It may still be early in the season but Harry Kane’s record-breaking beginning at Bayern Munich gives him a great start to become only England’s second European Golden Shoe winner.
The European Golden Shoe is awarded to the top scorer in any of Europe’s top flights in a season – but there is a caveat.
The goals are weighted, so players in the top five European leagues see their goals count double, the leagues ranked sixth to 22nd are at 1.5 times and the lower ranked divisions’ players’ goals count just once.
So in theory a League of Ireland or Estonian Meistriliiga player could win it, although he might have to score about 70 or 80 goals.
The only English player to win it before was Sunderland’s Kevin Phillips in 1999-2000. At the bottom of this piece there is a quiz to see if you can name the other winners since.
But first we look at where Kane stands and who his main rivals are this season.
How is Kane doing?
Kane is the top scorer in Europe’s top five leagues this season but he is not actually top of the European Golden Shoe race yet (more on that in a minute).
Bayern’s summer signing from Tottenham has scored 17 goals in his first 11 Bundesliga games, something no player has managed before.
Remarkably he would already have won last season’s Bundesliga Golden Boot with that total. Niclas Fullkrug and Christopher Nkunku shared the 2022-23 top scorer trophy with 16 goals each.
Were Kane to keep up this goalscoring run, however unlikely that is, he would end the season with 52 goals.
The record for Bundesliga goals in a season is Robert Lewandowski’s 41, which was only set in 2021.
Kane has never been close to the Golden Shoe before. His best scoring season of 30 would not have won the award since 2007.
Who is leading the Golden Shoe race?
There is one player above Kane – but you might be forgiven for not being familiar with his work.
There is something we haven’t mentioned yet, you see. The competition includes 2023 summer leagues.
Amahl Pellegrino, an uncapped 33-year-old, has scored 23 goals in 27 games for Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt this season.
With goals in that league multiplied by 1.5, he has 34.5 points – 0.5 above Kane. But Pellegrino’s team only have five games left this season – so Kane (or someone else) will overtake him soon enough.
It is being reported in some places that Akor Adams is top through a loophole, but BBC Sport has confirmed that not all his goals count.
The Nigerian scored 15 goals in 15 games for Lillestrom in Norway’s top flight… and then moved to French side Montpellier, where he has scored another seven in 11 games.
That would put him top with 36.5 points, but European Sports Media, which runs the award, does not count goals from a winter and summer league combined – so only his Montpellier goals are factored in.
Who are Kane’s rivals?
The nearest player to Kane (and Pellegrino of course) so far is another Bundesliga player, in Serhou Guirassy.
The 27-year-old Stuttgart player has scored 15 Bundesliga goals in nine games (missing two matches through injury) – which makes it the best season of his career for goals already.
However, he is likely to miss some games in January if he is named in Guinea’s Africa Cup of Nations squad.
Next are two players on 13 goals – Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland.
Next season French league goals might only count 1.5 times – because Ligue 1 has slipped to sixth in Uefa’s rankings – but for this season Mbappe still gets his goals doubled.
Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez has had a flying start to the season too on 12 Serie A goals.
La Liga’s top scorer is Kane’s England team-mate, Jude Bellingham, who has hit 10 goals in his first season for Real Madrid. Mohamed Salah of Liverpool also has 10 league goals.
The only player, other than Pellegrino, to score more than 20 goals for one team this season is Solvi Vatnhamar.
The 37-year-old scored 21 goals for Vikingur Gota in his native Faroe Islands – where the season has already ended – but that only equates to 10.5 major-league goals.
So those are the contenders for this year’s Golden Shoe, but who won in previous years?
Take our quiz to see how many you can name since the last English winner in 2000.
For joint winners, you can pick either one. And some of the answers will give you a few correct scores…
Can you name these European Golden Shoe winners?
Score: 0 / 23
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