pm on Wednesday 5th August 2020
Martin Macdonald

Ciro Immobile's 36 goals in Serie A this season won him the European Golden Shoe for 2019/20, a superb achievement for a player who won the third capocannoniere award of his prolific career.

But, with 14 of those strikes coming from the penalty spot, more than any other player in Europe, it has raised the question of whether penalty kicks, a free shot at goal that is only offered to designated takers in each team, should be given the same kudos as goals from open play.

The purists would say a goal, is a goal, is a goal. But let's look at some other methods.


European Golden Shoe: Immobile's 36 goals wins the prize

What does the Premier League Golden Boot look like without penalties?

We'll look at which players would have won the award if:

1. Penalties are removed: Take any penalty goals out of the total.

2. Penalties given a weighting: We keep penalties in but we bring them down to a 0.5 weighting.

3. Non-Pen Goal P90: We utilise non-penalty goals per 90 minutes played, with a minimum of 2,000 minutes in Europe's top five leagues (explained below).

European Golden Shoe w/o penalties

No penalties

Robert Lewandowski3452958
Timo Werner2832550
Erling Haaland2912848.5
Ciro Immobile36142244
Danny Ings2212142
Shon Weissman3022842
Jean-Pierre Nsame3032740.5
Lionel Messi2552040
Raheem Sterling2002040
PE Aubameyang2222040

Taking penalties out of the equation altogether gives our Golden Shoe list a very different outlook from the final tally. Robert Lewandowski emerges as a clear winner, his 29 non-penalty goals a sensational total for one of Europe's top five leagues.

Timo Werner, after his exploits for RB Leipzig, moves into second position, while Erling Haaland, despite more than half of his goals coming for RB Salzburg in Austria, completes a Bundesliga top three.

Immobile's incredible season is given reward but caveated with the fact that just under 40% of his efforts came from the penalty spot.

Further down we see some love for players who scored prolifically in 1.5 weighting leagues and who didn't score penalties, such as Shon Weissman of Wolfsberg and Jean-Pierre Nsame of Young Boys.

European Golden Shoe w/ 0.5 penalty weightings

0.5 weighting

PlayerGoalsPensNon-PensPen WeightWeight
Robert Lewandowski3452931.563
Ciro Immobile3614222958
Timo Werner2832526.553
Cristiano Ronaldo31122550
Erling Haaland2912828.549.25
Lionel Messi2552022.545
Shon Weissman302282943.5
Danny Ings2212121.543
Jean-Pierre Nsame3032728.542.75
Jamie Vardy234192142
PE Aubameyang222202142

But it doesn't seem entirely fair to remove penalties altogether.

Using a 0.5 weighting for penalties, we still see Lewandowski reigning supreme, with a little more order restored to the nature of the list.

Immobile's penalties come back into the equation in a big way, but not as much as to skew the list towards his exploits from the spot. Ronaldo, missing from the top 10 when penalties are removed, comes roaring back here, slotting into fourth spot.

This method, on the face of it, seems to provide a fairer conclusion to prolific scorers who are able to score without the over-reliance on penalty kicks.

European Golden Shoe w/ NPG P90


PlayerGoalsPensNon-PensNPG P90
Robert Lewandowski345290.95
Timo Werner283250.80
Duvan Zapata181170.75
Raheem Sterling200200.68
Danny Ings221210.67
Jadon Sancho170170.67
Luis Suarez161150.67
Lionel Messi255200.63
Ciro Immobile3614220.62
Wissam Ben Yedder183150.62

Non-penalty goals P90 is a more difficult method. It makes it impossible to provide a goal weighting in such a scenario. Therefore using this statistics we have isolated just the top five leagues in Europe.

But in order to ensure we don't devalue the method, we have restricted the list to the top 10 scorers from each of the top five leagues who have played more than 2,000 minutes, and calculate their NPG P90.

Now obviously this method is hugely flawed; a Golden Shoe award can't be given to someone who scored less goals than others. But what it is, is a useful indication of the players who made the most impact with the minutes that were provided to them without bringing players into the equation that have played few minutes or could be a statistical anomaly.

Based on this we have an Interesting list; Lewandowski's amazing season is further solidified, while Werner is no slouch either and Chelsea fans can be excited about what they are getting.

New entry Duvan Zapata only just reached the 2,000 minute threshold due to injury and rotation at Atalanta, but his 0.75 non-penalty goals P90 is a cracking total that should be acknowledged.

Raheem Sterling - a perennial listee in the Premier League for non-penalty goals - also makes an appearance, as does Jadon Sancho and Luis Suarez, who played 2,000 minutes exactly in an injury-hit season, but still scored well when called upon.

Non-penalty goals P90 could in fact be used in the case of a tie-breaker, if two strikers have the same total, rather than sharing the award.


European Golden Shoe: Immobile's 36 goals wins the prize

What does the Premier League Golden Boot look like without penalties?

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