Several legends of the game have plied their trades in the league while becoming one of the highest scorers.
There is no doubt that La Liga is one of the most prominent leagues in club football and is also one of the most followed and watched competitions in world sport. La Liga has witnessed the biggest legends, existing and retired, in the game who have mesmerized people across stadia in Spain and on television sets across the world with their skills and ability right from the time of Alfredo Di Stefano to Ronaldinho to Lionel Messi in the current day and time.
La Liga is home to arguably the two most followed teams in the sport – Real Madrid and FC Barcelona who have shared two-thirds of the league success between them. However, despite the status quo in the title honours, the league has proven to be a very competitive spectacle every season since its inception in 1929.
Today we will be taking a look at the top five all-time goalscorers in the league’s history.
5. Raul Gonzalez (228 goals)
Raul’s full name is Raul Gonzalez Blanco where Blanco means ‘white’ in Spanish. Raul stood true to his name by proudly representing Real Madrid in a trophy-laden career since his debut for the record European Champions in 1994 having broken through the youth ranks at La Fabrica. Raul went on to score 228 goals in 550 La Liga games and broke the club record set by the great Alfredo Di Stefano.
He set the overall club record for goalscoring finishing at 323 at the time he left Real in 2010. It was later broken by Cristiano Ronaldo six years later.
In his time with Los Blancos, Raul won six La Liga titles as part of winning 16 trophies in total.
4. Hugo Sanchez (234 goals)
Hugo Sanchez played his entire career in Spain in the city of Madrid representing Atletico Madrid (1981-85), Real Madrid (1985-92) and Rayo Vallecano (1993-94).
In his time in Madrid, Sanchez scored 234 goals in 347 league games and won the European Golden shoe in 1990. He also won the famous ‘Pichichi’ Trophy five times including winning four in a row from 1984-88.
Sanchez won five La Liga titles, all with Real Madrid where he had the most successful phase in his career. He won 11 in all during his time in Spain.
3. Telmo Zarra (251 goals)
Telmo Zarra set the La Liga record for the most goals for 59 years until it was broken by Lionel Messi in 2014. The striker spent his entire career in the Basque Country representing spending his prime with Athletic Bilbao for whom he scored 251 goals in 278 games at a rate of 0.9/game.
Despite his prolific goal scoring abilities, Zarra had only a solitary league title to show for his name which he won in 1943. But his individual heroics didn’t go unnoticed. Zarra is the joint record holder of the Pichichi trophy with six awards (level with Messi). His efforts were recognized with a gold-plated Pichichi Trophy awarded to him in 2003.
He is the highest-scoring Spaniard in the league’s history and post his death in 2006, Madrid local Marca named the “Zarra Trophy” in his honour which is awarded to the highest-scoring Spaniard in the league every season which was won last year for the third time in a row by Celta Vigo’s Iago Aspas.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (311 goals)
Cristiano Ronaldo features on #2 on our list despite playing the least number of years among the top 30 in La Liga. This proves enough evidence of his supreme consistency in the league since his then world-record move from Manchester United in 2009.
Cristiano represented Real Madrid for close to a decade in which he scored 311 goals in 292 appearances at a rate of 1.07 goals/game which is the highest ratio in the league and the only instance of a player averaging more than a goal/game!
Despite winning only two league titles in 2011-12 and 2016-17, Ronaldo enjoyed his best years in the Spanish capital and broke numerous records in the league including the most number of hat-tricks in the league with 34 which was later broken by, you guessed it, Lionel Messi. He won the Pichichi trophy on three occasions in 2010-11, 2013-14 and when he scored 48 goals in the 2014-15 season which was two less than Messi all-time single-season record of 50 in 2011-12.
He left Madrid in the summer of 2018 having eclipsed the club record set by Raul by scoring a mammoth 450 goals in 438 games.
1. Lionel Messi (438 goals)
We are finally left with one and nobody can say it’s not Lionel Messi. The Argentine forward simply has every record in the league to his name. Such is the domination of the ‘Atomic Flea’ in Spain’s primary league competition.
Most goals (438), most individual Pichichis (six – level with Telmo Zarra), most hat-tricks (36), the record number of goals in a single-season (50), the list is simply endless when it comes to Messi’s records in the league. He has also won the record number (six times) of European Golden Shoes.
Starting off in 2004 when he came on as an 82nd-minute substitute against city rivals Espanyol, Messi has since plundered 438 goals in 474 games for Barcelona and has won a whopping 10 La Liga titles in 14 years.
The gap in goalscoring is huge when it comes to La Liga and if you remove the retired players, it is a crater in between. Lionel Messi has more than twice the number of goals as the next highest striker active in La Liga which is Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema who has scored 162 goals in the league for Los Blancos. La Liga can consider itself lucky to have arguably the greatest in the sport’s history to have plied his trade till date in their league.