European marksmen going for gold

While the perfect strike rate of one chance, one goal remains a dream for attackers the world over, there are some forwards who nevertheless boast an incredible conversion rate.

At this half-way point in the season, takes a glance at the top divisions in Europe to see which players are heading up the scoring charts in the hunt for the coveted Golden Shoe.

Three players currently find themselves sharing top spot in the English Premier with 14 goals. Didier Drogba, currently at the African Cup of Nations with Côte d'Ivoire, and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney are familiar names on the top-scorers list, but they have been joined by Jermain Defoe. Back in November, the Tottenham Hotspur striker plundered five goals in one game against Wigan Athletic – only the third time that this feat has been achieved in the Premiership.

Kiessling looking to book South Africa ticket
Another player to have notched five in one match is Scotland's current leading scorer, Kris Boyd. The Rangers forward sits proudly on 19 goals, six more than team-mate Kenny Miller, and his career total in the SPL of 160 make him the highest scorer of all time in the Scottish Premier League.

Current FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi is leading the way in the Primera Division with 12 strikes, level with David Villa of Valencia. The Argentinian maestro got 2010 under way with a hat-trick which helped the Catalans keep their noses in front of Real Madrid.

While Messi and Villa will no doubt be travelling to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup™ this June, one current top scorer is still unsure of where he will be spending the summer. Stefan Kiessling of Bayer Leverkusen moved to the top of the pack with 12 goals in the first half of this season's Bundesliga, but whether it will earn the 25-year-old a place in Joachim Low's Germany's squad remains to be seen. Djibril Cisse has managed an even more impressive strike rate in the Greek Super League with 15 goals in 17 matches, to the delight of frontrunners Panathinaikos.

Icing on the cake
All of the above-mentioned strikers have one thing in common – their goals have helped to propel their respective teams to the upper reaches of the league. For Antonio di Natale of Udinese, however, the league table tells a different story. Despite bagging an incredible 20 goals thus far this season, the 30-time Italian international finds his club languishing in 16th place in Serie A. The 32-year-old's closest challenger in the goal-scoring stakes is Diego Milito, whose Inter Milan side are indeed top of the league. Ariza Makukula, meanwhile, is Turkey's most prolific marksman at the moment with 13, which has helped Kayserispor up to fourth spot in the league.

France's Ligue 1 paints a different picture, however. Although Bordeaux are clear at the top of the standings, their top scorer Marouane Chamakh has only managed six goals all season, five fewer than top-scorer Gervinho of Lille, who are currently Les Girondins' nearest rivals.

Luis Suarez (Ajax, 18 goals) in the Netherlands, Seydou Doumbia (Young Boys Berne, 17) in Switzerland, Pedro Morales (Dinamo Zagreb, 13) in Croatia and Oscar Cardozo (Benfica, 14) in Portugal are four more strikers who will be hoping to keep on the goal-scoring trail, help their respective teams to glory and perhaps even bag the Golden Shoe as Europe's top scorer. 

Have your say!
With less than six months to go in the 2009/2010 season, who do you think will finish as Europe's top scorer? Just click 'Add your comment' and join the debate, remembering to keep your comments clean, respectful and in the spirit of fair play.