European Golden Shoe also known as European Golden Boot; probably you know that’s an award given to the top-scoring player among all European leagues, both major and minor. You may want to know what is the history of European Golden Shoe or who has won it the most; if so, stay with us!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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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.
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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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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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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.