The 2017/18 season saw new pretenders emerge for Lionel Messi‘s crown as the top goalscorer across Europe’s top five leagues. Since the 2009/10 campaign Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have traded blows, with both winning the Golden Shoe award on multiple occasions.
Luis Suárez managed to break the strangle hold the two legends had on the award in 2016 but their monopoly of the accolade is under severe threat.
This season Mohamed Salah broke the Premier League record for most goals scored in a 38-game season, netting on 32 occasions, while Harry Kane also scored 30 goals in a single Premier League campaign for the first time.
Robert Lewandowski, Ciro Immobile, Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani were all pushing the 30-goal barrier in their respective leagues, too. It’s worth noting that the latter three still have a game to play but are unlikely to catch Messi’s 34, with the nearest challenger Immobile needing at least five goals just to match the Barca star’s tally.
However, total goals isn’t the best way to judge how prolific a forward is. A better approach would be to view their goals-per-90-minutes records. And this is exactly what we’ve done to see just which strikers have made the most of their time on the pitch this term in their respective leagues.
Messi may have won the Golden Boot award this season thanks to his 34 goals but it’s Lewandowski who has a better goals-per-90 record. The Bayern Munich man, who has seen his playing time carefully managed this season, scored 29 goals in 2,169 minutes of play.
It’s the first time in three years that he’s failed to break the 30-goal barrier domestically but he’s featured in the fewest amount of minutes in the Bundesliga since his debut season with Borussia Dortmund.
Only five players averaged a goal or more per 90 minutes, with Immobile (0.99) and Salah (0.98) just missing out. Shock names on the top 10 list include ex-Manchester City man Stevan Jovetic (0.96) and former Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglou (0.89).
Though it has to be taken into account that both failed to appear in over 900 minutes in the league this term, meaning their sample size is a lot smaller.
The former three all finished with 0.87 goals per 90, while the new Arsenal hit-man ended the campaign having appeared in just shy of 2,500 minutes.
The Spurs forward misses out on the top 10 because he was involved in over 3,000 Premier League minutes. No other player in the top 50 list broke that minutes barrier. Likewise with Icardi, the Inter Milan forward scored 28 league goals but spent more time on the pitch for those strikes compared to others.