Cristiano Ronaldo is one of several players who have won the European Golden Boot award.
The European Golden Boot award is given to the top goalscorer in a European top-flight season. First started in 1968, the award was presented by L’Equipe for three decades.
Since 1997, European Sports Media has presented the award after taking into consideration the competitiveness of the league where a player plays in. The top six leagues have a coefficient of 2; the next 17 leagues have a coefficient of 1.5, and the remaining leagues have a coefficient of 1.
These coefficients are multiplied by the goals scored by a player to determine his final position in the Golden Boot standings. Thanks to the introduction of the coefficients, a player in one of the tougher leagues can win the award by scoring fewer goals than one playing in one of the ‘easier’ leagues. That makes sense, owing to the wide chasm in the level of competition in various leagues across the continent.
Over the years, especially in the last decade, many fine players have won the European Golden Boot award. On that note, here’s a look at the last ten winners of the prestigious award in ascending order:
#1 2011-12 – Lionel Messi (50 goals)
Lionel Messi was on a roll in 2011-12.
Lionel Messi was the crown jewel of Pep Guardiola’s dream Barcelona team of the late 2000s and early 2010s. The Argentine was one of the key players as Guardiola’s men won three consecutive La Liga and two Champions League titles in three years.
Determined to make it four in a row, Lionel Messi produced one of the all-time best seasons by any player in club history. He became the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to plunder 50 league goals in a season; Messi scored a staggering 73 across competitions that campaign.
Messi kicked off his Liga campaign with a brace against Villarreal before scoring three hat-tricks in his next ten games. Then he netted five more hat-tricks, with a quadruple against Espanyol taking him to 50 league goals for the season.
Despite Messi’s blistering exploits – winning his second Golden Boot in three years – Barcelona’s hopes of a La Liga four-peat were ended by Real Madrid. In the Champions League, the holders crashed out against eventual champions Inter Milan in the semis.
#2 2012-13 – Lionel Messi (46 goals)
Lionel Messi won consecutive Golden Boot awards in 2012-13.
Seemingly continuing from where he left off the previous season, Lionel Messi produced another stellar campaign in 2012-13. He won his third Golden Boot award in the process.
The Barcelona ace scored a staggering 46 league goals. He commenced the campaign with braces against Real Sociedad and Osasuna. Although he scored only one hat-trick, Messi moved to 28 goals at the end of the first half of the season.
He scored in a staggering 21 consecutive games. If not for a hamstring injury forcing him to miss six games, Messi would have broken his record from the previous season.
Unlike in 2011-12, Barcelona wouldn’t be denied this time, roaring to their fourth La Liga title in five years, finishing 15 points clear of second-placed Real Madrid.
#8 2013-14 – Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez (31 goals)
Luis Suarez (centre) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) jointly won the Golden Boot.
Both Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Suarez (Liverpool) scored 31 league goals apiece that campaign to win the Golden Boot award that year. It was Ronaldo’s third Golden Boot award, while it was Suarez’s first.
Ronaldo opened his campaign with six goals in his first six games, reaching 20 at the halfway mark. He looked good for more, but a red-card suspension and injury meant he missed eight games in the second half.
Meanwhile, Suarez had a belated start to his campaign, missing the first five games due to a suspension. However, the Uruguayan soon got going, scoring three hat-tricks, as Liverpool failed to win the Premier League title by a whisker.
Despite their stellar exploits, Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez did not win a league title that season.
#7 2014-15 – Cristiano Ronaldo (48 goals)
Cristiano Ronaldo produced a stellar 2014-15 campaign.
After he had to share the Golden Boot award the previous season, Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t in the same benevolent mood in 2014-15, winning his fourth Golden Boot award.
The Real Madrid ace produced one of his career-best campaigns, scoring 61 goals in all competitions, including 48 in the league. He amassed eight hat-tricks in La Liga that season, including a quadruple and a five-goal haul.
Ronaldo closed the season with three hat-tricks in his last four league games. But Barcelona pipped Real Madrid to the La Liga title by two points in a titanic title race that went down to the previous day.
