A History of European Golden Shoe Award + Winners List
Since all European leagues - even Turkish ones - are accounted for, it makes no difference for a player to play, say, in Bundesliga, Premier League, Serie A or whatever! What matters is the number of goals scored.
If you’re a football fan, you’ll probably know that the winner of the previous season’s European Golden Shoe was Lionel Messi. But, what about this season’s winner? Who will win 2019-20 edition of European Golden Shoe?
And this season’s European Golden Shoe Award goes to…!
That’s not yet decided, but it will be in a few days. For now Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich is leading with 34 goals and 68 points. Behind him is Ciro Immobile of Lazio with 31 goals and 62 points. We have still a few days left; let’s see what happens.
What is European Golden Shoe?
The award was first presented by the French magazine, L'Équipe, in 1967 and the first winner of it is Eusébio of Benfica with 42 goals. It was first called Soulier d'Or which means Golden Shoe in French.
A History of European Golden Shoe
As mentioned above, the first European Golden Shoe was awarded to Eusébio of Benfica with 42 goals in 1967-68 season. You may ask why we don’t say anything about the number of points Eusébio got. The answer is quite simple: There was no points system at that time.
The only thing mattered was the number of goals a footballer scored regardless of the tier or strength of the league he played in. That somehow seemed unjust after some time, because scoring a goal in a higher-tier league should be and is more difficult than the leagues in the lower tier.
Howerver, that system of ranking - with no points - actually was there for around 24 years and during that period - 1967 to 1991 - players like Eusébio, Gerd Müller, Dudu Georgescu and Fernando Gomes could each win the European Golden Shoe twice. The award was not presented between 1991 and 1996 following an argument from Cyprus Football Association.
They said a Cypriot player who had scored 40 goals should have been given the award, but he actually wasn’t. Maybe that was the turning point that proved only the number of goals scored were not important; it was also important in which league at what level and with what strength were they scored.
Points system for the European Golden Shoe Award
It was in 1996 that the points system came into effect, and from that time on it is European Sports Media, formerly known as European Sports Magazine, that awards the European Golden Boot.
The points system actually values the goals scored in higher-tier leagues more, and that means a player in a higher league could be the winner in the race for European Golden Shoe even with fewer goals scored.
However, that doesn’t come out of blue! There is a rule for it: Points are given based on UEFA coefficients. That means to calculate the points, goals scored in top five European leagues are multiplied by two, goals scored in the leagues that rank 6 to 21 based on UEFA coefficients are multiplied by 1.5, and any goal that has been scored in leagues ranking lower than 21 are not multiplied.
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For instance, if a player has scored 4 goals in one of the top five leagues, he gets 8 points, while a player, who has scored 5 goals in a league ranking between 6 and 21 gets only 7.5 points. As you can see, in this example, the player with fewer goals but in higher leagues ranks higher than the player with more goals in lower leagues.
One interesting fact you might like to know about the European Golden Shoe Award is that from the time the award is given based on points, only two players, namely Henrik Larsson in Scottish Premiership 2000-01 season and Mario Jardel in Portugal’s Primeira Liga 2001-02 season, have won the award from the leagues not in the top 5 European leagues.
And which are those top 5 leagues according to UEFA rankings? They are: LaLiga, the English Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, and Ligue 1. Top-tier leagues in the countries like Russia, Netherlands, Scotland, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, and Denmark rank between 6 and 21.
Please note that UEFA coefficients are based on UEFA rankings may change every five years, so the leagues’ positions may change based on the year UEFA has ranked them.
One more rule for this season’s edition of European Golden Shoe Award
Up until now, if two players got the same number of points, the European Golden Boot Award would be shared between them. But this also has changed from this season on: If two players get the same number of points, the player who has had fewer minutes on the pitch is the winner. Quite just! He has had less time to score than the other player, so he deserves more to receive the award.
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Players who should have been awarded the European Golden Shoe but they haven’t
As we already mentioned, between 1991 and 1996 no European Golden Boot was awarded. However, if you like to know which players scored the most number of goals in European leagues during this period, below is a list of them.
