Who are the early frontrunners for the 2020/2021 European Golden Shoe race?

Who are the early frontrunners for the 2020/2021 European Golden Shoe race?

Fans tend to bemoan the international break, most of them even have a tough time admitting that the Nations League is better than casual friendlies, but they do offer a nice pause in the season. One that offers time for reflection and to draw the line on the season and see what's coming before the January transfer window. An always interesting aspect of the campaign is the race for the European Golden Shoe.

Last season, Ciro Immobile won it and became the first man not named Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, or Luis Suarez to win it since 2010. Also, the first man to win it in Serie A since Francesco Totti in 2006/2007. The Italian striker scored 36 goals for Lazio last season in the league, winning over the unanimous best player of the season Robert Lewandowski who had 34 goals in a shorter league.

With CR7 getting his 35-year-old self to 31 goals in Serie A. So who are the early frontrunners for the prestigious Golden Shoe award in the 2020/2021 season?

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - 11 goals

Shorter season or not, Robert Lewandowski is gunning for that award that has been eluding a world-class striker so far. The Pole has scored amazing 11 goals in six Bundesliga matches or a goal every 41.54 minutes! Lewa scored a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt, two against Arminia Bielefeld, and four against Hertha already once again showing his ability to absolutely dismantle teams.

The Bundesliga top scorer award seems a lock for the fourth time in a row and sixth time overall but Lewa will have to battle through the handicap of 34 games per season. To become the first player to win the European Golden Shoe in the Bundesliga after Gerd Muller who did it twice scoring 38 and 40 goals in the same number of matches.

The rest of the Bundesliga sharpshooters are already lagging behind, including the young prodigy Erling Haaland who is most likely to be the first behind Lewa in Germany. Scoring six so far, Norweigan is on Par with Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric but behind Lucas Alario of Bayer Leverkusen who amounted to seven.

Boulaye Dia (Reims) - 8 goals

Last season saw Reims have the best defence in the league and wider with the keeper Predrag Rajkovic keeping 12 clean sheets in 27 games. Now, the squad has the best scorer in the league, Boulaye Dia with eight goals in as many matches. The 24-year-old got a hat-trick in the demolition of Montpellier and two in the 4:4 draw with Lens, getting on the scoresheet against Monaco, Rennes, and Metz too. He already bested his own record from the last season when he got seven in 24 matches.

Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) - 7 goals

Almost inevitable, Kylian Mbappe has had injury issues in this season but that didn't stop him from being the second-best goalscorer in France. The youngster was already the best in the league in the 2018/2019 season with 29 goals in 33 matches and so far he has seven goals in six games. The title of the Ligue 1 top scorer is his to lose not just because he shared it last year for the cut-short campaign.

Wissam Ben-Yedder (Monaco) - 6 goals

Last season, the French forward Wissam Ben Yedder was a breath of fresh air in the league with 18 goals in 26 games. Sharing the chipped award for the league's top scorer with Mbappe who got to the equal tally in six games fewer. Former Sevilla man started this year with six goals in 10 matches, five of which have been the first for his team in the game.

Mikel Oyerzabal (Real Sociedad) - 6 goals

With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo La Liga definitely lost on a lot of weight but the Pichichi battle also suffered, although that's not the only variable. Mikel Oyarzabal has the top of the table so far with six goals for Real Sociedad in nine games and the 23-year-old left-winger most likely won't keep up the pace.

Following Oyarzabal are the Atletico Madrid hopefuls Luis Suarez and Joao Felix with five each. The Uruguayan already won the Pichichi trophy once and the Golden Shoe twice (sharing it once with Cristiano) while the Portuguese youngster would justify the invested money in him without a shadow of a doubt with a feat of getting the top scorer spot in Spain, let alone Europe.

Paco Alcacer of Villarreal has started to find his form more consistently and has already scored five goals but the mentioned three, plus Karim Benzema and Leo Messi, are more likely to come in front of him.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) - 8 goals

Yet another world-class, historic striker similar to Lewandowski who definitely deserves to have a Golden Shoe but had the misfortune of competing in the Messi-Ronaldo era. But with 39 years, Ibra is pushing strong to right that wrong. He already got 38 goals in the 2015/2016 season for PSG but that's when Suarez scored 40 in La Liga. Yet, time seems to be somehow working for the charismatic, crafty lion. As Jose Mourinho himself noted.

