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The unsung prize

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Goals. A big part of football. To win games goals are a must and they surely don’t come easy. That’s the reason why teams go big when they want to bring in an attacker who will make sure that the ball ends up in the back of the net.

When it comes to individual awards given for the goalscorer’s efforts, Europe’s top leagues have their own Golden Boot that they distribute to their highest scorers. But then there’s just one Golden Shoe that is awarded to the highest scorer in Europe.

The race for 2022/23 Golden Shoe has well and truly begun and it looks like better than ever. Some of Europe’s best forwards are in the running this year for the award, with the usual mix of some surprise packages. Robert Lewandowski has won it in the last two seasons, with Karim Benzema his closest competitor on both those occasions.

The Polish international won it at a canter last season while he was at Bayern Munich. This season, he swapped the Allianz Arena for Camp Nou after his blockbuster switch to Barcelona. With the catch this year being that new names have entered the fray, the 2022/23 European Golden Shoe race will go down to the wire. FootTheBall take a look at some of the leading contenders for this year’s award.


Erling Haaland: Manchester City – 27 goals

Of course, it had to be him. Ever since his move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City earlier this season, the Norwegian has been banging goals for fun for the Etihad outfit. Haaland’s form may have taken a dip post World Cup, even then his stats come under the elite bracket.

The Manchester City striker had scored 3 hattricks in his first 8 Premier League appearances and hasn’t looked back since. With 27 goals already to his name and more than half the season still to go, expect more fireworks from the tall striker.


Victor Osimhen: Napoli – 19 goals

What a fairytale run it has been for Osimhen over the last couple of seasons. After his move from Lille to Napoli in 2020 for a club-record fee, the Nigerian failed to justify the price tag in his first season. The reason behind this was an injury-hit period in his first season, and thus he could not gain any momentum during that phase.

The following season is where he really began to shine for Napoli under now-manager Luciano Spalletti. The Italian manager has transformed Napoli into title contenders and Osimhen has played a huge part in it. With 19 league goals, the European Golden Shoe is well within reach for the Nigerian forward.


Harry Kane: Tottenham Hotspur – 18 goals

The England striker had to be on this list. After recently scoring his 200th Premier League goal for Spurs, Harry Kane has stamped his authority as a Premier League legend. Although he is yet to win any silverware with the North London club, his goal-scoring exploits don’t seem to slow down.

He has also developed his game according to the modern-day demands of a football game, dropping deep in the midfield and linking up plays. His performances might have been overshadowed by the goals of Haaland, but his hunger for more has never been more evident.


Kylian Mbappe: PSG – 17 goals

A World Cup winner and runner-up at just 23 years of age. That’s how good Jylian Mbappe has been. He might have fallen just short in the recent Qatar World Cup, although he did end up winning the Golden boot with 9 goals in the tournament.

The Frenchman has carried that form over at PSG and his linkup with Neymar and Messi has been nothing but a pleasure to the human eye. With 17 goals already for the capital club, Mbappe is well on course to win the Ligue 1 Golden Boot. But only time will tell if he can catch up in the race for the European Golden Shoe.


Honourable mentions:

Robert Lewandowski: Barcelona – 15 goals

Folarin Balogun: Reims – 15 goals

Jonathan David: Lille – 15 goals


Arnold Lewis
A hardcore Chelsea fan, who is often found playing football on the weekends. He has an exceptional voice and his rendition of old Hindi classic songs will make your heart melt. He is the man with the funky hair.

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