Cristiano Ronaldo pulls away from Lionel Messi and Robin van Persie in Golden Shoe race

Cristiano Ronaldo's match-winning hat-trick in Real Madrid's 4-2 victory over Levante saw the Portuguese pull away in the European Golden Shoe table from archrival Lionel Messi, Arsenal star Robin van Persie, who both failed to score, and Tran Narva's Aleksandrs Cekulajevs, whose domestic season has finished.

Burak Yilmaz scored another two goals in Trabzonspor's 4-1 victory over Gaziantepspor, ensuring the Turkey international closed the gap on the Gunners' Dutch hitman.

Seydou Doumbia's continued involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations has seen Mario Gomez go level on points with the CSKA Moscow star, while Wayne Rooney's quick-fire double in Manchester United's win over Liverpool ensured that the England star entered the top 10 this week.

Elsewhere, Olivier Giroud, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Demba Ba all sit level on points with 32 points apiece.

Rank Player          
Country Club League Weight Goals Points
1 C. Ronaldo POR
Real Madrid
ESP 2
27
54
2
A Cekulajevs LVA
Trans*
EST 1 46
46
3
L. Messi
ARG
Barcelona
ESP 2 23
46
4
R. v Persie
NED
Arsenal
ENG
2
22
44
5
B. Yilmaz TUR
Trabzonspor
TUR
1.5 27
40.5
6 S. Doumbia
CIV
CSKA
RUS
1.5
24
36

M. Gomez
GER
Bayern
GER
2 18
36
8
W. Rooney
ENG Man Utd
ENG 2 17
34

A. Di Natale ITA Udinese ITA 2 17
34
10
O. Giroud
FRA Montpellier
FRA
2 16
32
  K. Huntelaar NED Schalke GER 2 16 32
  Demba Ba SEN Newcastle ENG 2 16 32

* = league season finished

History & How It Works

In 1967-68, French football magazine L'Equipe opted to hand out an award to the top goalscorer in all European leagues for his good performances during the season. Between 1968 and 1991, high profile names such as Eusebio, Gerd Muller, Ian Rush and Marco van Basten won the coveted trophy.

However, the gap between big and small leagues started to grow in the early 90s and L'Equipe decided to make the competition unofficial after the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) issued a protest in 1991. Darko Pancev won the award that season with 34 goals, but the CFA claimed that a player had scored 40 goals in Cyprus that term.

Adidas, sponsor of the awards, still handed out the trophy until 1996 before European Sports Magazine (with L'Equipe as a member) decided to make the title official again. ESM divided all European leagues in three groups according to strength, and attached to each group a quotient by which the number of goals is multiplied to obtain the player's rating. The European Golden Shoe was thus no longer necessarily handed to the top goalscorer, but to the player with the most points.

The weightings are determined by the league's ranking on the UEFA coefficients, which in turn depend on the results of each league's clubs in European competition over the previous five seasons. Goals scored in the top five leagues according to the UEFA coefficients are multiplied by a factor of two, and goals scored in the leagues ranked six to 21 are multiplied by 1.5. Goals in all other leagues are all worth one single point.

This measure has prevented players from so-called weaker leagues from winning the European Golden Shoe, since a goal scored in, for example, Armenia, Estonia or Azerbaijan, carries less weight than a goal scored in Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga or the Premier League.

Players such as Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Forlan and Lionel Messi have won the European Golden Shoe in the past few seasons.