Lionel Messi is now a full 26 points clear at the top of the ESM Golden Shoe rankings, with Cristiano Ronaldo emerging as his main rival for the title of Europe's top domestic goalscorer, and FC Porto's Jackson Martínez joining a clutch of top strikers in third place.
Four goals against CA Osasuna and a weekend penalty against Valencia CF, taking his Liga scoring streak to 12 games, mean Messi remains on target to become the third player to win the prize in successive seasons – following in the footsteps of Thierry Henry (2003/04, 2004/05) and Ally McCoist (1991/92, 1992/93). Should his massive lead in the standings prove unassailable, he would also be the first player to be Europe's top scorer in three seasons.
Top marksman in 2007/08 and 2010/11, Ronaldo could also become a three-time winner. The Portuguese international kept the goals flowing with a hat-trick against Getafe CF on 27 January, but his only goal this weekend came at the wrong end, with his own goal handing Real Madrid CF an unexpected 1-0 loss at Granada CF to leave them 16 points off the pace in the Liga.
The newcomer to the upper echelons of the rankings is Colombian forward Jackson Martínez, scoring four goals since our last update – and six in his last three competitive games – to draw level with Edinson Cavani, Robin van Persie and his compatriot Falcao, the man he replaced at Porto.
"I'm very, very happy," said Jackson Martínez after scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Vitória SC this weekend. "As a striker, I always want to do my best to help the team and score, and fortunately everything is going very well and I scored my first hat-trick in Portugal. The team is showing great quality and we will not get complacent as we want more and more."
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 4 February
1 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 34 x 2 = 68
2 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF) 21 x 2 = 42
3 = Edinson Cavani (SSC Napoli) 18 x 2 = 36
3 = Falcao (Club Atlético de Madrid) 18 x 2 = 36
3 = Robin van Persie (Manchester United FC) 18 x 2 = 36
3 = Jackson Martínez (FC Porto) 18 x 2 = 36
7 - Arturas Rimkevičius (FC Šiauliai) 35 x 1 = 35*
8 - Luis Suárez (Liverpool FC) 17 x 2 = 34
9 - Philipp Hosiner (FK Austria Wien) 21 x 1.5 = 31.5
10 = Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain FC) 20 x 1.5 = 30
10 = Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan) 15 x 2 = 30
Only the leading five countries – Spain, Italy, Germany, England and Portugal – 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.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.