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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Race for the Golden Boot in Europe’s Big Five Leagues Heats Up

With most of the leagues coming to an end, all attention is being shifted to the summer transfer window. While some managers like Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson and Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp will be scouring the breadth and length of Europe and beyond for top-notch goalkeepers, others like Liverpool would want to bring in an additional striker or attacking wide man to provide backup for January signings Luis Suarez and Andy Caroll.


Strikers are judged by the number of goals they score in a season while goalkeepers who keep clean sheets even under a clumsy defence are highly rated. So with the league champions in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues in England (Man United), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (AC Milan), Germany (Borussia Dortmund) and France (Lille*) already (indicated in brackets) or almost (in brackets with *sign) known, individual accolades like the golden boot for top scorers and golden glove for goalkeepers who have kept the most clean sheets are yet to be fully determined. First, let’s see who has been the most lethal striker or goalscorer in their domestic league this season.

SPAIN – Pichichi - trophy awarded by Spanish sports newspaper Marca to the top goalscorer for each league season.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Getafe on Tuesday night, his fourth hat-trick of the season, saw him open a five-goal gap over Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the race for the Pichichi award. The Portuguese playmaker followed up his four-haul in Real Madrid’s 6-2 demolition of Sevilla on Saturday night with the three against Getafe as he raced clear of the Argentine who has not seen the back of the net in the last four matches. Ronaldo again scored two goals in Real's 3-1 win over Villareal.

With one game to play, Ronaldo – who equaled Madrid’s club record of 38 La Liga goals in a season held by Hugo Sanchez – leads the La Liga scoring chat with 38 goals while Messi is second with 31 goals. In third position are Villareal’s Guiseppe Rossi, Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo and Barca’s David Villa all with 18 goals. Atletico Madrid’s Kun Aguero leads a pack of four other players to have scored 17 goals this season. Messi won the trophy last season after scoring 34 goals.

Meanwhile David Villa is on pole to scoop his third in a row and fifth Zarra Trophy which is normally awarded to the Spanish domestic player with the highest goal total in La Liga. El Guaje, the first player to win the award which was introduced in 2006, has scored 18 times, one better than the 17 scored by Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente, Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo and Valencia’s Roberto Soldado. Villa has won the trophy in all seasons but 2007-08 when he was beaten to it by Real Mallorca’s Dani Guiza.

Cristiano Ronaldo                   – Real Madrid                          36
Lionel Messi                            – Barcelona                             31
Guiseppe Rossi                       – Villareal                                18
David Villa                               – Barcelona                             18
Kun Aguero                             – Atletico Madrid                     17


ENGLAND – Just when Berbatov thought he had won the Barclays Golden Boot

Liverpool’s Maxi Rodriguez is the man with the goals right now. The Argentine midfielder has been scoring goals for fun of late with Fulham being the latest victim of a Maxi-orchestrated hat-trick. But the Argentine isn’t even among the top ten goalscorers this season. Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov and Man City's Carlos Tevez lead the pack having both netted 21 times for the champions elect. 

Berbatov was in red-hot form in the beginning of the season and even though Javier Hernandez 'Chicharito' has been scoring the goals for Sir Alex of late, the Bulgarian will capture the golden boot if he scores just a goal more than the Argentine and vice versa. United face Blackpool in the last game of the season while City will be away to Bolton. The golden boot has been won by two Chelsea players in the last two seasons - Anelka in 2008-09 and Didier Drogba last season.

Arsenal’s Robin van Persie is third with 17 goals, tying with Aston Villa’s record-signing Darren Bent. West Brom’s Peter Osaze Odemwingie is placed fifth with 15 goals.

Dimitar Berbatov                     – Manchester United              21
Carlos Tevez                           – Manchester City                  19
Robin van Persie                     – Arsenal                               17
Darren Bent                             – Aston Villa                          17
Peter Odemwingie                   – West Brom                         15



ITALY - The Capocannoniere is the name given to the highest goalscorer in Italian Serie A

With one match to go, Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale is well on course to defend the Capocannoniere he won last season. The Italian forward leads with 28 goals, two ahead of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani whose season is over after receiving a three-match ban for his sending off against Lecce at the weekend, meaning he will not participate in the remaining two fixtures and also miss the first game of next season.

Inter Milan’s Samuel Eto’o and Bologna’s Marco Di Vaio would need miracles to win the gong as they sit on 21 and 19 goals respectively. Roma’s veteran captain Francesco Totti completes the top five with 14 goals. Di Natale is only a goal shy of the 29 he scored last season to win the crown.

Antonio Di Natale                   – Udinese                              28
Edinson Cavani                      – Napoli                                 26
Samuel Eto’o                          – Inter Milan                          20
Marco Di Vaio                         – Bologna                             19
Francesco Totti                       – Roma                                 14

GERMANY – Super Mario Wins it

Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez Garcia was the outright winner of the golden boot in the German Bundesliga. The German forward who had a campaign to forget last season has been imperious this season seeing  the back of the opposition net in 28 occasions, six times more than second-placed Papiss Demba Cisse of SC Freiburg. 

The Bundesliga season ended this weekend. Milivoje Novakovic of FC Colon finished third with 17 goals while Greek Theofanis Gekas of Eintracht Frankfurt scored 16 goals, same as Srdjan Lakic of FC Kaiserslautern. “Bosnian Diamond” Edin Dzeko who transferred to mega-rich Manchester City in January was the top Bundesliga scorer last season with 22goals for VFL Wolfsburg.

Mario Gomez García             – Bayern Munich                    28
Papiss Demba Cisse                – SC Freiburg                     22
Milivoje Novakovic                 – FC Colon                            17
Theofanis Gekas                      – Eintracht Frankfurt           16
Srdjan Lakic                             – FC Kaiserslautern            16

FRANCE - Trophée du Meilleur Buteur

Senegalese forward Mamadou Niang was the top scorer in French Ligue 1 last season with 18 goals for Olympique Marseille. However, his goal-haul would only put the now Fenerbahce forward to third position this season. Another Senegalese, Moussa Sow has hit 21 goals past opposition defences for table toppers Lille and leads the chat this season. The French-born Senegalese is closely followed by Lorient’s Kevin Gameiro who has scored 20 goals while Youssef El Arabi of Caen sits third with 17 goals, one ahead of fourth-placed Lisandro Lopez of Lyon. Grégory Pujol of Valenciennes has scored fifteen goals

Moussa Sow                            – Lille                                      21
Kevin Gamiero                        – Lorient                                  20
Youssef El Arabi                      – Caen                                    17
Lisandro Lopez                        – Lyon                                    16
Grégory Pujol                          – Valenciennes                       15

Well, there you have it. Cristiano Ronaldo has been the most lethal domestic goalscorer this season, scoring Madrid’s 38 of the 94 goals they have dished out to the opposition. However, no team is likely to bid for the services of the phenomenal Portuguese playmaker unless they sell an Island or discover oil. Players like Lille’s Moussa Sow, Mario Gomez of Bayern Munich, Serie A duo of Antonio Di Natale and Edinson Cavani as well as Guiseppe Rossi and Kun Aguero could see bids after another tabled to their teams. Just watch out…

And That's thesteifmastertake!!