Rediff.com  » Sports » Messi is Europe's top scorer for 3rd straight year

Messi is Europe's top scorer for 3rd straight year

Last updated on: May 25, 2019 11:05 IST

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Lionel Messi emerged to the leading scorer in league matches in Europe's top divisions for a record-extending sixth time after finding the net 36 times for Barcelona. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Lionel Messi has become the first player to win Europe's Golden Shoe award for three straight years after his nearest challenger Kylian Mbappe failed to score the four goals he needed in Paris St Germain's final league match of the season on Friday.

 

Messi earned the honour, which goes to the leading scorer in league matches in Europe's top divisions, for a record-extending sixth time after finding the net 36 times for Barcelona, while Mbappe ended the campaign on 33 goals after scoring PSG's only goal in a 3-1 loss at Stade de Reims.

While Messi's goal haul helped his side clinch the La Liga title last month the 31-year-old Argentine said earlier on Friday that he was not giving the Golden Shoe race much thought with the side still coming to terms with their Champions League semi-final elimination to Liverpool.

"I haven't been thinking about that prize at all, we are still coping with what happened against Liverpool and I'm not thinking about personal awards," Messi told a news conference ahead of Saturday's Copa del Rey final against Valencia.

PSG finish season on sour note with Reims defeat

Champions Paris St Germain ended their Ligue 1 season on a sour note when they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Stade de Reims on Friday as keeper Gianluigi Buffon was far from his best.

Buffon started in place of Alphonse Areola and pulled off a couple of good saves as Reims tried to hit PSG on the break before things went downhill for the Italian veteran.

PSG were punished at the end of a counter attack in the 36th minute when Abdul Rahman Baba found the back of the net with an angled shot that went between Buffon's legs.

Mathieu Cafaro doubled Reims' tally in the 56th minute with a powerful shot from just inside the box that caught Buffon off guard.

Kylian Mbappe, who needed four goals to match Lionel Messi's league tally of 36 for Barcelona this season, was toothless until he finally came to life and reduced the arrears three minutes later from close range.

That was Mbappe's 33rd goal in Ligue 1 this season, the most by a Frenchman in the top-flight since Philippe Gondet netted 36 times for Nantes in 1966.

Pablo Chavarria, however, put the result beyond doubt when he added a third for Reims in stoppage time.

PSG finished on 91 points while Reims ended with 55 points in eighth place.

Wenger says his football future may not be in management

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger wants to return to football soon but says he is at a crossroads and is not sure if he should take up another role as manager.

Wenger left Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 season after 22 years in charge of the London club where he won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups.

The 69-year-old has kept himself busy as a television pundit and conference speaker since leaving the Gunners and said in October that he had received offers to return to football from all over the world.

"You will see me again in football. As a manager... I don't know," Wenger told reporters on Thursday. "I thought I would come back into management very quickly but I enjoyed taking a little distance. Now I'm at a crossroads.

"Football is still my passion. I'll come back soon, but I cannot tell you exactly in what capacity."

The Frenchman also described the nearly 6,000-mile round trip fans would have to make from London to Baku for next week's Europa League final as a "nightmare".

Arsenal face London rivals Chelsea in the Azerbaijan capital on Wednesday with victory guaranteeing Wenger's former club a spot in the Champions League, but European soccer governing body UEFA has been roundly criticised for its choice of venue.

"It's a little bit of a nightmare (for supporters)," Wenger said. "The teams have no problem. They live in ideal conditions, they have their private jets."

Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not travel with the team after the Armenian national decided to skip the final amid concerns over his safety due to political tensions between Azerbaijan and his native country.

"(Mkhitaryan's situation) is something that should not happen in football," Wenger added. "I feel it's not normal that in 2019 -- inside Europe with very sophisticated democracies -- that you cannot play for political reasons."

SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT