The Premier League Golden Boot is an annual association football award presented each season to the leading goalscorer in the Premier League. For sponsorship purposes, from 1994 to 2001 it was called the Carling Golden Boot and from 2001 to 2004, the Barclaycard Golden Boot; as of 2013, it is referred to as the Barclays Golden Boot. In addition to the award, winners of the Golden Boot are usually given £1,000 for every goal they scored throughout the season to donate to a charity of their choice, although Robin van Persie – the most recent recipient of the award – was given £30,000 after scoring 26 goals in the 2012–13 season.
The Premier League was founded in 1992, when the clubs of the First Division left The Football League and established a new commercially independent league that negotiated its own broadcast and sponsorship agreements. The newly formed league had no sponsor for its inaugural season until Carling agreed to a four-year £12 million deal that started the following season, and it was simply known as the Premier League in its first year. As a result, the award was called the "Premier League Golden Boot" when Teddy Sheringham received the inaugural award in 1993. Originally consisting of 22 teams, the league contracted to 20 teams after the 1994–95 season; this reduced the number of games played from 42 to 38.
Andrew Cole and Shearer – with 34 goals in 1993–94 and 1994–95, respectively – scored the most goals to win the Golden Boot,[A] while Nicolas Anelka scored the fewest to clinch the award outright, with 19 goals in 2008–09. The all-time record for lowest number of goals scored to be bestowed the award, however, is 18 goals; this was achieved during the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons, when the award was shared between three players both times. The latter season marked the last time the Golden Boot was shared until 2010–11, when Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tévez both scored 20 goals that season to tie for the award. Cristiano Ronaldo recorded the highest goals-to-games ratio to win the award, scoring 31 goals in 34 games in 2007–08 for a rate of 0.91.
^Cole and Shearer won the Golden Boot when the Premier League still operated a 42-game season. Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo scored the most goals in a 38-game season with 31 goals in 1995–96 and 2007–08, respectively.
^This does not necessarily match the total number of games in a season.
^From the 1995–96 season onwards, the Premier League was reduced from 22 teams to 20, thus reducing the number of games in a league season from 42 to 38.
^ abWhen rounding to three significant figures, Ronaldo's goal ratio in the 2007–08 season was 0.912, while Drogba's 2009–10 ratio was 0.906. Hence, the record for the highest goal ratio in a Premier League season is held solely by the former.
^Arsenal's official website incorrectly lists Van Persie as having played 37 games in the 2011–12 season. He played all 38 games, as confirmed by the Premier League.