The rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has enthralled football fans for over a decade. Both widely considered among the greatest to ever play the game, a constant debate amongst supporters is who is the better player.

One metric often used to compare the two legends is the number of European Golden Shoes each has won over their illustrious careers.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: As of September 2023, Lionel Messi has won more European Golden Shoes than Cristiano Ronaldo, with a tally of 7 to Ronaldo’s 4.

In this comprehensive guide, we will analyze the Golden Shoe wins by both Messi and Ronaldo year-by-year, providing context around their goal-scoring feats over the past 15+ seasons and delivering a decisive answer to the question of who has more golden boots.

Understanding the European Golden Shoe

History and background of the award

The European Golden Shoe is an award given to the top goal scorer in domestic league matches from the top division leagues across Europe. It was first introduced in the 1967-1968 season by French sports magazine L’Equipe.

The idea behind the award was to recognize the most prolific goal scorers in European football.

Over the years, the European Golden Shoe has become one of the most prestigious individual awards in football, with players from different countries and leagues vying for the honor. It has also become a measure of a player’s consistency and goal-scoring prowess.

The award has undergone several changes since its inception. Initially, it was based solely on the number of goals scored by a player in their domestic league. However, in recent years, a coefficient system has been introduced to account for the relative strength of different leagues.

Criteria for winning the Golden Shoe

The criteria for winning the European Golden Shoe are relatively straightforward. The player who scores the most goals in their domestic league is awarded the Golden Shoe. However, the number of goals is not the only factor considered.

A coefficient is applied to the goals scored based on the difficulty of the league. Leagues with a higher coefficient, such as the Premier League or La Liga, are considered more competitive and therefore, goals scored in these leagues are given more weightage.

For example, a goal scored in the Premier League might be multiplied by a coefficient of 2, while a goal scored in a lower-ranked league might be multiplied by a coefficient of 1.5. This ensures that players competing in tougher leagues have a fair chance of winning the award.

It’s also worth noting that only players from UEFA member associations are eligible for the European Golden Shoe. This means that players from leagues outside of Europe, such as the MLS or the Chinese Super League, are not considered for the award.

The European Golden Shoe has been won by some of the greatest players in football history, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez. These players have consistently showcased their goal-scoring abilities and have dominated the award in recent years.

For more information on the European Golden Shoe, you can visit the official website of the award:

Messi’s Golden Shoe Tally

2009-10: First Golden Shoe

It all started in the 2009-2010 season when Lionel Messi won his first Golden Shoe. This prestigious award is given to the top goal scorer in all European leagues. Messi scored an impressive 34 goals in La Liga, earning him the title and marking the beginning of his incredible goal-scoring journey.

2011-12: Record 50 league goals

In the 2011-2012 season, Messi achieved a remarkable feat by scoring 50 goals in La Liga. This not only secured him another Golden Shoe but also set a new record for the most goals scored in a single European league season.

His extraordinary goal-scoring ability left fans and pundits in awe of his talent.

2012-13: Close battle with Ronaldo

The 2012-2013 season witnessed a fierce battle between Messi and his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo for the Golden Shoe. Both players displayed exceptional performances, but Messi ultimately clinched the award with 46 goals in La Liga, edging out Ronaldo by a narrow margin.

This rivalry between the two superstars added an extra layer of excitement to the competition.

2016-17: Messi’s golden run

In the 2016-2017 season, Messi once again proved his prowess by winning his fourth Golden Shoe. With an astounding 37 goals in La Liga, he showcased his consistency and ability to find the back of the net.

Messi’s performances during this period were truly mesmerizing, leaving fans and experts in awe of his talent.

2017-18: Fifth Golden Shoe for Messi

The 2017-2018 season was yet another phenomenal year for Messi as he secured his fifth Golden Shoe. With an impressive tally of 34 goals in La Liga, he reaffirmed his status as one of the greatest goal scorers of all time.

Messi’s ability to consistently perform at such a high level is truly remarkable.

2018-19: Narrowly beats out Mbappe

The 2018-2019 season saw Messi face stiff competition from the young and talented Kylian Mbappe. It was a close race, but Messi managed to secure his sixth Golden Shoe with 36 goals in La Liga. This victory showcased Messi’s ability to maintain his dominance even in the face of rising stars.

2019-20: Seventh Golden Shoe for Messi

In the most recent season, Messi once again proved his goal-scoring prowess by claiming his seventh Golden Shoe. With an astonishing 25 goals in just 33 appearances, he demonstrated his ability to make a significant impact on the pitch.

Messi’s consistency and skill have established him as a legendary figure in the world of football.

Ronaldo’s Golden Shoe Tally

When it comes to individual awards, Cristiano Ronaldo has certainly made his mark. One of the most coveted honors in European football is the Golden Shoe, awarded to the top goal scorer in domestic leagues across Europe.

Ronaldo has won this prestigious award multiple times throughout his career, solidifying his status as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

2007-08: Ronaldo’s first Golden Shoe

Ronaldo’s first Golden Shoe came in the 2007-08 season when he was playing for Manchester United in the English Premier League. He scored an impressive 31 goals in 34 matches, earning him the coveted award. This was just the beginning of Ronaldo’s dominance on the European stage.

2010-11: 41 goals in 34 matches

In the 2010-11 season, Ronaldo had an exceptional campaign with Real Madrid in La Liga. He netted an incredible 41 goals in just 34 matches, averaging more than a goal per game. This outstanding performance allowed him to secure his second Golden Shoe, further cementing his reputation as a prolific goal scorer.