- Ally McCoist, League: Scottish Premiership, Team: Rangers, Goals Scored: 34 (1991-92 season)
- Ally McCoist, League: Scottish Premiership, Team: Rangers, Goals Scored: 34 (1992-93 season)
- David Taylor, League: League of Wales, Team: Porthmadog, Goals Scored: 43 (1993-94 season)
- Arsen Avetisyan, League: Armenia Premier League, Team: Homenetmen, Goals Scored: 39 (1994-95 season)
- Zviad Endeladze, League: Georgia Umaglesi Liga, Team: Margveti, Goals Scored: 40 (1995-96 season)
European Golden Shoe winners list (not based on points)
As already mentioned, European Golden Shoe was awarded to top scorers in European leagues between 1967 and 1991 regardless of the tier and strength of the league. What mattered was the number of goals. During this period, even players from Georgia and Turkey won the award.
Below is a list of players who have won the European Golden Boot Award between 1967 and 1991.
- 1967-68, Eusébio of Benfica, Goals: 42
- 1968-69, Petar Zhekov of CSKA Sofia, Goals: 36
- 1969-70, Gerd Müller of Bayern Munich, Goals: 38
- 1970-71, Josip Skoblar of Marseille, Goals: 44
- 1971-72, Gerd Müller of Bayern Munich, Goals: 40
- 1972-73, Eusébio of Benfica, Goals: 40
- 1973-74, Héctor Yazalde of Sporting, Goals: 46
- 1974-75, Dudu Georgescu of Dinamo București, Goals: 33
- 1975-76, Sotiris Kaiafas of Omonia Nicosia, Goals: 39
- 1976-77, Dudu Georgescu of Dinamo București, Goals: 47
- 1977-78, Hans Krankl of Rapid Wien, Goals: 41
- 1978-79, Kees Kist of Alkmaar Zaanstreek, Goals: 34
- 1979-80, Erwin Vandenbergh of Lierse, Goals: 39
- 1980-81, Georgi Slavkov of Botev Plovdiv, Goals: 31
- 1981-82, Wim Kieft of Ajax, Goals: 32
- 1982-83, Fernando Gomes of Porto, Goals: 36
- 1983-84, Ian Rush of Liverpool, Goals: 32
- 1984-85, Fernando Gomes of Porto, Goals: 39
- 1985-86, Marco van Basten of Ajax, Goals: 37
- 1986-87, Toni Polster of Austria Wien, Goals: 39
- 1987-88, Tanju Çolak of Galatasaray, Goals: 39
- 1988-89, Dorin Mateuț of Dinamo București, Goals: 43
- 1989-90, Hugo Sánchez of Real Madrid and Hristo Stoichkov of CSKA Sofia (shared), Goals: 38
- 1990-91, Darko Pančev of Red Star Belgrade, Goals: 34
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European Golden Shoe winners list (based on points)
And here comes the European Golden Shoe winners list from 1996 to this date. As already mentioned, from 1996 on, the European Golden Boot was awarded by European Sports Media based on points from UEFA coefficients.
Here is a list of players who have been the winners in the race for the European Golden Shoe.
- 1996-97, Ronaldo of Barcelona, Goals: 34, Points: 68
- 1997-98, Nikos Machlas of Vitesse, Goals: 34, Points: 68
- 1998-99, Mário Jardel of Porto, Goals: 36, Points: 72
- 1999-2000, Kevin Phillips of Sunderland, Goals: 30, Points: 60
- 2000-01, Henrik Larsson of Celtic, Goals: 35, Points: 52.5
- 2001-02, Mário Jardel of Sporting CP, Goals: 42, Points: 63
- 2002-03, Roy Makaay of Deportivo La Coruña, Goals: 29, Points: 58
- 2003-04, Thierry Henry of Arsenal, Goals: 30, Points: 60
- 2004-05, Thierry Henry of Arsenal and Diego Forlán of Villarreal (shared), Goals: 25, Points: 50
- 2005-06, Luca Toni of Fiorentina, Goals: 31, Points: 62
- 2006-07, Francesco Totti of Roma, Goals: 26, Points: 52
- 2007-08, Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, Goals: 31, Points: 62
- 2008-09, Diego Forlán of Atlético Madrid, Goals: 32, Points: 64
- 2009-10, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Goals: 34, Points: 68
- 2010-11, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, Goals: 40, Points: 80
- 2011-12, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Goals: 50, Points: 100
- 2012-13, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Goals: 46, Points: 92
- 2013-14, Luis Suárez of Liverpool and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid (shared), Goals: 31, points: 62
- 2014-15, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, Goals: 48, Points: 96
- 2015-16, Luis Suárez of Barcelona, Goals: 40, Points: 80
- 2016-17, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Goals: 37, Points: 74
- 2017-18, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Goals: 34, Points: 68
- 2018-19, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Goals: 36, Points: 72
Which players have won the most number of European Golden Shoes?
