Three goals in FC Barcelona's 3-0 victory against Club Atlético de Madrid not only helped Lionel Messi lead this club to a Spanish record-breaking 16th successive league win, but also ensured the Argentina striker joined Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the ESM Golden Shoe rankings.
Coach Josep Guardiola was quick to acknowledge Messi's startling achievements this season: Saturday's was his fourth hat-trick in all competitions in 2010/11. "Every great side throughout history had a player who made the difference; Messi is that player for us," said Guardiola. "We're so lucky to have him, especially at the age he's at, but at the same time Leo knows that without the rest of his team-mates, he wouldn't be who he is."
Messi has scored five league goals since UEFA.com's last update on the race to be Europe's top domestic goalscorer, but Ronaldo maintained his place in the running with two strikes against Real Sociedad de Fútbol on Sunday. Manchester United FC's Dimitar Berbatov remains third, but fourth place is now shared by SSC Napoli's Edinson Cavani and Manchester City FC's Carlos Tévez, who have registered four apiece in the last fortnight.
Kenny Miller's first strikes for Bursaspor see him maintain his place on the leaderboard, while Antonio Di Natale's 100th goal for Udinese Calcio keeps him among the front-runners. FC Internazionale Milano's Samuel Eto'o is the only new entry in the top ten.
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 6 February 2011
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF, ESP) 24 goals x 2 = 48
1 Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona, ESP) 24 x 2 = 48
3 Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United FC, ENG) 19 x 2 = 38
4 Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli, ITA) 18 x 2 = 36
4 Carlos Tévez (Manchester City FC, ENG) 18 x 2 = 36
6 Kenny Miller (Rangers FC/Bursaspor, SCO/TUR) 23 x 1.5 = 34.5
7 Antonio Di Natale (Udinese Calcio, ITA) 16 x 2 = 32
7 Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München, GER) 16 x 2 = 32
7 Moussa Sow (LOSC Lille Métropole, FRA) 16 x 2 = 32
10 Papiss Demba Cissé (SC Freiburg, GER) 15 x 2 = 30
10 Samuel Eto'o (FC Internazionale Milano, ITA) 15 x 2 = 30
* The Russian season is over
Only the leading five countries (Spain, Italy, Germany, France and England) on the UEFA Ranking have two as their multiplier. This is to emphasise the difference in (international) performance level between the clubs from those countries and those from the other nations.
A player cannot first play in a summer league (eg Norway) and then in a winter league (eg Spain) and combine the points total for each season.
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