"A 40-year-old footballer is not as strong as a 20 or 30-year-old player. Unless it's Ibra."

Ibra already got eight goals. In five matches. Getting two against city rivals Inter, two against Roma, and two against Bologna. Once again, he is 39.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) - 6 goals

Another veteran on the list, Cristiano Ronaldo got to play only 290 minutes of Serie A football due to his Covid-19 issues but already scored six goals. He could've gotten more but he hit the woodwork and was unlucky with some excellent attempts against Lazio. CR7 scored twice against Roma and Spezia while getting one against the other team from Rome and Sampdoria.

Andrea Belotti (Torino) - 6 goals

Defending the youth's honour is the 26-year-old Andrea Belotti whose best record in the league came in the 2016/2017 season when he scored 26 league goals. Now, the robust striker has six in seven games, all with the captain's armband over his sleeve. Atalanta and Cagliari conceded two from Belotti, while Sassuolo and Lazio got one. The last time a player from a mid-reputation side won the Golden Shoe was in the 2005/2006 season when Luca Toni did it with 31 goals for Fiorentina.

Last season's winner Ciro Immobile has so far scored three goals in five matches as his Lazio is struggling to find last season's form. 

Unusually, it's the Premier League that has had the most prolific goalscorers this season so far. While it's usually a division where even 20 goals can bring you the top goalscorer's trophy.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) - 8 goals

The biggest surprise on the list of PL goalscorers is Everton's front man Dominic Calvert-Lewin who even got the England call-up due to his form. Eight goals in as many matches with a hat-trick against WBA being the highlight so far. The Toffees are slowing down so it's hard to see DCL at the top of the European Golden Shoe race by the end of the season yet he has already achieved a lot.

Mo Salah (Liverpool) - 8 goals

Scoring only 19 in Liverpool's long-awaited title-winning season, Mo Salah is gunning from the start in the 2020/2021 campaign. Although his charge of eight goals in eight games is most likely to be stifled with the positive covid-19 test that will most likely keep him from playing in some games. Considering LFC's defensive injury woes, the Egyptian will have to be miraculous and reach Golden Shoe numbers to give the Reds hope.

Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) - 8 goals

Already coming very close to his last season’s tally of 11 Premier League goals, Son Heung-min has fired up eight goals this season already. Most of them to assists of the club captain Harry Kane even though, formation-wise, the Englishman is up front and ahead of the Korean. But Kane has been dropping down towards the centre of the pitch and leaving space for wingers to run on. Son's best tally in England is 14 goals and it seems he is bound to break it.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) - 8 goals

Last season's top goalscorer with 23 finishes Jamie Vardy is not looking to slow down in a league that's not forgiving for men well in their thirties. Vardy's best tally so far in the Premier League is 24 and the Englishman has already bagged eight goals in seven games this season so he might even break it as teams are playing more risky and trying to exploit the open season.

Patrick Bamford (Leeds United) - 7 goals

The least-intimidating name on the list but if anyone can make a player coming from the second-league in a newly-promoted side win the Golden Shoe, it's Marcelo Bielsa. Bamford has scored a hat-trick against the high-flying Aston Villa and has had a goal wrongly ruled off. With Leeds already playing five games with 5+ goals, Bamford will have the chance to make a name for himself like no striker in Europe.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) - 7 goals

Arguably the front-runner for the top goalscorer award, the potential third in his career, Kane scored 30 the most in a year that saw him finish second behind Salah. Kane got 17 goals last season due to injury and is itching to set the record straight. The 27-year-old has made eight assists already too, alongside his seven goals, two of which have been scored against Uniteds, West Ham and Manchester.

If he's not gunning for the Golden Shoe, he definitely wants to take the title of the season's best player with the versatility he is showing.

In this century, only two players have won the European Golden Shoe playing from teams outside the top five leagues, Henrik Larsson in 2001 for Celtic with 35 goals, and Mario Jardel a year later with 42 goals for Sporting Lisbon. So far, no players in Portugal, Russia, Netherlands, Belgium, or similar countries have shown a glimpse of hope for such a feat with the lower coefficient.


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