Nine goals in three Liga matches, including successive hat-tricks, have enabled Lionel Messi to usurp Cristiano Ronaldo as the frontrunner for the 2011/12 ESM Golden Shoe award.
The 24-year-old FC Barcelona forward took his league tally to 50 by scoring all four goals in Saturday night's 4-0 defeat of RCD Espanyol. It moved Messi five goals clear of Ronaldo – who found the net as the Spanish champions Real Madrid CF won at Granada CF on the same night – at the Golden Shoe summit and made him the overwhelming favourite to be crowned Europe's top league goalscorer on 19 May.
A run of five goals in FC Schalke 04's final three Bundesliga matches of the season enabled Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to rise to fourth place, although Arsenal FC's Robin van Persie looks set to claim third spot with one round to play in England, Italy and Spain.
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 7 May 2012
1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 50 x 2 = 100
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 45 x 2 = 90
3. Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC) 30 x 2 = 60
4. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04) 29 x 2 = 58
5. Zlatan Ibrahimović (AC Milan) 28 x 2 = 56
6. Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München) 26 x 2 = 52
6= Wayne Rooney (Manchester United FC) 26 x 2 = 52
8. Bas Dost (sc Heerenveen) 32 x 1.5 = 48
8= Burak Yilmaz (Trabzonspor AŞ) 32 x 1.5 = 48
10. Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli) 23 x 2 = 46
10= Falcao (Club Atlético de Madrid) 23 x 2 = 46
10= Diego Milito (FC Internazionale Milano) 23 x 2 = 46
10= Aleksandrs Cekulajevs (JK Trans Narva) 46 x 1 = 46
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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