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Lionel Messi: Europe's top scorer in 2018

Lionel Messi is the most prolific goalscorer of the calendar year once again after netting 51 times in 2018.

Lionel Messi made it to 50 goals for club and country again this year
Lionel Messi made it to 50 goals for club and country again this year ©AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi saw off the threat of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski to become the top European scorer for club and country in 2018.


Messi brought up his half-century of goals by registering his 43rd hat-trick for Barcelona in their 5-0 victory at Levante on 16 December, and that pulled him sufficiently clear of the chasing pack, led by the Juventus and Bayern München forwards. It means Messi has scored 50 or more goals for club and country in eight of the last nine years, though his biggest haul was the world-record 91 he managed in 2012.

Lionel Messi's #UCL group stage highlights

The Barcelona striker appeared set for the same honour last year until Harry Kane got back-to-back hat-tricks in his last two matches to pip him at the post with a final tally of 56, the only time in the 2010s that neither Messi nor Ronaldo has not topped the table. This is the third year running Messi has outscored Ronaldo, who had finished ahead of the Argentina striker in 2015, 2014 and 2013 (when the Portuguese forward scored his personal record of 69). Ronaldo scored 49 in 2018, having scored 50 or more in each of the last eight years.

Among the familiar names of Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah, Kane and Antoine Griezmann on 40 or more goals is David Turpel, whose tally included four in Dudelange's successful UEFA Europa League qualifying campaign plus 19 in the ten-game end-of-season winning streak that wrapped up the 2017/18 Luxembourg National Division title. Turpel's overall season tally of 33 was a new league record.

Top scorers in 2018

Watch all of Messi's European goals before this season

51 goals from 54 games: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
49 goals from 53 games: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Juventus & Portugal)
46 goals from 56 games: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München & Poland)
44 goals from 55 games: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt)
42 goals from 63 games: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur & England)
40 goals from 49 games: David Turpel (Dudelange & Luxembourg)
40 goals from 71 games: Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid & France)
37 goals from 60 games: Luis Suárez (Barcelona & Uruguay)

*For European top-flight club (excluding friendlies) and country

Roll of honour: last ten years

Watch Ronaldo's European goals for Juventus and United

2018: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) 51 goals from 54 games
2017: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur & England) 56 goals from 52 games
2016: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) 59 goals from 62 games
2015: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal) 57 goals from 57 games
2014: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal) 61 goals from 60 games
2013: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal) 69 goals from 59 games
2012: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) 91 goals from 69 games
2011: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal) 60 goals from 60 games
2010: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina) 60 goals from 64 games
2009: Edin Džeko (Wolfsburg & Bosnia and Herzegovina) 44 goals from 55 games

Does Messi get your vote?

Messi has been shortlisted among the forwards for the UEFA.com fans' Team of the Year 2018 along with Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Kane, Salah, Griezmann and Luis Suárez, plus eight more besides. But you can only choose two or three so who is it to be?