Messi overtakes Salah in the race for Golden Shoe
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah had a two-goal advantage ahead of Barça's match against Deportivo la Coruña, but a hat-trick for their mercurial Argentine changed that. LAFC vs LA Galaxy: Vela vs Zlatan live online, MLS week 25
With the objectives of the season already resolved - for good (LaLiga and Copa del Rey) or for bad (Champions league elimination) - Lionel Messi still has one more target from here to the end of season at club level ahead of the World Cup. The Argentinian will try to get his hands on Europe's top league goalscorer prize, the Golden Shoe.
Messi and Salah for Golden Boot
Before taking to the field against Deportivo la Coruña, Messi had two goals less than this year's surprise sensation, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. With the same points ratio for goals scored in the Premier League and LaLiga, it looks like a straight shoot off between the two attackers although there are others that can still have a say with just a few games to play, including Ciro Immobile, Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane. Salah on 31 has just two more games to play (Chelsea and Brighton) and his focus is also on a Champions League semi-final second leg and a very possible final thereafter.
Messi's hat-trick in Riazor, a game that also saw Barcelona clinch the title, puts him out ahead on 32 league goals and with still four games remaining he will have his eyes firmly on a fifth Golden Shoe award. His first was in the 2009-10 season, when he scored 34 league goals. Two years later he set the trophy's current record: an incredible 50 goals in the 2011-12 campaign. Only Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has gone anywhere near this total when he scored 48 goals in the 2014-15 season, other than Messi himself again who scored 46 in 2012-13.
Will Messi rest for World Cup?
Barça still have to face Levante away from home and Real Madrid, Villarreal and Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.
Messi will want to play as much as possible but is also conscious that the World Cup in Russia this summer is almost certainly his final bow at the international showpiece. Some people have suggested that he should look to rest himself somewhat to ensure he can be firing on all cylinders for Argentina.
Golden Shoe table (as it stands)
Updated: 30 April 2018