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The Portuguese scored a sumptuous goal to maintain his position as the continent's most prolific attacker this season, while Lionel Messi kept up the pace with a stunning free-kick

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is at the top of the Golden Shoe table once again after another week of European football as he scored with a brilliant backheel against Rayo Vallecano in his team's narrow 1-0 win on Sunday.

The strike was the Portuguese star's 29th of the season, and keeps him two points clear of his closest rival, Lionel Messi. The Argentine, however, matched Ronaldo's majestic effort with a delightful free-kick against Atletico Madrid, which gave his Barcelona side a dramatic 2-1 win.

Robin van Persie, meanwhile, moved level on points with Trans Narva's goal-scoring behemoth Aleksandrs Cekulajevs, with a wonderfully curled effort in Arsenal's 5-2 victory over north London rivals Tottenham.

Seydou Doumbia returned to CSKA Moscow following his unsuccessful Africa Cup of Nations campaign with Cote d'Ivoire, but with the Russian Premier League on hiatus, the Ivorian remains on 36 points, and was joined at sixth place by Antonio Di Natale. The diminutive Italian scored a penalty as his Udinese side won 3-1 away at Bologna.

Klass-Jan Huntelaar, Mario Gomez and Wayne Rooney didn't net this weekend in Germany and England respectively, and make up the remainder of the top 10.

Rank Player          
Country Club League Weight Goals Points
1 C. Ronaldo POR
Real Madrid
ESP 2
29
58
2
L. Messi
ARG
Barcelona
ESP 2 28
56
3
A Cekulajevs LVA Trans* EST 1 46
46

R. v Persie
NED
Arsenal
ENG
2
23
46
5
B. Yilmaz TUR
Trabzonspor
TUR
1.5 29
43.5
6 S. Doumbia
CIV
CSKA
RUS
1.5
24
36

M. Gomez
GER
Bayern
GER
2 18
36

K. Huntelaar NED Schalke
GER 2 18
36

A. Di Natale
ITA Udinese ITA 2 18
36
10
W. Rooney ENG
Man Utd
ENG 2 17
34
* = league season finished

History & How It Works

In 1967-68, French football magazine L'Equipe opted to hand out an award to the top goalscorer in all European leagues for his good performances during the season. Between 1968 and 1991, high profile names such as Eusebio, Gerd Muller, Ian Rush and Marco van Basten won the coveted trophy.

However, the gap between big and small leagues started to grow in the early 90s and L'Equipe decided to make the competition unofficial after the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) issued a protest in 1991. Darko Pancev won the award that season with 34 goals, but the CFA claimed that a player had scored 40 goals in Cyprus that term.

Adidas, sponsor of the awards, still handed out the trophy until 1996 before European Sports Magazine (with L'Equipe as a member) decided to make the title official again. ESM divided all European leagues in three groups according to strength, and attached to each group a quotient by which the number of goals is multiplied to obtain the player's rating. The European Golden Shoe was thus no longer necessarily handed to the top goalscorer, but to the player with the most points.

The weightings are determined by the league's ranking on the Uefa coefficients, which in turn depend on the results of each league's clubs in European competition over the previous five seasons. Goals scored in the top five leagues according to the Uefa coefficients are multiplied by a factor of two, and goals scored in the leagues ranked six to 21 are multiplied by 1.5. Goals in all other leagues are all worth one single point.

This measure has prevented players from so-called weaker leagues from winning the European Golden Shoe, since a goal scored in, for example, Armenia, Estonia or Azerbaijan, carries less weight than a goal scored in Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga or the Premier League.

Players such as Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Forlan and Lionel Messi have won the European Golden Shoe in the past few seasons.

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