2013-14: Ronaldo finally beats Messi

For years, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had been locked in a fierce battle for individual accolades. In the 2013-14 season, Ronaldo outshone his rival, scoring 31 goals in La Liga. This was enough to claim his third Golden Shoe, breaking Messi’s streak of winning the award for the previous three seasons.

2014-15: Shared award with Luis Suarez

In the 2014-15 season, Ronaldo faced stiff competition from another prolific goal scorer, Luis Suarez of Barcelona. Both players had an exceptional season, scoring 48 goals each in their respective leagues.

As a result, they shared the Golden Shoe, highlighting the exceptional performances of both players that year.

2015-16: Ronaldo’s fourth and final Golden Shoe

Ronaldo’s final Golden Shoe came in the 2015-16 season, once again with Real Madrid in La Liga. He netted an impressive 35 goals in just 36 matches, securing his fourth individual award. This achievement marked Ronaldo’s dominance in European football and his ability to consistently find the back of the net.

Head-to-Head Comparison

Seasons winning Golden Shoe head-to-head

Messi and Ronaldo, two of the greatest footballers of all time, have both been awarded the prestigious Golden Boot multiple times throughout their careers. The Golden Boot is given to the top goal scorer in a European league each season.

Over the years, Messi has won the Golden Shoe more times than Ronaldo, with a record six wins compared to Ronaldo’s four. Messi’s most recent win came in the 2019-2020 season, where he scored an incredible 25 goals in La Liga.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, won his last Golden Shoe in the 2014-2015 season, scoring 48 goals for Real Madrid.

Goals per game ratio comparison

When it comes to comparing their goals per game ratio, Messi edges out Ronaldo. Messi has an impressive career average of 0.81 goals per game in league matches, while Ronaldo has a slightly lower average of 0.73 goals per game.

It’s worth noting that both players have had remarkable goal-scoring seasons, with Messi scoring a record-breaking 91 goals in all competitions during the 2012 calendar year, while Ronaldo scored an incredible 17 goals in the UEFA Champions League during the 2013-2014 season.

League goal totals over the years

In terms of total league goals, Messi has consistently outperformed Ronaldo. As of 2021, Messi has scored over 474 league goals in his career, while Ronaldo has scored around 463 league goals.

It’s important to acknowledge that Messi has spent his entire career at Barcelona, while Ronaldo has played for several top clubs including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and now Juventus. Despite changing teams, both players have managed to maintain their goal-scoring prowess.

Consistency and longevity of scoring feats

One aspect where Messi has an advantage over Ronaldo is the consistency and longevity of his scoring feats. Messi has been a consistent goal scorer throughout his career, consistently hitting the back of the net season after season.

On the other hand, Ronaldo has showcased his ability to adapt his game as he has gotten older, transitioning from a winger to a center forward. This has allowed him to continue scoring goals well into his thirties.

Both players have achieved remarkable success and have left an indelible mark on the world of football. Whether you prefer Messi’s finesse and dribbling skills or Ronaldo’s power and aerial ability, there’s no denying that these two individuals have redefined what it means to be a goal scorer in the modern game.

The Verdict: Messi Has More Golden Boots

When it comes to the prestigious Golden Boot award, Lionel Messi has proven to be the undisputed king. The Argentinean superstar has won the award a record number of times, solidifying his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Messi’s Golden Boot Collection

Since its inception in 1968, the Golden Boot has been awarded to the top goal scorer in European domestic leagues. Messi has won this coveted prize a staggering six times, more than any other player in history.

His first Golden Boot came in the 2010-2011 season, where he scored an incredible 50 goals in La Liga.

Messi’s dominance continued in subsequent seasons, with him repeating his success in the 2012-2013, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 campaigns. Each time, he outscored his rivals and showcased his unparalleled skill and goal-scoring prowess.

Ronaldo’s Golden Boot Achievements

While Lionel Messi has a firm grip on the Golden Boot, his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo is not far behind. The Portuguese forward has won the award four times, an impressive feat in its own right.

Ronaldo’s first Golden Boot came in the 2007-2008 season, during his time with Manchester United. He followed it up with three more triumphs in the 2010-2011, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 seasons, all while playing for Real Madrid.

Although Ronaldo’s goal-scoring ability is unquestionable, he falls short in comparison to Messi when it comes to the number of Golden Boots. However, his achievements are still remarkable and showcase his consistency and impact on the game.

The Battle Continues

The Messi vs Ronaldo debate has been a topic of discussion among football fans for years, and their pursuit of the Golden Boot adds another layer of excitement to their rivalry. While Messi currently holds the advantage in terms of individual accolades, both players continue to push each other to new heights.

It’s worth noting that the Golden Boot is not the only measure of a player’s greatness. Both Messi and Ronaldo have numerous other achievements and records to their names, and their impact on the game goes beyond individual awards.

Whether you’re a Messi fan or a Ronaldo supporter, there’s no denying the sheer brilliance and talent these two football icons possess. The ongoing battle for the Golden Boot is just one aspect of their incredible careers, and fans can only wait in anticipation to see what they will accomplish next.


While the debate over who is the better player remains a matter of subjective opinion amongst fans, the numbers don’t lie – Lionel Messi has collected more European Golden Shoes over his career than Cristiano Ronaldo.

With 7 wins to Ronaldo’s 4, Messi has proven more prolific in league play year after year, edging out Ronaldo and other rivals consistently to claim the coveted Golden Shoe award. This gives Messi a decisive, objective edge over Ronaldo in one aspect of their competitive rivalry, cementing his status as the preeminent goalscorer of his generation.

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