The enduring football image of 2017 will be Harry Kane’s goal celebration after the Tottenham Hotspur striker became the Premier League’s top scorer in a calendar year and ensured he finished ahead of Lionel Messi as the leading man for club and country.
Kane took only 22 minutes to beat Alan Shearer’s record that had stood since 1995 and 17 minutes later he had seen off Messi too. The hat-trick seemed inevitable and when it duly came in the 67th minute, even his team-mates joined in the hero worship.
His second goal against Southampton meant that Kane moved ahead of Messi, who finished 2017 on 54 for Barcelona and Argentina. By the final whistle, Kane had completed the year on 39 goals in the Premier League and 56 for club and country thanks to back-to-back hat-tricks.
This is the first time in eight years that neither Messi nor Ronaldo have finished the year as top scorer for club and country. David Villa was the last man before Kane to better the duo in 2009.
“I'm very proud of it,” said Kane. “Messi and Ronaldo have dominated football for so long and they're two of the greatest players ever, so it's an honour to even be compared to them.”
Kane’s manager Mauricio Pochettino added: “Both achievements are massive. To break the Premier League record set by Alan Shearer and then if you see the last seven or eight years, it’s always been Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and today it’s Harry Kane, a player from Tottenham.
“Of course Messi and Cristiano are different. Today, one striker in the world, a specific position, who is better than him (Kane)? He’s one of the best. It’s difficult to say he’s the best, but he’s shown to everyone he’s one of the best.”