BARCELONA: Lionel Messi received his record fifth Golden Shoe award for leading all of Europe’s football leagues in scoring last season.
Messi’s fifth win breaks the tie he had with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi scored 34 goals in La Liga last season to lead Barcelona to the title. Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was the second leading scorer of Europe’s domestic leagues with 32 goals in the English Premier League.
Ronaldo, who has won the award four times, hit 26 goals in 52 matches for Real Madrid.
Messi also won the award in 2009-10 (34 goals), 2011-12 (50), 2012-13 (46) and 2016-17 (37).
The Argentina forward currently leads Europe’s top leagues with 14 goals this season.
“The truth is I had no idea this would happen when I started,” Messi said after being presented with his latest prize. “I dreamt of playing professional football and enjoying success, I love the game, but I never imagined I would have so much.
“I enjoy the work, the effort, I’m at the best team in the world and play with the best team-mates in the world, so everything is easier.”
The ceremony was attended by Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, as well as fellow players like Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto.
Messi also discussed Monday’s Champions League draw, which pitted Barca against Olympique Lyonnais in the round-of-16.
“Lyon will be a complicated opponent,” Messi said. “Even if they are not known as one of the strongest teams, they are dangerous as they showed against Manchester City, one of the best teams in the world.
“It will be difficult to go through, but the opportunity is there for us. We have several Frenchmen in the team like Samuel Umtiti and Malcom, who played in France, so perhaps they can help as well.”
The 31-year-old Messi is Barca’s all-time leading scorer. The club credit him with 572 goals in 655 games.
The Golden Shoe is awarded by European Sports Media, an association of European sports newspapers and magazines.