Lionel Messi's winning strike against Athletic Club on Sunday not only helped FC Barcelona bounce back from their midweek disappointment at Arsenal FC, but also marked the Argentina forward's 25th Liga goal of the season to move him two points clear at the top of the ESM Golden Shoe rankings.
Team-mate Pedro Rodríguez was full of praise for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or winner. "Leo [Messi] makes you a better player, he's spectacular," said Pedro. "You lift your head, give him the ball and from there he does everything. He completely unbalances the opposition every time he touches the ball – he's the best."
Cristiano Ronaldo slipped to second place after failing to score in Real Madrid CF's 2-0 victory over Levante UD and there was no change at third and fourth, where Edinson Cavani and Dimitar Berbatov remain. Fifth spot is now shared between three players after Mario Gomez hit his 18th Bundesliga goal this term in FC Bayern München's 3-1 win at 1. FSV Mainz 05.
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 21 February 2011
1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona, ESP) 25 x 2 = 50
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF, ESP) 24 x 2 = 48
3. Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli, ITA) 20 x 2 = 40
4. Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United FC, ENG) 19 x 2 = 38
5. Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München, GER) 18 x 2 = 36
Antonio Di Natale (Udinese Calcio, ITA) 18 x 2 = 36
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City FC, ENG) 18 x 2 = 36
8. Kenny Miller (Rangers FC/Bursaspor, SCO/TUR) 23 x 1,5 = 34,5
9. Papiss Cissé (SC Freiburg, GER) 16 x 2 = 32
Moussa Sow (LOSC Lille Métropole, FRA) 16 x 2 = 32
David Villa (FC Barcelona, ESP) 16 x 2 = 32
Only the leading five countries (Spain, Italy, Germany, France and England) on 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 (eg Norway) and then in a winter league (e.g. Spain) and combine the points total for each season.
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