Goals are important.
They win matches and titles. They summon joy that you can’t quite describe. They keep us all coming back.
Pretty important, then, that you have players who can score them. And while Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have raised the bar to superhuman levels over the past 15 years, there are plenty of other players out there who live for that feeling of sticking the ball in the back of the net.
The guys at 90min have had a pop at predicting the players who will finish the season as top scorer in seven of Europe’s top divisions – England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Serie A in Italy, the German Bundesliga, France’s Ligue 1, the Primeira Liga in Portugal and the Dutch Eredivisie –
Eredivisie – Donyell Malen
Current League Goals: 10
Projected Total League Goals: 35
By Toby Cudworth
There’s a new star in Dutch football, and the name on everybody’s lips is that of young PSV striker Donyell Malen.
The 20-year-old has burst onto the scene over the past couple of seasons after surprisingly being allowed to leave Arsenal, and his rapid rise to prominence has seen him hailed as one of the finest young prospects in the world.
After scoring 10 in his maiden season, he now has 10 in just nine games this term – averaging a goal every 87 minutes played.
Currently four goals ahead of six others, Malen will take some catching. He could conceivably score 35 goals by the end of the campaign if he keeps it up.
Bundesliga – Robert Lewandowski
Club: Bayern Munich
Current League Goals: 13
Projected Total League Goals: 33
By Krishan Davis
*Opens dictionary and flicks to J*
A huge, powerful and overwhelming force; Robert Lewandowski.
Despite being the ripe old age of 31, Bayern’s number nine shows no signs of taking his foot of the metaphorical pedal, exemplified by his ludicrous goal tally of 13 goals in just nine league games so far. That’s already seven more than German football’s prodigal son, Timo Werner.
The Pole’s physique and technique have combined to make him the most complete striker in world football at this moment in time – and that’s not even arguable. If he continues at his current goal rate he will finish the Bundesliga campaign on 48 goals.
Is he incapable of that feat? Not for me to say, but you certainly wouldn’t bet against the indomitable no.9 bagging at least 20 more before the season is out and landing a third successive Torjägerkanone.
Primeira Liga – Ze Luis
Current League Goals: 6
Projected Total League Goals: 27
The Primeira Liga isn’t one for one-off top scorers, with Jackson Martinez and Jonas winning five of the last seven Bolas de Prata (that’s ‘Silver Balls’, for the less Portuguese-minded of you).
However, with Jonas retiring, Martinez being old and rubbish now, one-time winner Bas Dost playing in Germany and last season’s leading scorer Haris Seferovic starting the season with just two goals in his first eight games, the door is wide open for a new man to pick up something shiny at the end of the season.
Step forward Ze Luis, the 28-year-old Cape Verdean who arrived from Spartak Moscow in the summer; fresh off his best league scoring season in Russia.
26 games to go… let’s say he makes it a nice round 27 goals this season.
Ligue 1 – Kylian Mbappé
Projected Total League Goals: 40
By Sean Walsh
Whatever you do, don’t look at the current list of top scorers in Ligue 1.
Actually, wait, do look. Go and look at Kylian Mbappé in eighth place right now, look at how he’s already five goals behind current top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder – and then know that Mbappé’s still going to finish the season as top scorer.
It feels ridiculous to say that we’ve already run out of superlatives for him considering he’s only 20, but Mbappé is already one of the world’s best players. And though his minutes have been limited due to injury so far this season, he’s on track to match and even better the 33-goal tally he recorded last year.
While teammates Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani will also be on the prowl to finish as top scorer, Mbappé simply has the best of all their collective qualities, and is developing a ruthless streak that will unquestionably see him win the Ballon d’Or one day. Four goals so far this season – it might seem crazy now, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Mbappé ended on 40.
Serie A – Ciro Immobile
Current League Goals: 10
Projected Total League Goals: 26
By Jack Gallagher
Cristiano Ronaldo may be the first player that comes to mind when one thinks of Serie A goalscorers, but Ciro Immobile is without a shadow of a doubt, 1000%, unequivocally, the best marksman on the peninsula.
And although such a statement may cause a bit of a ruckus, at this current moment in time, it’s hard to argue with.
For while Ronaldo has four goals to his name so far this season, Immobile has ten.
While Ronaldo has averaged a goal every 158 minutes, Immobile has averaged a goal every 70 minutes.
And while Ronaldo has scored one goal in October, Immobile has scored five.
Yes, it is hard to imagine Immobile continuing this current hot streak throughout the rest of the season, but it is rather easy to imagine him scoring at least another 16, finishing with 26 goals for the 2019/20 Serie A season and bagging his second Capocannoniere award.
Premier League – Jamie Vardy
Club: Leicester City
Current League Goals: 9
Projected Total League Goals: 25
By Scott Saunders
Jamie Vardy’s goal numbers since Leicester City’s promotion to the top flight in 2014 are nothing short of sensational.
Following a hat-trick in his side’s unprecedented 9-0 win over Southampton on Friday night, Vardy sent himself top of this season’s goalscoring charts and to a total of 89 since Leicester’s came up from the Championship. And while perhaps he’s not the most obvious candidate to stay at the summit, there’s enough encouraging reasons to back him to win the Golden Boot.
Leicester are playing a great brand of attacking football (as evidenced by their last outing) under Brendan Rodgers, and that should provide the 32-year-old with plenty of chances. Importantly, too, he’s a guaranteed starter every week. There’s every chance he can keep firing at the current rate given everything’s looking so rosy at the moment.
Sergio Aguero? At risk of injury. Harry Kane? Rolls his ankle multiple times a year. Liverpool’s front three? They’re sharing their goals out between them. It might be Vardy’s time.
La Liga – Lionel Messi
Current League Goals: 4
Projected Total League Goals: 31
By Andrew Headspeath
If you take a look at scoring charts in La Liga right now, you might be persuaded into thinking that someone new and interesting will win the Trofeo Pichchi in 2019/20.
Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno and Real Betis’ Loren Moron are the early pacesetters with seven apiece, while grizzled old gunslingers Karim Benzema and Luis Suarez (both on five) are still hitting the target, despite their doubters. Maybe it’s finally Antoine Griezmann’s year? Or Maxi Gomez?
Probably not, though. In the era of Lionel Messi, predicting anyone else just seems a little silly.
The six-time Pichichi winner may be playing with a three-goal handicap but he’s more than capable of making that up quickly – on four occasions in La Liga he’s bagged four strikes in a single game. His final league tally has only dipped below 30 twice in the last 10 years. Anyone aiming to break Messi’s three-year streak will need to be in superhuman form.
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