Barcelona's Lionel Messi drew a rare blank on Sunday in La Liga, giving some of European football's most prolific forwards the chance to close the gap to him in the race for the Golden Shoe.
Messi, who has been struggling with a knock since Barca's 2-2 draw with Valencia, didn't look completely fit as his side were held to a 0-0 draw by Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames.
Elsewhere, Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo, Paris Saint-Germain sharpshooter Edinson Cavani and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah were all among the goals.
The standout forward display of the weekend came at the Etihad Stadium, as Sergio Aguero scored his second hat-trick in a week for Manchester City in their 6-0 rout of Chelsea.
This is how the standings are shaping up for this coveted prize and a recap of how some of the best forwards on the continent got on this weekend.
Golden Shoe Standings
1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona: 21 x 2.0 difficulty factor = 42.0
2. Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain: 18 x 2.0 = 36.0
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus: 18 x 2.0 = 36.0
T4. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool: 17 x 2.0 = 34.0
T4. Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain: 17 x 2.0 = 34.0
T4. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City: 17 x 2.0 = 34.0
T7. Fabio Quagliarella, Sampdoria: 16 x 2.0 = 32.0
T7. Nicolas Pepe, Lille: 16 x 2.0 = 32.0
T7. Duvan Zapata, Atalanta: 16 x 2.0 = 32.0
10. Liliu, Kalju: 31 goals x 1.0 = 31.0 points
T11. Krzysztof Piatek, Genoa/AC Milan: 15 x 2.0 = 30.0
T11. Luis Suarez, Barcelona: 15 x 2.0 = 30.0
T11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal: 15 x 2.0 = 30.0
Rules: Each European league is assigned a difficulty factor between one and two by UEFA, which is multiplied by a player's goal tally to calculate a points total.
For example, the Estonian Meistriliiga has a factor of just one, so Liliu's goals for Kalju are worth just one point each, whereas Messi's are worth double that because of La Liga's factor.
A rare off day for Messi in the Basque Country allowed some of the hottest forward players in the world to make the race for the Golden Shoe a little more interesting in 2019.
While Kylian Mbappe was unable to chop down the gap in PSG's 1-0 win over Bordeaux—he was brought on as a second-half substitute—Ronaldo moved into third outright with the second goal in a 3-0 win for Juventus at Sassuolo.
The Portuguese was on hand to thud home a header after getting on the end of Miralem Pjanic's corner, continuing his remarkable run of form in away matches for Juventus:
The standout performance of the weekend came from Aguero, though, as he helped Manchester City back to the top of the table with a dominant display against Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola's side were on top from the off, and Aguero grabbed their second—which was a stunning long-range effort—and third goals of the day before coolly dispatching a penalty in the second period. It was his second treble in a week, having bagged three times in the win against Arsenal seven days earlier.
Per OptaJoe, it's a feat that's not been accomplished for a long time:
The trio of goals means Aguero is now one hat-trick away from an outright Premier League record:
The goals also put Aguero level with Liverpool's Salah in the race for English football's Golden Boot, with the Egypt international netting in a routine 3-0 win for the Reds over Bournemouth.
Following his stunning debut season at Anfield, the Liverpool star has backed it up with another excellent goalscoring campaign:
Elsewhere, AC Milan's January signing Krzysztof Piatek moved on to 15 goals for the Serie A season, as he continued his impressive start to life at his new club with a strike in the 3-0 win over Cagliari; he now has four goals in four appearances for the San Siro outfit.