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Asensio takes early lead in U21 EURO Golden Boot race

Spain's Marco Asensio has stolen an early march on his rivals in the race for the U21 EURO adidas Golden Boot following his hat-trick against FYR Macedonia on Saturday.

Marco Asensio struck a hat-trick for Spain against FYR Macedonia on matchday one
Marco Asensio struck a hat-trick for Spain against FYR Macedonia on matchday one ©AFP/Getty Images

Spain's Marco Asensio stands at the top of the scorers' chart at the end of the first round of U21 EURO group matches.

Goalscorers so far
3 – Marco Asensio (Spain)
1 – Gerard Deulofeu (Spain), Bruno Fernandes (Portugal), Serge Gnabry (Germany), Gonçalo Guedes (Portugal), Patryk Lipski (Poland), Max Meyer (Germany), Saúl Ňíguez (Spain), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Italy), Andrea Petagna (Italy), Pavol Šafranko (Slovakia), Martin Valjent (Slovakia)

Asensio, the Real Madrid CF forward, struck a spectacular hat-trick – only the fifth in finals history – in Spain's 5-0 opening success against FYR Macedonia to stake an early claim for the adidas Golden Boot.

With his treble in Gdynia, Asensio has scored seven goals in the 2015-17 competition overall, including his four in the qualifying phase. The top scorer in qualifying with ten goals was Czech Republic's Patrik Schick.

2015 U21 EURO top scorer Jan Kliment
2015 U21 EURO top scorer Jan Kliment©Getty Images

Past winners:
2015 – Jan Kliment, Czech Republic (3)
2013 – Álvaro Morata, Spain (4)

2011 – Adrián López, Spain (5)
2009 – Marcus Berg, Sweden (7)
2007 – Maceo Rigters, Netherlands (4)
2006 – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Netherlands (4)
2004 – Alberto Gilardino, Italy (4)
2002 – Massimo Maccarone, Italy (3)
2000 – Andrea Pirlo, Italy (3)

While goals scored will always be the first criterion in deciding the leading marksman, further criteria will be used to separate players with the same goal tallies – firstly, assists, then minutes played (with the player boasting the better goals-to-minutes-on-the-pitch ratio taking precedence). Full details about the adidas Golden Boot award available here.