Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo moves level with Trans Narva star Aleksandrs Cekulajevs in the race for the Golden Shoe

The Portuguese netted two penalties as his team swept Athletic Bilbao aside to move to the summit of the rankings, with Lionel Messi hot on his heels
Two penalties in Real Madrid's 4-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao saw Cristiano Ronaldo draw level with Trans Narva star Aleksandrs Cekalujevs in the race for the Golden Shoe.

The Latvian, plying his trade in the Estonian league, has scored an incredible 46 goals this season, and led the table until the Portuguese star's double.

A Lionel Messi hat-trick in Barcelona's thrashing of Malaga ensured that the Argentine remained hot on the heels of his nemesis, and saw the 24-year-old pull away from Robin van Persie, who managed a solitary strike in Arsenal's 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United.

CSKA Moscow's Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia finished the Russian season with 24 goals, and currently sits in fifth place, while Trabzonspor's Burak Yilmaz scored his 22nd goal during his side's shock defeat to Karabukspor.

Bundesliga duo Mario Gomez and Klaas Jan Huntelaar have taken their battle for the domestic Golden Boot to the European stage, and the Bayern Munich man sits two points ahead of his Schalke counterpart, with the Dutchman level on points with Newcastle's Demba Ba.

Manchester City's big money signing Sergio Aguero is in 10th place courtesy of 14 goals to date in his debut Premier League season.

Rank Player          
Country Club League Weight Goals Points
1 A Cekulajevs
LAT
Trans Narva
EST 1 46
46

C. Ronaldo POR
Real Madrid
ESP 2 23 46
3
L. Messi ARG
Barcelona
ESP 2 22
44
4
R. v Persie
NED
Arsenal
ENG
2
19
38
5
S. Doumbia
CIV
CSKA
RUS
1.5 24
36
6 B. Yilmaz
TUR
Trabzonspor
TUR
1.5
22
33
7 M. Gomez
GER
Bayern
GER
2 16
32
8
Demba Ba
SEN Newcastle
ENG
2 15
30

K. Huntelaar
NED
Schalke
GER
2 15
30
10
S. Aguero
ARG
Man City
ENG
2 14
28
* = 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 90's 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 the 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, 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.