7 Surprising Early Season Contenders for the Much-Coveted European Golden Shoe Award

The European Golden Shoe Award is a step above the Golden Boot Award, as it competes the top scorers from the top division of every European national league against each other. In practice, this tantalising prospect has generally proved to be a rather mundane process, with the same few candidates scooping the award year after year of late. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have both won on four occasions, and only one winner has emerged from outside La Liga in the last decade. A big part of...

Gabriel Jesus - Manchester City

Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aügero's sizzling South American strike partnership is threatening to make a front two trendy again, after playing one up top has been in vogue for a number of years.

While Aügero has scored more goals, his young apprentice Jesus seems the more likely to push for the award this season, and has netted four league goals for the Citizens for far this season.

The 20-year-old is turning into one of Europe's most promising forwards, and he will certainly be among the runners and riders for this year's Golden Shoe award.

Ciro Immobile - Lazio

There has perhaps never been a player so poorly represented by his name as Ciro Immobile, who is one of the most pacy forwards in Europe.

Lazio have played some stunning football so far this season - typified by their 4-1 thrashing of hotly-tipped title challengers AC Milan. Immobile was simply unplayable in this game, bagging a hat-trick while making Leonardi Bonucci look like a brutally hungover Sunday League defender.

Radamel Falcao - Monaco

Fans of Manchester United and Chelsea will be scratching their heads in disbelief over the 'Falcao Conundrum', which has seen the Columbian striker shine in every league bar the Premier League.

Falcao has been in superb form for Monaco so far this season, diligently plugging away with goals while Paris Saint-Germain's superstar signing Neymar makes all the headlines.

The 31-year-old has been rolling back the years with his performances so far this season, having bagged nine goals in six matches already.

Ángel Correa - Atletíco Madrid

Let's be honest, the chances of anyone catching Lionel Messi as La Liga's top scorer this season are starting look rather remote. However, Ángel Correa is starting to show signs of developing into a real goalscoring great at Atletíco Madrid.

The 22-year-old Argentine is often overlooked in a team containing global superstar Antoine Griezmann, but the forward has started this season excellently, scoring three goals for his side so far this campaign.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Borussia Dortmund

After a summer spent treating the hearts of Chelsea and Liverpool fans as mere playthings with Instagram-based transfer teasing, the Gabonese goal-machine has returned to Bundesliga action with gusto, and has scored five goals in his opening five matches for Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang has a knack for going on goalscoring runs, and he looks determined to put himself in the shop window again next summer with a season packed with glorious strikes.

Paulo Dybala - Juventus

When it comes to discussing who will take up the mantle left by Ronaldo and Messi as one of the next best players in the world, Paulo Dybala is often cruelly overlooked.

The 23-year-old Argentine has been in sensational form for Juventus so far this season, scoring eight goals in five games - including two hat-tricks.

What makes Dybala's achievements all the more impressive are that his goal scoring has all come from the number ten position, and he looks set to continue troubling defences all season.

Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United

Romelu Lukaku has made a flying start to his Manchester United career, netting five goals in his side's opening five matches. His boss José Mourinho has given the powerful Belgian his full backing to lead the line for United, and should keep returning hero Zlatan Ibrahimović out of the starting XI with his current goalscoring prolificacy.

With his team creating a constant stream of chances, Lukaku is likely to be amongst the goals throughout the season.

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