Could A 36-Year-Old Veteran Pip Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo And Kylian Mbappe To The European Golden Shoe?
Only four players have won the European Golden Shoe - or Boot as some call it - since the 2007/08 season, but there’s a surprise name in the frame this time around who is bidding to shoot his way into the history books.
Defending champion Lionel Messi and fellow footballing God Cristiano Ronaldo have both dominated proceedings in recent years (shock), with five and four Golden Boot triumphs respectively - more than any other players. The only other two winners since Francesco Totti grabbed the spoils in 2007 have been Luis Suarez (twice) and his fellow Uruguayan Diego Forlan.
At the time of writing, that man Messi leads the way on 58 points, having amassed 29 league goals for Barcelona. The Argentine, victor with 34 goals last term ahead of Mo Salah (32), is the current record holder with a handful of wins and if he tops the pile this year he’ll be the first player to win the award three times on the spin.
Hot on his heels is PSG sensation Kylian Mbappe on 52 points (26 goals) who will be bidding to win the prize for the first time, and if so, he’d become only the second Frenchman to do so after Thierry Henry (2004 & 2005).
However, it’s the player occupying third spot in the rankings - scroll down for the full list - that represents the most intriguing prospect.
Step forward Fabio Quagliarella.
The striker is having a simply extraordinary season at Sampdoria, netting 21 goals to date - at a rate of every 111 minutes - plus seven assists, which makes the Italian the top goalscorer in Serie A, at the grand age of 36. That’s right, he has more goals than a certain Juventus megastar Cristiano Ronaldo (19), who currently sits third in the Golden Shoe table.
Quagliarella’s prolific form has subsequently earned the player a recall to the Italian national team for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, meaning he could earn his first cap in nine years - while Mario Balotelli missed out.
The veteran striker actually started the season pretty slowly, scoring twice in his first nine games. In late October he suddenly exploded into action, finding the back of the net in a staggering eleven successive games as he equalled a 24-year Serie A record set by Gabriel Batistuta.
Quagliarella, winner of three Scudettos with Juventus, won the Serie A Goal of the Year award in 2009 with Udinese, however this is the first time he’s ever accumulated more than 20 goals in a league season and there’s still 10 games left to play.
Messi currently has eight more goals to his name, meaning it would take a stupendous run of form for Quagliarella to eclipse the current leader, although on current form you simply can't rule it out. After a three game mini-blip in early February he’s since gone on to register five goals in his last four games including Sampdoria’s second in the 5-3 thriller at Sassuolo last weekend.
Perhaps more realistically is the Serie A Golden Boot - Capocannoniere - something no Sampdoria player has claimed since Gianluca Vialli in 1990/91.