Lionel Messi already looks to have an unassailable lead following the release of the first ESM Golden Shoe standings of 2013, the FC Barcelona striker 22 points – or 11 goals – clear of his nearest rivals.
Messi's goal at the weekend took his Liga tally for the season to 29, though he needs 21 more if he is to match the 50-goal haul that won him the 2011/12 ESM Golden Shoe. At the moment Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the award in 2007/08 and 2010/11 and was runner-up last time out, is facing strong competition for second place. Indeed, he was fifth in the table until he scored twice in his side's 5-0 win at Valencia CF this weekend.
Those goals saw Ronaldo speed past the only surviving player from the 2012 spring-to-autumn campaigns in the listings, Arturas Rimkevičius. The FC Šiauliai man's 35 goals set a new record in Lithuania, and he credited playing futsal in the winter with having sharpened up his eye for goal.
A point behind Rimkevičius, are Liverpool FC's Luis Suárez and the UEFA Europa League's top scorer, Edinson Cavani of SSC Napoli, while the only other players on the leaderboard whose clubs will not be competing in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League this spring are Antonio Di Natale of Udinese Calcio and FK Austria Wien's Philipp Hosiner. Hosiner's 21-goal haul in the autumn included three hat-tricks. "I go to bed before midnight and always need my eight hours' sleep," said the 23-year-old as he explained his recipe for goals.
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 21 January
1 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 29 x 2 = 58
2 = Falcao (Club Atlético de Madrid) 18 x 2 = 36
2 = Robin van Persie (Manchester United FC) 18 x 2 = 36
2 = Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 18 x 2 = 36
5 - Arturas Rimkevičius (FC Šiauliai) 35 x 1 = 35*
6 = Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli) 16 x 2 = 32
6 = Luis Suárez (Liverpool FC) 16 x 2 = 32
8 - Philipp Hosiner (FK Austria Wien) 21 x 1.5 = 31.5
9 - Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain FC) 19 x 1.5 = 28.5
10 = Demba Ba (Newcastle United FC/Chelsea FC) 14 x 2 = 28
10 = Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan) 14 x 2 = 28
10 = Antonio Di Natale (Udinese Calcio) 14 x 2 = 28
Only the leading five countries – Spain, Italy, Germany, England and Portugal – in the UEFA rankings have two as their multiplier. This is to emphasise the difference in (international) performance level between clubs from those countries and those of other nations.
A player cannot play first in a summer league (e.g. Norway) and then in a winter league (e.g. Spain) and combine the points totals for each season.
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