As if to add insult to injury, Cristiano Ronaldo endured Champions League heartbreak as well, with holders Real Madrid getting knocked out by Juventus in the semis.
#6 2015-16 – Luis Suarez (40 goals)
Luis Suarez enjoyed a stellar 2015-16 campaign.
Luis Suarez produced a stellar campaign in 2015-16 to win his second Golden Boot award. For a change, Suarez usurped Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammate Lionel Messi to the coveted award.
The Barcelona ace opened his campaign with three goals in his first six games before breaking loose. He scored six hat-tricks during the season and netted 14 times in his last five outings. Incredibly, Suarez netted quadruples in consecutive games.
Suarez scored 59 goals across competitions that season, helping Barcelona win four titles, including the La Liga.
#5 2016-17 – Lionel Messi (37 goals)
Lionel Messi won the Golden Boot in 2016-17
Four years after winning his third Golden Boot award, Lionel Messi won it for the fourth time in 2016-17, scoring 37 league goals.
He opened his campaign with a brace against Real Betis before moving to 15 goals at the halfway mark. Messi scored 22 times in his next 18 games to close with 37 goals for the season. He netted a lot of braces that season, including one in Barcelona’s 3-2 win at Real Madrid, but didn’t score a hat-trick.
Despite Messi’s exploits, Real Madrid finished three points ahead of Barcelona in another epic La Liga title race.
#4 2017-18 – Lionel Messi (34 goals)
Lionel Messi produced another stellar campaign in 2017-18.
After missing out on the La Liga title the previous season, there was no denying Barcelona in 2017-18. The Blaugrana rode on the exploits of Lionel Messi, who scored 34 times in the league to become the first player to win five Golden Boot awards.
Messi opened the campaign with nine goals, including a brace, a hat-trick and a quadruple, in his first five games. He scored only eight more times until the halfway point of the campaign.
The Argentine scored another 17 times in the second half of the season as Barcelona won their seventh La Liga title in ten years. He also scored another 11 goals in other competitions in a season where he won his fifth Golden Boot award.
#3 2018-19 – Lionel Messi (36 goals)
Lionel Messi won his third Golden Boot in 2018-19.
Lionel Messi won a third straight Golden Boot award in 2018-19, his sixth overall, as Barcelona won their eighth La Liga title in 11 years.
He opened his campaign with a brace against Alaves, reaching the halfway mark with 19 league goals. Messi scored 36 league goals that season as he recorded another prolific campaign across competitions.
That remains the last time Messi has scored over 30 goals and 50 in all competitions as the Blaugrana’s La Liga domination would draw to a close.
#2 2019-20 – Ciro Immobile (36 goals)
Ciro Immobile produced a memorable campaign in 2019-20 to win his first Golden Boot award.
Ciro Immobile produced a memorable campaign in 2019-20. He scored 36 goals to become the first player since Gonzalo Higuain to score that many times in a Serie A campaign.
Immobile started his campaign with.a brace against Spezia. The Italian then went on a scoring streak, netting in nine consecutive games, to reach the halfway mark with 19 goals. He slowed down a touch towards the closing games of the season, allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to close in on him.
But Immobile produced a strong finish, scoring seven times in his last five games to scipt history.
That marked the first time in more than a decade that a Serie A player won the Golden Boot. Despite Immobile’s Golden Boot-winning season, Lazio failed to win the league title.
#1 2020-21 – Robert Lewandowski (41 goals)
Robert Lewandowski had a record-breaking campaign in 2020-21.
Robert Lewandowski produced a record-breaking campaign in 2020-21. Scoring 41 times, the prolific Pole broke the late Gerd Muller’s five-decade old record of most goals in a Bundesliga season.
Lewandowski had threatened to break Muller’s record for a while before he could keep his early-season form for the entire campaign. He opened his season by scoring two hat-tricks in his first five games and never let up the pace.
Despite missing four games towards the end of the season, Lewandowski produced a strong finish. He scored six times in his last four games, netting his record-breaking 41st strike in the closing moments of the season.
In the process, Lewandowski won his first Golden Boot award as Bayern Munich won a record-extending ninth consecutive Bundesliga title.