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BARCELONA

Golden Shoe: Barcelona's Messi closing in on fifth career award

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi now leads his nearest challenger, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, by three in the race for the Golden Shoe.

Update:
Golden Shoe: Barcelona's Messi closing in on fifth career award
REUTERS

Lionel Messi remains on course to win the 2017/18 European Golden Shoe after adding to his LaLiga goal tally in Barcelona's win over Villarreal.

Messi is now three ahead of Liverpool's Salah

Messi netted once in Wednesday's 5-1 thumping at the Camp Nou to move to 34 league strikes this season and stretch his lead at the top of the continental goal charts to three (and go nine clear at the head of the Spanish standings).

His closest challenger, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, remains back on 31 after drawing a blank in his last two Premier League appearances. What's more, the Egyptian only has one top-flight game left this term, whereas Messi's Barça still have two LaLiga matches to play, against Levante and Real Sociedad.

Messi scores Barcelona's third goal against Villarreal to chalk up his 34th strike of the LaLiga season.
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Messi scores Barcelona's third goal against Villarreal to chalk up his 34th strike of the LaLiga season.David RamosGetty Images

The 30-year-old appears unlikely to be overhauled by any of his other pursuers, either. Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski is five back on 29 and, like Salah, has only one league game remaining, while Lazio's Ciro Immobile is level with the Pole but, having been sidelined by injury, is out of the race. Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain and Inter's Mauro Icardi are both six behind with just two matches to go.

Would be Messi's fifth Golden Shoe

If Messi does clinch the Golden Shoe, it will be the fifth time in his career that he has been crowned as Europe's top league marksman.

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