For years we have been enthralled and captivated by the rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, that the only question on our minds was this: Who is the better player?

But in hindsight, most would agree that instead of comparing them, we should’ve celebrate them for who they were and been grateful to have witnessed one of the greatest, if not, the greatest rivalry in the footballing world.

And now that Ronaldo has moved on to Juventus, the intense rivalry has died down, but there still remain burning embers of a classic competition. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is Messi’s dominance over the award that he has a stranglehold on – the European Golden Boot.

Awarded to the player that scores the most league goals in the top divisions of Europe, Messi is the only player to have won it a record five times. He is also the only player have scored the most goals in a league season, with 50 goals in 2011-12. Ronaldo is second on the list with four Golden boots.

And while this season Ronaldo isn’t up there with the goals, there certainly hasn’t been a lack of competition as PSG’s Kylian Mbappe is hot on Messi’s heels for the honor. Currently, Messi stands on 34 goals while Mbappe is closely behind on 30.

The 20-year-old Frenchman has been in blistering form for his club, scoring goals for fun and terrorizing defenses with his superhuman pace. But his youth, exuberance and rash decision-making may have cost him a showdown with Messi for the Golden Boot.

In PSG’s shock penalty shootout defeat to Rennes in the Coupe de France final, Mbappe saw red for a high, horrible and potentially career ending tackle on Rennes player Da Silva.

The consequence of that was a three-match ban for the wonderkid, with just five league games to go for him. This means that Mbappe only has two games left to play as he looks to overhaul Messi’s tally, with the Argentine potentially playing three games.

And with Messi looking unstoppable at the moment, especially after his performance against Liverpool in the UCL, Mbappe seems have left himself a mountain too high to climb. He seems to have cleared the path for Messi to claim what would be a hat-trick of Golden Boots if he does win it. How many goals will Lionel Messi score this league season?

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