The Argentinian star, Lionel Messi, with 6 European Golden Shoe awards won so far is the leader, and behind him is Cristiano Ronaldo with 4 European Golden Shoes. No player has ever won the European Golden Shoe for three times, but there are a handful of players having won the award twice during their footballing careers.
These players include Diego Forlan of Uruguay in LaLiga 2004-05 and 2008-09 seasons - in the former season he shared the award with Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry of France in the Premier League 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, Mario Jardel of Brazil in Primeira Liga 1998-99 and 2001-02 seasons. These players have actually won the European Golden Shoe award when it was presented based on points.
And the Players who have won the European Golden Shoe based on goals and not points include Fernando Gomes of Portugal in Primeira Liga 1982-83 and 1984-85 seasons, Dudu Georgescu of Romania in 1976-77 and 1974-75 seasons of Liga 1, Eusebio of Portugal in 1967-68 and 1972-73 seasons of Primeira Liga, and finally, Gerd Muller of Germany in 1969-70 and 1971-72 seasons of Bundesliga.
From among the players who scored the most number of goals but didn’t receive any European Golden Shoe award between 1991 and 1996, only one player, namely Ally McCoist of Scotland, scored the most number of goals (34) in 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons of the Scottish Premiership, and could win the award if it was presented at all.
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Which players have won the most number of consecutive European Golden Shoes?
Again Lionel Messi of Argentina leads the way! The Argentinian star has won the European Golden Boot award in three consecutive seasons, namely 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons of LaLiga. And again, behind him is Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal who has won the award in two consecutive seasons: 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons of LaLiga, though he shares the former award with Luis Suarez of Liverpool.
And that’s all! No other footballer has ever won the European Golden Shoe Award consecutively. However, there are still players who have won the award almost consecutively. We mean there has been only one season in between the seasons in which they have won the award.
These players include Gerd Muller of Germany who won the award in 1969-70 and 1971-72 seasons of Bundesliga, Dudu Georgescu of Romania who won the award in 1976-77 and 1978-79 seasons of Romanian Liga 1, and Fernando Gomes of Portugal who won the award in 1982-83 and 1984-85 seasons of Primeira Liga.
Who is going to win 2019-20 edition of the European Golden Shoe award?
And for this season, Lionel Messi, who has won the most number of European Golden Shoe awards to this date, ranks fifth and shares his position with Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund with 25 goals scored and 50 points earned so far.
This season, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was always behind Messi, is in front of him with 30 goals scored and 60 points earned. However, he doesn’t top the list of this season’s top scorers.
In front of him are Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich with 34 goals scored and 68 points earned - he actually tops the list up until now, and Ciro Immobile of Lazio with 31 goals scored and 62 points earned - he ranks second.
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Here is a list of top 10 scorers in European leagues based on the number of points they have gained:
- Robert Lewandowsk of Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, Goals: 34, Points: 68
- Ciro Immobile of Lazio, Serie A, Goals: 31, Points: 62
- Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus, Serie A, Goals: 30, Points: 60
- Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, Bundesliga, Goals: 28, Points: 56
- Lionel Messi of Barcelona, LaLiga, Goals: 25, Points: 50
- Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, Goals: 29, Points: 50 (he scored some of his goals in Austrian Budnesliga which are multiplied by 1.5 based on UEFA coefficients)
- Jamie Vardy of Leicester City, Premier League, Goals: 23, Points: 46
- Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan, Serie A, Goals: 23, Points: 46
- Shon Weissman of Wolfsberg, Austrian Bundesliga, Goals: 30, Points: 45
- Jean-Pierre Nsame of Young Boys, Swiss Super League, Goals: 29, Points: 43.5
Why are only goals scored at league level counted?
The answer is quite simple: to remain just! In other words, the number of matches players have taken part in should be almost the same. We say “almost” because the number of teams in a league might differ from other leagues by a team or two.
That margin is tolerable, but if goals scored in other matches than league ones are counted, then the margin gets wider and no more tolerable.
In simpler words, the number of matches for each player - regardless of the fact that he actually has played in those matches or not - should be, by a little margin, equal to the number of matches for other players, so that each player has had equal amount of time to score.
What if goals scored through penalty kicks are not counted?
That’s a different story! The rankings will change especially for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but not for Robert Lewandowski. This actually shows the Polish forward has scored most of his goals not from the penalty spot but during the game process - he has only scored 5 goals from the Penalty Spot this season.
However, the case changes drastically for Cristiano Ronaldo, since the Portuguese star has scored around 40% of his goals from the Penalty Spot. So, if we just omit the goals he has scored from the Penalty Spot, he will plunge to the bottom of the list with 34 points.
The same case is for Lionel Messi. Also, if the goals scored from the Penalty Spot are not counted, new names, like Mohamed Salah, appear in the list.
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We have just done all the calculations regarding the omission of goals scored through penalty kicks and here are the results:
- Robert Lewandowski, 58 Points with 10 points not counted from 5 penalty kicks.
- Timo Werner, 50 points with 6 points not counted from 3 penalty kicks.
- Erling Haaland, 48.5 points with 1.5 points not counted from 1 penalty kick.
- Shon Weissman, 42 points with 3 points not counted from 2 penalty kicks.
- New Names: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Ings, 38 points
- Ciro Immobile, 36 points with 26 points not counted from 13 penalty kicks.
- Jamie Vardy, 36 points with 10 points not counted from 5 penalty kicks.
- New Names: Kylian Mbappe, Patson Daka, and Jean-Pierre Nsame, 36 points
- Cristiano Ronaldo, 34 points with 26 goals not counted from 13 penalty kicks.
- Lionel Messi, 34 points with 16 goals not counted from 8 penalty kicks.
- New Names: Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho, 34 points
- New Names: Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, 32 points
The most number of European Golden Shoes won by club
So far, we have discussed the players who have won the most number of European Golden Shoes. If we just count every European Golden Boot they have won for the clubs they have played for, the following results will come up.
These results actually show the clubs with the most number of European Golden Shoes won.
We have just mentioned 10 of these clubs for the sake of the list not getting too long.
- Barcelona, 8 European Golden Shoes from 3 players (Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and the Brazilian Ronaldo)
- Read Madrid, 4 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Cristiano Ronlado and Hugo Sánchez)
- Dinamo București, 3 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Dudu Georgescu and Dorin Mateuț)
- Porto, 3 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Fernando Gomes and Mário Jardel)
- Liverpool, 2 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Ian Rush and Luis Suarez)
- Ajax, 2 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Marco van Basten and Wim Kieft)
- Sporting CP, 2 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Mário Jardel and Héctor Yazalde)
- CSKA Sofia, 2 European Golden Shoes from 2 players (Petar Zhekov and Hristo Stoichkov)
- Arsenal, 2 European Golden Shoes from 1 player (Thierry Henry)
- Bayern Munich, 2 European Golden Shoes from 1 player (Gerd Müller)
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The most number of European Golden Shoes won by nationality
You might have guessed from the title that this is concerned with nationality of the players who have won the European Golden Shoe award. In fact, the following list tells you which nations have won the most number of European Golden Boots so far.
This list is also limited to ten nations for the sake of it not getting too long.
- Portugal, 8 European Golden Shoes by 3 players (Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Gomes, and Eusébio)
- Argentina, 7 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (Lionel Messi and Héctor Yazalde)
- Netherlands, 4 European Golden Shoes by 4 players (Kees Kist, Wim Kieft, Marco van Basten, and Roy Makaay)
- Uruguay, 4 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (Diego Forlán and Luis Suárez)
- Bulgaria, 3 European Golden Shoes by 3 players (Petar Zhekov, Georgi Slavkov, and Hristo Stoichkov)
- Romania, 3 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (Dudu Georgescu and Dorin Mateuț)
- Brazil, 3 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (Mário Jardel and Ronaldo)
- Austria, 2 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (Toni Polster and Hans Krankl)
- Italy, 2 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (Luca Toni and Francesco Totti)
- Wales, 2 European Golden Shoes by 2 players (David Taylor and Ian Rush)