Sporting Lisbon's Bas Dost joins Lionel Messi in Golden Shoe battle

Lionel Messi is facing strong competition in the race to become Europe's top scorer from Sporting Lisbon striker Bas Dost.

Dost scored a hat trick in his side's 4-0 home win over Boavista at the weekend to take his tally to 27 goals in 25 league games.

And according to the European Sports Media points system, the Netherlands international is level with Barcelona star Messi on 54 points.

European Sports Media, a European association of football related publications, has awarded the Golden Shoe since the 1996-97 season.

"He is probably going to finish as the top scorer in Portugal," Sporting Lisbon coach Jorge Jesus told his club's official website.

"And in Europe, he is going to be in the race alongside two or three other players -- Messi, the Bayern Munich forward [Robert Lewandowski] and [Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson] Cavani."

He said Dost "evolved a lot, and today he is a different player than with respect to when he joined us."

Messi, a three-time European Golden Shoe winner, did not score in Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Malaga but has 27 goals in 27 La Liga games.

Dost, who joined Sporting last summer after scoring 36 goals in 85 appearances for Wolfsburg, has accounted for 49 percent of their league goals this season.

He was voted Player of the Month for March in the Primeira Liga and has helped his side to third place in the league table.