Friday, 24 February 2012

Hotshots: European Football's Best Goalscorers

In football there is one thing we love more than anything else - goals!

I have looked at Europe's top leagues over the last four years and worked out which players have scored the most goals. The statistics below are the total goals scored since the start of the 2008/09 season in all competitions.

Best of the best

It is no surprise that these two are top of the pile, and top by quite a margin. The two best players in the world are not necessarily classed as strikers, but their astonishing goalscoring records put the rest of football in the shade. Last season both players scored 53 goals in all competitions, with Ronaldo scoring 40 in the league. Over the last 4 years, Leo Messi has averaged 45 goals a season. He currently has 42 goals this season and we are still only in February!

One Hundred Club

Mario Gomez has been a consistent goalscorer for a long time now, averaging a goal every 1.4 games for the last 6 seasons. Gomez has scored goals at both Stuttgart and Bayern, and has 21 goals for Germany in 50 appearances.

Atletico Madrid's Falcao has scored 107 goals over the past 4 seasons. His 16 goals for River Plate in 2008/09 maybe stretch the rules of this European centric list a little, but during his 3 seasons in Europe his goalscoring record has been devastatingly good. In 87 appearances for Porto, Falcao scored an astonishing 72 goals.

Luis Suarez has been vitally important for Liverpool since he joined in January 2011, even though he has only scored 14 goals for the club so far. Suarez made his name as a goalscorer in Holland, and in the 2009/10 season he scored an amazing 49 goals in 48 games for Ajax.


The players here specialise in goals. Over the past 4 seasons they have consistently scored goals at some of Europe's biggest clubs.

Incidentally, just missing out on this list is Aston Villa's Darren Bent, who has scored an impressive 72 goals over the past 4 seasons. Generally under-appreciated by fans in England, Bent has scored more goals in the past 4 years than Didier Drogba (70), Klass-Jan Huntelaar (70) and Giuseppe Rossi (69).

Some names are expected, but others are missing entirely. Certain top players at big clubs have figures which don't compare well with the players above. In the Premier League Dimitar Berbatov and Fernando Torres have scored 56 and 53 goals respectively. Also surprising are the totals of Alexandre Pato (52) and Robinho (50).

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Champions League is there for the taking for Madrid or Barcelona

While the Champions League has been away Real Madrid have been storming ahead in La Liga. Jose Mourinho’s team are now a massive 10 points clear at the top of the league having collected 58 points from a possible 66. In the Champions League this season Real Madrid’s record is immaculate. Winning all 6 group games, Madrid are the first team to have a 100% record since Barcelona 9 years ago in 2002. Real scored 19 goals and kept 5 clean sheets. From such a position of dominance, Madrid are arguably the best side in Europe right now.

The only problem for Madrid is that while they seem to be able to wipe the floor with everyone else on the continent, there is one obstacle that continues to trip them up. Despite clearly looking way off their best this season, Barcelona still have the upper hand in the head to heads. The two sides have met 5 times this season, Barcelona have won 3 and drawn 2, winning the Supercopa and knocking Madrid out of the Copa del Rey. This means that should the two teams meet again in the Champions League, Barcelona will feel that they still have the advantage over the La Liga leaders.

Since the end of the Group Stages Bayern Munich have slipped off the top of the Bundesliga, while Chelsea and Arsenal have both continued to falter in the Premier League. Napoli have stumbled into a very poor patch of form and while Milan may currently be top of Serie A, they too have looked far from convincing. Internazionale were shaping up to be contenders again after they won the Milan derby in January, but their form since has been horrendous and they have lost 4 of their last 5 matches.

Considering all of the above, it doesn’t seem as though anyone will be able challenge Madrid and Barcelona this year. Madrid are better than they were last season, and while Barcelona may be struggling in the league, very few teams get the better of them when it matters. The rest look weaker than in any other season. Both Manchester clubs being out clears the path a bit more, and while the other big experienced sides shouldn’t be completely written off, it is surely Madrid or Barcelona's tournament to lose now.