Football / Reaction / La Liga Top Scorer

La Liga Top Scorer

Ahead of this season's first El Clasico the world's best two players are battling it out at the top of La Liga's goalscoring charts but who will prevail?

Real Madrid's Christiano Ronaldo


La Liga has descended into its expected two-horse race ahead of the first El Clasico of the year and that is partly due to the exceptional play of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the pair battle it out to prove who is the best player in the world.

Messi has scored 45 league goals in 40 starts since the start of last season, including 28 goals in his last 21. This season he’s scored 13 goals in 10 appearances meaning he’s only not appeared in five league games since the start of 2009/10.

Ronaldo has 40 league goals in 40 starts since joining Real Madrid, including 23 in his last 20, and this season he’s started all 12 games on the way to scoring 14 goals.

Last season Messi walked away with the Pichichi Trophy for La Liga’s top scorer when he finished seven goals ahead of Gonzalo Higuain and six ahead of Ronaldo. Surprisingly no player has won this Trophy in consecutive years since the mid-80’s when Hugo Sanchez won four in a row. However, Messi is the first player to score 30+ goals for a Big Two side and still be playing for them the next season since Sanchez. His winning margin last year was also the largest since Ronaldo bagged 34 in 1996/97 (he then moved to Inter Milan), nine more than anyone else.

With Real Madrid and Barcelona proving so potent in front of goal it is highly unlikely that a player from another team will challenge for the Pichichi as since 1990/91 there have been four years where a side has scored at least 90 goals, and one of their players has topped the charts in three of them, with only Diego Forlan’s superb year in 2008/09 when he scored 40% of Atletico Madrid’s 80 goals breaking the pattern. Furthermore, last year Barça and Real scored 200 goals between them and had the top three scorers, with fourth place 13 goals back from Messi.

In the past 10 years three of the Pichichi winners were in their debut seasons but five of the other seven were the top remaining scorer for their club from the previous season. Given Messi’s better record than Ronaldo since the start of last season and the fact the Portuguese wasn’t the top league scorer for his side last season the Argentine looks undervalued as second favourite in this years top scorer race. Furthermore, ahead of El Clasico it’s worth noting that Messi has scored seven times in his last six such matches while Ronaldo failed to score against Barça in either of his two attempts last season.

Recommendation: Messi to be top scorer in La Liga at 2.25, Various

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