European Golden Shoe 2018/19: Lionel Messi scores a brace against Eibar to stay at the top of the race
What's the story?
In case you didn't know
The race for the European Golden shoe has largely been dominated by the Argentine this season. With Cristiano Ronaldo enduring a moderate season by his standards in Italy, Messi found a new competitor in Kylian Mbappe for the European top scorer award.
The Argentine has won the award for the last two seasons in succession and is looking at a hattrick of awards this time. The Frenchman, on the other hand, is aiming to put his name on the coveted award for the first time.
Before the start of the weekend's games, Mbappe had pushed Messi to the final few weeks of the season, staying on track and within reach of the Barcelona Skipper. On Saturday, the Frenchman scored a brace, taking his tally to 32 league goals for the season, with one game in the Ligue 1 left. The onus, as such, was on Messi to respond in the final matchday of the LaLiga season. Messi had 34 league goals himself and went into the game against Eibar looking for some comfort space.
The heart of the matter
Contrary to all expectations, Eibar started the game stronger and were a goal up in the 20th minute through Cucurella, the Barcelona youngster on loan to the home side. However, in the 31st minute, Messi received a ball from Vidal and expertly slid it under Dmitrovic and into the back of the net. Barcelona were level!
A minute later, Rakitic found Messi right at the halfway line, unmarked and ready to pounce. The Argentinean sped through half of the field, drew his marker and Dmitrovic close to him, before sending in a perfect chip to get his team ahead in the game. Sadly, Barcelona could not hold on to the lead and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Even though the Catalans failed to end their season with a win, Messi's brace helped the Argentine rebuild the 4 goal gap with Mbappe. The Barcelona Skipper has now scored 36 LaLiga goals and has the advantage in the European Golden Shoe race right now. In order to win the award, Mbappe now needs to score 4 goals or more in PSG's last game of the season, against Stade Reims, next weekend.
Barcelona face Valencia next weekend in the final of the Copa Del Ray. Before the start of the game, though, the 2018/19 European Golden Shoe race will have its winner.