And so it came to pass that Mbokani did win, ahead of Vossen and Proto.Tonight sees the award of the 59th Gouden Schoen / Soulier d’Or for 2012. The votes will be cast by journalists, coaches and past winners with the victor being chosen based on performances over a calendar year rather than on a complete football season. It’s often rightly criticised because of that formula. The hot favourite tonight will be Anderlecht’s Dieumerci Mbokani. He’s hot for two reasons: he’s had an excellent 12 months for his club who were crowned champions (35 goals in 46 matches)and there are no other obvious candidates.
The only others being mentioned in dispatches are Kevin De Bruyne, Jelle Vossen and Silvio Proto. De Bruyne probably got quite a few votes in the second half of last season with Genk but not enough to win the competition outright once he left for the Bundesliga in the summer. With De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois no longer at the Cristal Arena, Vossen has moved into the spotlight. He’s a fine player but it’s unlikely that he will have garnered sufficient votes over the season. As for Proto, he’s been consistent over the 12 months but it’s unlikely that a Belgian keeper would win the Golden Show without even being in the national squad.
The last keeper to win was Michel Preud’homme in 1989 and the last Belgian to win was Axel Witsel in 2008. Last year, the ‘Boot’ when to Anderlecht’s Matias Suarez, who won purely based on points gained in the first half of last season (2011-2012). That led to Suarez being touted around Europe as a world-beater. Surprisingly he’s still on Anderlecht’s books and some observers might put money on Mbokani, and his ‘Golden Shoe’, leaving Anderlecht before Suarez does.
Last 10 “Gouden Schoen”/ “Soulier D’Or” winners
2002 Timmy Simons – Club Brugge
2003 Aruna Dindane – Anderlecht
2004 Vincent Kompany – Anderlecht
2005 Sergio Conceiçao – Standard Liege
2006 Mbark Boussoufa – Gent/Anderlecht
2007 Steven Defour – Standard Liege
2008 Axel Witsel – Standard Liege
2009 Milan Jovanovic – Standard Liege
2010 Mbark Boussoufa – Anderlecht
2011 Matias Suarez – Anderlecht
A few facts about the Award
• Most points gained by winner of the ‘Golden Boot’: 509, Michel Preud’homme (KV Mechelen, 1987)
• Youngest ever winner: Paul Van Himst (Anderlecht, 1960) aged 17 years & 3 months.
• Club with the most winners of the award: Anderlecht (15 players – 21 awards), followed by Club Brugge (8, 10) and Standard Liege (8,9).
• Oldest player to win: Lorenzo Staelens (Anderlecht, 1999) – aged 35 & 8 months.
• Most wins: Paul Van Himst (4), followed by Jan Ceulemens and Wilfried Van Moer (3 each).
• Largest winning margin: Vincent Kompany (by 403 points ahead of Luigi Pieroni in 2004).
• Only foreign player to have won twice: Par Zetterberg (1993 and 1997).
• Winner with the biggest feet: Jan Koller (Anderlecht, 2000) – size 50.