Being the leading goal scorer in Europe is not an easy feat to achieve. With so many top clubs across the continent, competition to take the Golden Boot title is highly competitive. Each year, the European Sports media recognizes the top scorer on a weighted league system, where a player in a higher profile league can win even if they score fewer goals than a weaker league.
Fresh off the announcement that Lionel Messi picked up his second consecutive European Golden Boot (or shoe) award (and third in 4 seasons), we take a look at the boots that helped him get there, as well as the past 10 winners.
Total Goals: 30
Boots Worn: Nike Mercurial Vapor II
This was the season when Arsenal became known as the 'Invincibles' by completing an unbeaten season. Henry was pivotal in pretty much everything that happened during that season and his 30 goals were instrumental. We also remember the boots he was wearing and recognize them as one of the best performing ever released. The Nike Mercurial Vapor II is still one of those boots that players crave. Built to be explosive, they were ahead of their time when released.
Thierry Henry and Diego Forlan
Total Goals: 25
Club: Arsenal / Villareal
Boots Worn: Nike Mercurial Vapor II / adidas F50
Henry stuck with his trusty Vapor II series as he headed into the 2004/05 season, with similar goal scoring results. Forlan was a man on a mission to having just made the transfer from Manchester United to Villareal. In England, he failed to live up to expectations but that all changed in Spain. While scoring those 25 goals, he was wearing the adidas F50 TUNiT, the first boot created with interchangeable studs. In other words, you had the option of switching from an FG configuration to an SG in the same boot. It made for a great way to accommodate playing with one pair of boots in different conditions!
Total Goals: 31
Boots Worn: Lotto Zhero+
For a big, tall striker, Luca Toni proved he was well able to score all types of goals during this season. Some came from his head, others from tidy, nifty footwork. He was almost like the 2005 version of Zlatan Ibrahimovich for those of you up to speed with the modern game. Being a traditional Italian, he wore a pair of Lotto Zhero+. Italy has continually been the leading source of Lotto wearing players, and the Zhero+ was an extremely popular choice with pro players. As one of the original Zhero releases, Lotto has continued to develop on the range and the range still currently lives on.
Total Goals: 26
Club: AS Roma
Boots Worn: Diadora LX-Pro
Love him or hate him, Totti is one of the smartest players to ever play the game. Still going strong in the Itialian game, he experienced one of his best seasons in 2006/07. Again with the Italian connection, Totti wore Diadora nearly the entire span of his career (their contract expired in 2012). The Diadora LX-Pro was about as traditional as you would expect. It featured a soft and supple k-leather upper with a fine-tuned FG stud configuration. There has never been anything overly exciting about Diadora boots, but they have been consistent in comfort and performance.
Total Goals: 31
Club: Manchester United
Boots Worn: Nike Mercurial Vapor IV
During his most emphatic season at Manchester United, CR scored an impressive 31 league goals in 34 games. It proved to be the catalyst to helping him land his first Ballon d’Or award. On his feet, Ronaldo was wearing the Nike Vapor IV a boot designed for fast paced players who likes dribbling and pulling off tricks. Ideal for Ronaldo! This was one of the first high profile releases to feature a Soft, supple Teijin synthetic upper.
Total Goals: 32
Club: Atletico Madrid
Boots Worn: adidas F50.9
Having proven his worth with Villareal, Forlan moved on to Atletico Madrid where he continued with his hot goal scoring form in La Liga. He also managed to score 12 goals in the final eight games of the season and secure a Champions League spot for Atletico. Falling in line with his 2005 award, Forlan was again sporting the adidas F50 range. This version, the F50.9, featured a seamless lace cover that was supposed to provide an optimal fit and a clean kicking surface. It also featured an engineered lightweight microfiber synthetic AdiGrip upper for a soft, glove-like fit and improved ball touch in wet conditions.
Total Goals: 34
Boots Worn: adidas F50 TUNiT
Lionel Messi won his first Golden Boot award while wearing two boots, the F50 TUNiT and the F50 adiZero that was released in February 2010. Since Messi has won three Golden Boot awards, we wanted to focus in on the TUNiT that he wore, especially as they were the boots that set the tone for his season. With the TUNiT, you had the opportunity to choose what type of upper and stud configuration you wanted to wear, in different situations. We know Messi is all about leather, so that was his primary choice while he wore them. If there was a major complaint about the TUNiT, it was related to its bulky nature. Adidas addressed this with the introduction of the adiZero.
Total Goals: 40
Club: Real Madrid
Boots Worn: Nike Superfly II
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a very emphatic 40 goals in 34 games to take the 2011 title. It didn’t help Real lift the La Liga title, but it did catapult Ronaldo into a new bracket of player. His world class goalscorer has actually continually improved, but during this season he was wearing the Nike Superfly II. What makes the Superfly so uniue is the fact it is seen to be the older brother of the Nike Mercurial Vapor VII. Built using innovative FlyWire technology and using a Carbon Fiber soleplate, the Superfly offered premium performance but in a high priced package – it took $400 to secure a pair!
Total Goals: 50
Boots Worn: adidas F50 adiZero
What a season this was for Messi, as he amassed a phenomenal half century of goals in league play. In keeping with adidas desire to create more highly advanced boots, miCoach technology was introduced into the soleplate of the F50 adiZero. This technology allows players to track their in-game performance stats. Messi, was as you would imagine, front and center of all advertising of the technology. The boot itself weighed in at less than 6oz, ensuring the adiZero range was one of the lightest on the market.
Total Goals: 46
Boots Worn: adidas F50 adiZero
As you might have noticed there is a trend with Messi’s choice of boots. With each Golden Boot he has won, the F50 adiZero has been on his feet. By the 2012/13 season, when Messi again illustrated his tag as world’s greatest ever player, adidas had released several custom designs for Messi and his boots are slightly different to the regularly released boot. This was primarily through the forefoot and with the colorway employed. An interesting note is that Messi has been highly involved with each adiZero release and all advertising has featured the Synthetic version of the boot. Messi, though, prefers the leather version and that is what he wears in-game.