The Barcelona hitman will make it a hat-trick of successive Golden Shoe wins if he manages to outscore his rivals, unless he can be stopped by the likes of Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Goal has rounded up the contenders for this season's European Golden Shoe award as well as favourites and outsiders for the award.
Favourites to win the 2018-19 European Golden Shoe
Messi is on course to win his third consecutive European Golden Shoe award (and sixth overall) after edging out competitors Cristiano Ronaldo and Salah last year, netting 34 goals for Barcelona in La Liga – compared to Salah's 32 for Liverpool, Harry Kane's 30 for Tottenham and the 29 scored, respectively, by the trio of Ciro Immobile, Mauro Icardi and Robert Lewandowski.
The Argentine superstar is among the favourites to retain the Golden Shoe, especially as he has the chance to re-establish himself as top-scorer of La Liga following Ronaldo's sensational move to Juventus.
Ronaldo scored a disappointing – at least for his own standards – 26 goals for Real Madrid in La Liga last season after a slow start where he was suspended for the opening chunk of the campaign. However, he still managed to finish the season as top-scorer of the Champions League with 15 goals.
He finished eighth in the Golden Shoe standings last year but there is no doubt that he will aim to better his tally at Juventus this year. He could establish himself as top-scorer in Serie A for the Italian champions as well as a strong contender to clinch the Golden Shoe title from Messi.
Salah is also another contender to win the Golden Shoe this season with Liverpool after finishing the season as the Premier League top-scorer – narrowly edging out Kane.
The Egyptian international is likely to push on from a successful debut season with the Reds, in a year where he smashed a slew of goalscoring records . He became the Premier League's all-time top-scorer in a 38-game season, and also eclipsed Robbie Fowler's best total in all competitions with his 44 goals.
He also managed to surpass Fernando Torres's record of 33 for the most goals scored by a Liverpool player in their debut season, and has already placed himself as the club's second all-time top-scorer for a single campaign in all competitions behind Ian Rush .
Working against Salah's favour is the fact that the last four Golden Shoe winners have all been won by a La Liga player – either Ronaldo or Messi – with Suarez the last person to have won the award representing a Premier League club (for Liverpool in his last season for the Reds before ultimately signing for Barcelona).
Tottenham talisman Kane is also in the running to win the Golden Shoe, finishing the Premier League season just two goals behind Salah as he was denied a third consecutive Premier League Golden Boot award.
Fresh from a successful World Cup campaign with England and after signing fresh terms with the North London side, the 25-year-old will be eager to beat Salah to not only the Premier League Golden Boot, but the European Golden Shoe as well.
2018-19 European Golden Shoe outsiders
Edinson Cavani scored 28 goals for Paris Saint-Germain last year, placing him as the seventh-highest goalscorer in Europe - ahead of Ronaldo.
The Uruguay international could very well push for winning the Golden Shoe this year, though will find it hard to usurp the likes of Messi and Ronaldo.
Cavani's PSG colleague Neymar is an unlikely contender to win the Golden Shoe, and didn't make it into the top 10 highest-scorers list last season after missing a huge chunk of the campaign due to injury.
Previous European Golden Shoe winners
Messi currently is the holder of the award and is the only player to have won it five times, with Ronaldo having claimed tthe award on four occasions.
Leo also holds the all-time record for goals in a single season with 50 for Barcelona in the 2011–12 season, which accumulated a then-record points haul of 100 points. Messi was also the youngest player to win the award for a second, third, fourth and fifth time.
Suarez is a two-time winner of the award, lifting it at both Liverpool and Barcelona.
Only Ally McCoist (1991–92, 1992–93), Thierry Henry (2003–04, 2004–05), Lionel Messi (2011–12, 2012–13 and 2016–17, 2017–18), and Cristiano Ronaldo (2013–14, 2014–15) have won the award in consecutive years.
|2017-18||Argentina||Lionel Messi (5)||Barcelona||La Liga||34|
|2016-17||Argentina||Lionel Messi (4)||Barcelona||La Liga||37|
|2015-16||Uruguay||Luis Suarez (2)||Barcelona||La Liga||40|
|2014-15||Portugal||Cristiano Ronaldo (4)||Real Madrid||La Liga||48|
|2013-14||Portugal||Cristiano Ronaldo (3)||Real Madrid||La Liga||31|
|2013-14||Uruguay||Luis Suarez||Liverpool||Premier League||31|
|2012-13||Argentina||Lionel Messi (3)||Barcelona||La Liga||46|
|2011-12||Argentina||Lionel Messi (2)||Barcelona||La Liga||50|
|2010-11||Portugal||Cristiano Ronaldo (2)||Real Madrid||La Liga||40|
|2009-10||Argentina||Lionel Messi||Barcelona||La Liga||34|
|2008-09||Uruguay||Diego Forlan||Atletico Madrid||La Liga||32|