Lior Refaelov is elected 67th Golden Shoe and ends 54 years of waiting for Antwerp

Due to the coronavirus, the traditional Gala did not take place. The trophies were awarded during a small committee ceremony. This year, Lior Refaelov won the 67th Golden Boot on Wednesday evening, a trophy for the best player in the Belgian league over the past year. The Israeli attacking midfielder gives Antwerp their third Golden Boot, the first since Wilfried Van Moer in 1966. Refaelov, 34 and playing master of the Great Old, collected 271 points from the 196 ballots. He was quite clearly ahead of the Austrian creative from Beerschot Raphael Holzhauser (187) and the prolific Nigerian striker from KRC Genk Paul Onuachu (86).

The top five is completed by two players from Club Brugge, defending champion and leader of the competition. The irremovable and unsinkable Simon Mignolet is 4th (75), just ahead of the elegant Charles De Ketelaere (72). They will be satisfied respectively with the title of Best Goalkeeper and Best Young of the Year.

This is the first time since 2015 that the Golden Shoe has escaped the Bruges Gazelles. Indeed, the people of Bruges remained on four coronations with José Izquierdo (2016), Ruud Vormer (2017) and Hans Vanaken (2018, 2019), only 8th this year.

Refaelov, the cornerstone of the Antwerp game, has marked the history of the Antwerp club. First, by scoring the only goal in the Belgian Cup final against Club Brugge in early August. Then by becoming the third Antwerp player to win the Golden Boot. The number N.1 had been waiting for this since 1966 and Wilfried Van Moer. Vic Maes won the 3rd edition in 1956.

This is the second time that Lior Refaelov has been voted Best Player of his Championship. The former Israel international, 39 appearances and 6 goals with his national team, won the same award in 2011 in his national championship while playing for Maccabi Haifa.

He then joined Club Brugge, where he played until 2018 before joining Bosuil, first on loan and then permanently transferred a year later.

This season, he reunited with Ivan Leko in Antwerp, a coach under whose orders he won a second Belgian league title in Bruges in 2018. The Israeli and the Croatian, who since left for China, have contributed to the very good European course of the Antwerp residents, who will play in the round of 32 of the Europa League.

Note that this 2020 edition will remain special due to the coronavirus pandemic. The election was established on the basis of a single round of voting due to the cessation of competitions during the late season. The gala evening, which usually brings together the top of Belgian football, was reduced to its simplest expression in the studios of the Dutch-speaking channel VTM.

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