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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Barcelona's Lionel Messi all but certain of retaining European Golden Shoe

Barcelona star Lionel Messi looks set to retain the European Golden Shoe as the top scorer on the continent, holding off Liverpool's Mohamed Salah for the award.

A little over a month ago, Salah was the firm favourite to outscore all of his rivals across Europe but the Liverpool man has just four Premier League goals to his name since the end of March, and Messi has answered that with eight in La Liga.

With 34 goals in his domestic league, Messi leads Salah by two, with the Egypt international only managing to score once against Brighton on Sunday. Tottenham's Harry Kane is third and finished on 30 goals.

Lazio's Ciro Immobile and Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich are in fourth with 29 goals. The Italy forward still has a game to play, at home to Inter Milan, but needs five goals to equal Messi's current tally.

Messi, who was rested for Barca's streak-snapping 5-4 loss at Levante on Sunday, still has to take on Real Sociedad next weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi of Inter are a further goal back with one game to play.

The Golden Shoe table is ranked on points rather than goals, with goals scored in Europe's top five leagues worth two points. Jonas of Benfica has scored 34 league goals this term, but strikes in the Portuguese league are only worth 1.5 points, which places him eighth in the standings.

Messi has already won the award four times. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has won it four times, too -- the first coming with Manchester United in 2007-08. 

Since 2008, La Liga has provided 11 of the 12 winners, with Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan the other player from Spain to top the chart in 2008-09.

This season, Ronaldo sits in ninth with 25 goals, tied with Barcelona's Luis Suarez who rounds out the top 10.

The top 10:

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona, 68 points (34 goals)
2. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool, 64 points (32)
3. Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur, 60 (30)
4. Ciro Immobile, Lazio, 58 (29)
4. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich, 58 (29)
6. Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain, 56 (28)
6. Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan, 56 (28)
8. Jonas, Benfica, 51 (34)
9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, 50 (25)
9. Luis Suarez, Barcelona, 50 (25)

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