Definition of Golden Shoe

While individual top football leagues in Europe have their own rewards for goal scoring, back in 1967 French newspaper L'Equipe decided to hand out an award to the top goal scorer in league matches around the entire continent. The reward became known as the European Golden Shoe (or Golden Boot).

Illustration of the European Golden Shoe trophy.  Who is this award given to each year?One of the key distinctions about this reward is that it only counts league goals, as opposed to some that count cup competition goals as well. This means that a player cannot boost their goal tallies against cup teams that may be in lower divisions.

The award has been given out by the European Sports Media since the 1996-97 season. Interestingly (and without connection), before that year, there were winners from all across Europe. 16 different leagues across Europe had a player win the Golden Shoe, while only 6 leagues have had a player win it since 1996-97. Part of this reason was that players who score in the 'Top 5' European leagues are awarded more points for goals. The logic is that it is harder to score in the higher quality leagues.

The player with the most Golden Shoes is (unsurprisingly) Lionel Messi, having won the award 6 times between the 2009-10 season and 2020. Cristiano Ronaldo follows closely behind, having won 4 times. The next closest winners are tied on 2.

The most recent winner in the COVID-19 afflicted season was Ciro Immobile of S.S. Lazio in Serie A, with 36 league goals. Interestingly, this has been the first time since 2006-7 that a player from Serie A has won the award.