Golden Shoe 2016-17: Top Goalscorers in Europe, Latest Points Table on March 20 – Bleacher Report

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 19:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou stadium on March 19, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2017

There was plenty of activity in the race for the European Golden Shoe over the weekend, as leader Lionel Messi netted a brace and Bas Dost did the same to take sole possession of second place ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who only found the net once.

Messi helped Barcelona record a 4-2 victory over Valencia, while Dost scored both goals in Sporting CP’s 2-0 win over Nacional, and Aubameyang made the difference as Borussia Dortmund edged out Ingolstadt 1-0.

Just behind the trio is Anthony Modeste, who bagged a hat-trick for FC Cologne as they beat Hertha Berlin 4-2.

Here’s how the race is shaping up thus far:

Rules: Every league in Europe is assigned a difficulty rating by UEFA between one and two, and that rating is multiplied by a player’s goal tally to calculate his total points.

For example, Messi and Aubameyang’s goals are doubled as they are scored in La Liga and the Bundesliga, but Edinson Cavani’s are only worth 1.5 points as that is Ligue 1’s difficulty rating.


Messi Reaches 50 Points

Messi netted his first from the penalty spot to put Barca 2-1 up after Eliaquim Mangala and Luis Suarez had each struck, and he netted again to make it 3-2 when he picked up the ball on the right and fired home an emphatic near-post finish.

The brace not only took him to 25 league goals, but 41 in all competitions, marking yet another astounding milestone from the Argentinian:

Unsurprisingly, he was singled out for praise after the match by La Liga writer Andrew Gaffney:

The 29-year-old is level with last season’s tally and needs just one more to equal it in terms of league goals.

Messi is yet to truly pull away from the chasing pack, but it will take a phenomenal effort for any player to overtake him.


Dost Continues Red Hot Form

Meanwhile, Dost followed up his four goal haul against Tondela with another two as he sank Nacional.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - MARCH 18: Sporting CP forward Bas Dost from Holland (L) with Nacional defender Victor Garcia from Venezuela (R) in action during the Primeira Liga match between Sporting CP and CD Nacional at Estadio Jose Alvalade on March 18, 2017 in L

Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

The Dutch striker has found the net in nine of his last 12 matches, and in those nine he’s struck 16 goals.

As Sporting demonstrated on Twitter, he is by far the Primeira Liga’s top scorer this season:

Dost undoubtedly capitalised on playing the bottom two teams in the division in Sporting’s last two matches, and with Arouca—whose 42 goals conceded is only marginally better than Tondela or Nacional’s defensive records—to come in the next match, he may well find the net again soon.


Modeste and Aubameyang Close Behind

Like Dost, Aubameyang is also in sensational scoring form, as he netted his ninth in five matches in all competitions on Friday to hand Dortmund three points.

Dortmund's Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the German First division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund vs FC Ingolstadt in Dortmund, western Germany on March 17, 2017.


He proved decisive in an otherwise tight contest, converting Marcel Schmelzer’s cutback inside the quarter of an hour mark.

As for Modeste, he netted his second Bundesliga hat-trick of the season to take his tally to 22, the highest league total of his career.

BT Sport’s Archie Rhind-Tutt reflected on his form:

Modeste has less to work with than his rivals and has never reached the kind of total he’s likely to need to win the Golden Shoe this year, so he’s something of an outsider when it comes to picking up the gong.

Regardless, the Frenchman is enjoying the best and most prolific season of his career thus far, which is a significant achievement in itself.  

Golden Shoe 2016-17: Top Goalscorers in Europe, Latest Points Table on March 20 – Bleacher Report