Robin van Persie is up to third in the race to be Europe's top domestic goalscorer, with three goals in his last two league games taking him closer to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the head of the leaderboard.
The Dutch international striker registered in Arsenal FC's 5-2 London derby win against Tottenham Hotspur FC, then hit both of his side's goals – including a late clincher – as the Gunners prevailed 2-1 at Liverpool FC on Saturday. Those three goals translate into six points since our last update of the ESM Golden Shoe race, easing Van Persie above Aleksandrs Čekulajevs, who scored 46 goals in Estonia last year but last week confirmed a move to Maltese team Valletta FC. The Latvian forward found the net on his Valletta debut, yet this goal will not count towards his total, since tallies cannot include goals scored in both summer and winter leagues.
Leading the rankings, Cristiano Ronaldo has all the momentum as the Real Madrid CF attacker bids to retain the award he claimed last term with an unprecedented 40 Liga goals. A strike in each of Madrid's last two matches has taken his seasonal haul to 30, and he is on target to become the first player to win the Golden Shoe three times – and the first player since Thierry Henry between 2002/03 and 2004/05 to take the prize for Europe's top league scorer in successive campaigns.
Messi, meanwhile, is two strikes adrift of Ronaldo. The Argentinian international has notched an incredible nine goals in his last four games, for club and country, but only one of them came in the league and he was suspended at the weekend.
Further down the standings, Trabzonspor AŞ's fifth-ranked Burak Yılmaz hit another on Sunday to match Ronaldo's total of 30, although his ESM Golden Shoe points tally of 45 reflects the relative strengths of the Spanish and Turkish leagues. Zlatan Ibrahimović's first hat-trick for AC Milan on Saturday and goals for Antonio Di Natale and Wayne Rooney mean that six players are tied in sixth place on 36 points.
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 20 February 2012
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 30 x 2 = 60
2. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 28 x 2 = 56
3. Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC) 25 x 2 = 50
4. Aleksandrs Čekulajevs (JK Trans Narva) 46 x 1 = 46
5. Burak Yılmaz (Trabzonspor AŞ) 30 x 1.5 = 45
6= Seydou Doumbia (PFC CSKA Moskva) 24 x 1.5 = 36
6= Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München) 18 x 2 = 36
6= Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04) 18 x 2 = 36
6= Antonio Di Natale (Udinese Calcio) 18 x 2 = 36
6= Wayne Rooney (Manchester United FC) 18 x 2 = 36
6= Zlatan Ibrahimović (AC Milan) 18 x 2 = 36
Only the leading five countries – Spain, Italy, Germany, France and England – in 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 (e.g. Norway) and then in a winter league (e.g. Spain) and combine the points totals for each season.
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