Salah, Haaland, Lewandowski: Which player will win the 2021-22 European Golden Shoe?

Lionel Messi with his European Golden Shoe award

What do Nikos Machlas, Roy Makaay and Robert Lewandowski all have in common? They are all European Golden Shoe winners, of course!

Ok, maybe the answer isn't so obvious. Still, all three can sit back in the knowledge their continent-leading goalscoring achievements received the ultimate recognition for one season at least.

The calculations are a bit complex. As per UEFA's rankings, each goal netted in the top five leagues earns two points, compared to 1.5 in leagues ranked from six to 22 and one in those ranked 23 and below.

Therefore, a player is unlikely to win the individual accolade while plying his trade outside the elite. However, with several nations, particularly in Scandinavia, already approaching the end of their 2021/22 campaign after playing through the summer, the current standings do not look as you would expect.

Here, we take you through the current top 30 in descending order.

The top 30

30. Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina), 8 goals: 16 points
29. Anthony Modeste (Cologne), 8 goals: 16 points
28. Nikolay Hansen (Vikingur Reykjavik), 16 goals: 16 points
27. Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen), 8 goals: 16 points
26. Gamid Agalarov (FK Ufa), 11 goals: 16.5 points
25. Karim Adeyemi (Red Bull Salzburg), 11 goals: 16.5 points
24. Josip Drmic (HNK Rijeka), 11 goals; 16.5 points
23. Mushaga Bakenga (Odds BK), 11 goals: 16.5 points
22. Andrey Solovey (FK Gomel), 17 goals: 17 points
21. Daouda Bamba (Altay SK), 12 goals: 18 points
20. Pall Klettskard (Ki Klaksvik), 18 goals: 18 points
19. Giovanni Simeone (Cagliari), 9 goals: 18 points
18. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), 9 goals: 18 points

Surely a future winner of this trophy, Haaland racked up nine goals in just six Bundesliga matches before picking up an injury. He is now set to be out until the new year, making closing Robert Lewandowski down in Germany even harder.

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17. Dembo Darboe (Shakhtjor Soligorsk), 19 goals: 19 points

16. Erik Botheim (FK Bodo/Glimt), 13 goals: 19.5 points
15. Arthur Cabral (Basel), 13 goals: 19.5 points
14. Georgie Kelly (Bohemian FC), 20 goals: 20 points
13. Ciro Immobile (Lazio), 10 goals: 20 points
12. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), 10 goals: 20 points
11. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), 10 goals: 20 points
10. Rauno Sappinen (Flora Tallinn), 21 goals: 21 points
9. Michael Frey (Royal Antwerp), 14 goals: 21 points
8. Zakaria Beglarishvili (FCI Levadia), 22 goals: 22 points
7. Henri Anier (Paide Linnameeskond), 24 goals: 24 points
6. Ricardo Gomes (Partizan Belgrade), 16 goals: 24 points
5. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), 13 goals: 26 points

Lewandowski is top of the charts amongst players in Europe's top five leagues. After winning the Golden Shoe last season with an astonishing 41 goals, he already has 13 in 11 Bundesliga outings this time out as Bayern aim for a 10th consecutive league title. Expect him to grab a fair few more before the season is over.

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4. Mikkel Dahl (HB Torshavn), 27 goals: 27 points

Dahl's numbers show just how difficult it is to win the Golden Shoe if you do not play in one of Europe's top divisions. His 27 goals are nine more than his closest competitor in the Faroe Islands Premier League and, although his side HB Torshavn could not stop KI from winning the title, he enjoyed a great campaign. Come May, though, there is a chance he may not feature in the top 30 at all.

3. Veton Berisha (Viking Stavanger), 19 goals: 28.5 points
2. Thomas Lehne Olsen (Lillestrom SK), 21 goals: 31.5 points
1. Ohi Omoijuanfo (Molde), 24 goals: 36 points

The current leader has played an essential role in Molde's Eliteserien title challenge, netting 24 goals in only 25 matches. With just four games left to play before the campaign's end, Molde have some work to do to bridge the five-point gap to leaders Bodo/Glimt, but a few more goals from Omoijuanfo could give them a fighting chance.

The Race

With plenty of games still to play across Europe, this ranking is likely to change. Lewandowski's start to the term indicates he has a strong chance of retaining his crown, but don't count out former winner Ciro Immobile and Karim Benzema, who is arguably enjoying the best form of his career over the last 18 months.

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Who's this Spurs legend?

If you are expecting a left-field name to prevail, don't. Since the rules were changed to favour the more prominent divisions in 1997, just two players outside the top five leagues have won - Henrik Larsson in 2001 and Mario Jardel in 1999 and 2002. Still, Omoijuanfo should enjoy his day in the sun given his impressive haul.

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