Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick for Barcelona on Sunday to overtake Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Shoe.
Salah failed to scored as Liverpool drew 0-0 with Stoke City, and he’s now a goal behind Messi, who put in a sensational effort as Barca beat Deportivo La Coruna 4-2.
Behind them, Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi added to their tallies.
Here are the standings:
1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona: 32 goals x 2.0 difficulty factor = 64.0 points
2. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool: 31 x 2.0 = 62.0
3. Ciro Immobile, Lazio: 29 x 2.0 = 58.0
4. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich: 28 x 2.0 = 56.0
T5. Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain: 27 x 2.0 = 54.0
T5. Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan: 27 x 2.0 = 54.0
7. Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur: 26 x 2.0 = 52.0
8. Jonas, Benfica: 33 x 1.5 = 49.5
9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: 24 x 2.0 = 48.0
10. Luis Suarez, Barcelona: 23 x 2.0 = 46.0
Rules: Every European league has been assigned a difficulty rating by UEFA, between one and two. The rating is then multiplied by a player’s goal tally to calculate his overall points total.
For example, each of Europe’s top five leagues has a difficulty rating of two, and so goals scored in those leagues are worth double. Jonas’ goals in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, however, are worth just 1.5 points each as that is the league’s rating.
Messi killed two birds with one stone against Deportivo, as he not only surpassed Salah in the Golden Shoe stakes, he also sealed Barcelona’s seventh La Liga title in 10 years.
After Philippe Coutinho’s opener, Messi volleyed home Luis Suarez’s cross to reach 30 league goals for the season. It marked the seventh time he has reached that tally in La Liga.
Deportivo pulled level when Lucas Perez and Emre Colak replied, but the Argentinian struck twice more—both assisted by Suarez—in the 81st and 84th minutes to secure the win.
Former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker remarked on his achievement:
As for Salah, it was not his or Liverpool’s day on Saturday. Stoke have shipped 65 goals this season—a record better only than West Ham United’s in the Premier League—but the Reds never quite got going.
The Egyptian did have one gilt-edged chance to score just five minutes in. However, he did not even manage to hit the target after being sent one-on-one with Jack Butland.
Per WhoScored.com, Salah has missed a number of chances this season:
He has put away far more than he has missed, of course, and while he has occasionally been wasteful this season, it’s a testament to the positions he has put himself in and his team’s ability to create opportunities for him.
Behind the pair, Cavani struck twice as Paris Saint-Germain came back to draw 2-2 with Guingamp. First, the Uruguayan converted a penalty—despite Jimmy Briand’s foul on Giovani Lo Celso appearing to occur outside the box—and he then netted a diving header, achieving a landmark in the process:
It’s likely too little too late for Cavani in terms of the Golden Shoe, as he’s still five goals behind Messi with three Ligue 1 matches remaining.
The Barcelona man has the initiative in the race now, as he’ll have four more chances to add to his tally, while his closest competitor Salah will have just two.