Starting from Eusebio’s win in 1967/68 to 2007/08, there were a whopping 35 different winners of the prestigious Golden Boot – the award given to the top scorer of the top five leagues.
During that timeline, nobody lifted the award more than twice. The consisted of no more than seven players — Gerd Muller, Eusebio, Dudu Georgescu, Fernando Gomes, Ally McCoist, Mario Jardel, and Thierry Henry.
However, after that, we witnessed an unprecedented level of goalscoring dominance, starring none other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The former won it following the 2007/08 season, before quadrupling his tally by 2014/15. During that same time, Lionel Messi went above and beyond, winning it a bizarre six times. Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan managed to triumph twice as well, before Robert Lewandowski went two-for-two during 2020/21 and 2021/22.
This season, though, the race is more open than ever. There is an apparent leader at this time – Erling Haaland with ten goals, but the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe are not far behind.
Karim Benzema seems to have picked up an injury, but will be back in no time, returning to his scoring ways. Can’t forget Harry Kane either, while Sadio Mane, Dusan Vlahovic, and Neymar are excellent outside shouts.
Barça Universal ranks the five leading candidates for the 2022/23 Golden Boot.
1. Erling Haaland
The most clinical striker in the team that creates the most chances. Sometimes football is really that simple. Some doubted Haaland’s fit in Pep Guardiola’s team, but the Norwegian has gotten off to a flying start in Manchester City colors already.
He has ten goals in the Premier League in six games, scoring at an absurd rate of a goal every 81 minutes. Pep has been liberal with rotations as well, giving Haaland no more than 81 minutes on average per game.
Not to forget, he will stay back in Manchester during the World Cup and, ideally, under these conditions, should stay mostly fit through the season. Not much stopping him from getting his first Golden Boot trophy.
2. Kylian Mbappe
Our second shout in this list is Haaland’s long-term competition for the throne – Kylian Mbappe. After a ton of drama regarding his transfer in the summer, the Frenchman decided to stay at PSG and has made the most of his time since.
With seven goals in five games, Mbappe is the joint-second-highest scorer in Europe, and will ideally build on this. With elite creators like Neymar and Lionel Messi behind him, we can expect him to make a strong case to finish as the top scorer.
3. Robert Lewandowski
He is the defending champion of the Golden Boot, but will have more trouble than before retaining the trophy. With five goals in four games, Lewa has had a comfortable start to life in Barcelona, but could experience some turbulence as the season goes on.
Despite not being in the most clinical form to open the season (six big chances missed), Lewa could give the youngsters a run for their money when the going gets going.
4. Harry Kane
There is definitely a bridge between the podium picks and fourth-placed Harry Kane, but the Englishman has rediscovered his best version this year.
He has also started 2022/23 where he left off the previous season, but with Champions League and World Cup action – and no real rotations in Antonio Conte’s sight -, will he be able to do enough to compete with the very best?
5. Neymar Jr
Neymar could be a highly confusing pick for the award, but deserves his place in this list on merit. With seven goals (and six assists) in six games, the Brazilian is arguably the best player in Europe right now.
The only question mark in his file will be fitness. If Christopher Galtier can rotate his leading lads well enough, there is no reason for Neymar not to break his own scoring record this season.