Like in every season, the tracking of top scorers around Europe’s best football leagues is all about seeing if anyone can get close to the incredible scoring numbers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo produce year after year. Alas, no one was good enough to top the usual top two.
Only one player scored more than 30 goals besides these two, and in general, out of Europe’s top 5 leagues (traditionally, at least), 13 players finished the season scoring more than 20 goals.
Gareth Bale, Tottenham – 21 Goals
The Welsh winger continues to evolve and improve as both a finisher and an all around player, featuring much more in the middle for Spurs this season, resulting in his best campaign yet, with 21 league goals in 33 matches, making it 42 out of 146 since joining Spurs in 2007. He might not stay with the club for much longer, but it’ll take a very special offer to draw him away from North London.
23 Goals – Luis Suarez (Liverpool) & Antonio Di Natale (Udinese)
Antonio Di Natale continues to defy all logic by both remaining one of the more prolific scorers in the Serie A despite being four months away from his 36th birthday, while keeping Udinese not too far from the top of league, making sure they’ll reach Europe once more with his 23 league goals in 33 matches, making it four consecutive seasons with 20 goals or more. Luis Suarez is another interesting case. On one hand, this was the season he finally stayed on the pitch long enough to show how good of a striker he really is, scoring 23 goals in 33 matches, but he couldn’t avoid another stupid suspension, biting Branislav Ivanovic, earning himself 10 matches in the stands, which might possibly drive him to leave the team.
24 Goals – Roberto Soldado (Valencia) & Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund)
Roberto Soldado continues to show that most of the talent Real Madrid produce in their youth system is better off somewhere else, enjoying his best season ever with 24 league goals in 35 matches, making it 60 goals since joining Valencia in 2010. For Robert Lewandowski, it was the second straight season with more than 20 league goals, doing so well it might be impossible for Dortmund to hang on to him after this summer.
25 Goals – Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla) & Stefan Kießling (Leverkusen)
No one ever mentions Kießling as one of the best strikers in Germany; he hasn’t appeared for the national team since 2010. Yet his scoring, as is Leverkusen’s success, keeps flying under the radar, producing his best season yet and making it 81 goals over the last five seasons with Bayer. Alvaro Negredo did very well on a falling apart Sevilla team, proving to be another former Real Madrid player who does very well once he leaves the cuckoos nest, scoring 70 goals in 139 matches since arriving in the South of Spain.
Robin van Persie (Manchester United) – 26 Goals
Robin van Persie continued his run as the Premier League’s top scorer, even though he dropped off by four goals when compared with last season. It didn’t really matter to him or anyone else because he was the main reason, especially during the first half of the season, Manchester United couldn’t stopped winning, clinching another EPL title, Van Persie’s first in his career.
Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid) – 28 Goals
Two seasons were enough for Falcao to achieve the maximum that is possible with Atletico Madrid, winning one Copa Del Rey, a Europa League title and clinching a spot for the Champions League next season, leaving the club to AS Monaco after scoring 52 league goals in 67 matches.
Edinson Cavani (Napoli) – 29 Goals
With every season that passes since the arrival of Edinson Cavani to Napoli, it’s proven that he’s the real deal and it’s more and more of a miracle that the club is able to hang on to him for so long. He finished on top of the scoring charts in the Serie A for the first time in his career, making it 78 league goals in 104 matches since arriving from Palermo.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG) – 30 Goals
Another league title (10th, if you count the two with Juventus), and a multitude of best player and top scorer awards, going with the dozens he already has, mostly from Italy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic knows how to play and win in only one way, and the team has to commit to his style and strengths. PSG had no problem doing that, despite the expensive names around him, leading to Ibra’s best individual season yet, scoring 30 times in 34 matches, adding a league title in a fourth country so far.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – 34 Goals
Not even close this time, in a weird season for Cristiano Ronaldo, which ultimately keeps him where he has been for the last four years – the second best player in the world, on the second best team in Spain. He has now scored 146 goals in 135 matches, but he isn’t happy with his salary or the lack of titles (almost lack of) since he’s arrived in Madrid, despite his consistency and ever-present excellence.
Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 46 Goals
Is Lionel Messi actually getting better? It’s impossible to tell, but the numbers suggest he can’t really go any higher than that. He scored 46 goals in only 32 matches, making it 215 in 246 for Barcelona, a club he is already the top all-time scorer for. He clinched his third Pichichi trophy in four years, yet the feeling that Barca rely on his scoring skills a bit too much grew this season, forcing Barcelona to spend the bank on Neymar, hoping that it won’t just retain their local dominance, but put them back in the Champions League final next season.