There have been so many incredible forwards in Europe over the years, but who holds the record for most goals in a season?
Conventional football wisdom holds that scoring a goal is the most difficult thing to do on the pitch, so those who are adept at putting the ball in the back of the net are highly regarded.
Goals win games, as the saying goes, and it is therefore hardly surprising that football fans are infatuated with strikers, not to mention the scheming playmakers who serve up the goalscoring opportunities.
Every season, the top goalscorers are feted for their prowess and, in addition to national awards, there is a continental crown for the player who scores the most league goals in Europe.
Goal takes a look at the European Golden Shoe record tally of most league goals in a season as well as the players who have won the award most.
What is the European Golden Shoe record?
Lionel Messi’s 2011-12 tally of 50 is the record number of goals scored by a European Golden Shoe winner.
The Barcelona talisman reached that figure in 37 games, meaning his goals-per-game ratio was 1.35 in La Liga that season. Despite Messi’s goalscoring exploits in 2011-12, Barcelona did not win La Liga, with Real Madrid lifting the trophy on that occasion.
Cristiano Ronaldo, then playing for Madrid, trailed Messi by four goals in the same campaign, scoring 46. The Portugal phenomenon’s career-best of 48 goals, scored in 2014-15, is the second-highest tally posted by a Golden Shoe winner.
Messi actually appears twice in the top five of all-time Golden Shoe records, having won the award with 46 goals in 2012-13, the year after he hit a career-best 50 goals.
Dudu Georgescu scored 47 goals in 1976-77 for Dinamo Bucuresti, while Hector Yazalde produced a yield of 46 goals for Portuguese outfit Sporting in 1973-74.
Who has won the most European Golden Shoe awards?
Lionel Messi holds the record for the most European Golden Shoe awards, having collected six so far in his career.
The Argentine’s first accolade came in 2009-10, followed by further individual success in 2011-12, 2012-13, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
It will be little surprise to learn that Cristiano Ronaldo is the player who is closest to Messi in terms of Golden Shoe trophies in his cabinet, with four.
Ronaldo first won the award in 2007-08 while playing for Manchester United and his other three came during his time at Real Madrid. He shared the award in 2013-14 with Luis Suarez, who was then playing for Liverpool.
A collection of players have been Europe’s top scorer on two occasions, such as Thierry Henry, Gerd Muller and Eusebio. Others who have been the continent’s undisputed gilded goalscorer twice include Diego Forlan, Suarez, Ally McCoist, Mario Jardel, Dudu Georgescu and Fernando Gomes.