Kylian Mbappe emerges as Lionel Messi's closest rival for the European Golden Shoe

France v Argentina: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

It's becoming common knowledge that Lionel Messi is dominating the statistics in Europe right now.

The Barcelona star is enjoying one of the bests seasons of his career, scoring more goals than anyone else in the continent's top five leagues and only being matched by Jadon Sancho for assists.

In fact, when you combine goals and assists this season, Messi leads all of his rivals by 24.

When you consider Messi has the potential to win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and Champions League title this season, it could become a truly historic 12 months for the Argentine.

However, there's another exciting player who has produced some incredible statistics this season and believe it or not, Cristiano Ronaldo isn't the answer.

Messi and Mbappe shine

While we must admit that Ligue 1 is the weakest of Europe's premier divisions, you simply can't ignore what Kylian Mbappe has achieved this season at Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite being just 19 years old, the mercurial Frenchman has arguably outclassed his fellow forwards Edinson Cavani and Neymar.

Mbappe is the top goalscorer in France by a clear distance, accumulating 26 strikes so far and also creating six goals for his teammates.


European Golden Shoe standings

As a result, it puts the PSG forward right in contention for the European Golden Shoe and the latest rankings suggest that the award has become a two-horse race.

That's because Mbappe and Messi have started to pull away from the pack and although the latter has a healthy advantage, it could all change in the final two months.

Spanish publication Marca listed the latest rankings this week and made the statement: "Only Mbappe can rival Messi."

Considering the standings, it's pretty hard to argue with them - check out the points down below:

1. Lionel Messi - 58 points (29 goals)

2. Kylian Mbappe - 52 points (26 goals)

3. Fabio Quagliarella - 42 points (21 goals)

4. Cristiano Ronaldo - 38 points (19 goals)

5. Krzysztof Piatek - 38 points (19 goals)

6. Robert Skov - 36 points (24 goals)

7. Robert Lewandowski - 36 points (18 goals)

8. Sergio Aguero - 36 points (18 goals)

9. Luis Suarez - 36 points (18 goals)

10. Mbaye Diagne - 34.5 points (23 goals)

We know somebody who will be very disappointed with those results and his name is Ronaldo.

Despite producing another incredible night in the Champions League this week, the Portuguese hasn't been able to produce his usual goalscoring exploits in Serie A.

It's clear that he's still adapting to life at Juventus and although he's still enjoyed a remarkable season, it would take a minor miracle for him to secure the European Golden Shoe. 

Lionel Messi receiving Golden Shoe award

Mbappe seems to be the only player who can dethrone Messi, who has assumed something of a monopoly on the award in recent seasons. 

The 31-year-old has won the last two instalments and Ronaldo has now gone four years without the accolade, having lost to Luis Suarez during his firsts season at Barcelona.

But as far as this season is concerned, forget Ronaldo vs Messi and bring on Mbappe vs Messi.

Who do you think will win the European Golden Shoe? Have your say in the comments section below.

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