La Liga: Five contenders for Pichichi Trophy
Written by: Neelav Chakravarti
Last season Barcelona ace Lionel Messi won the award for a sixtth time netting 34 goals.
Last season, Lionel Messi finished on top of the La Liga goalscoring chart with 34 goals in 36 appearances followed by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and Iago Aspas. Ronaldo had a slow start, but racked in a lot of goals from January 2018 onwards meanwhile Luis Suarez supported his talismanic teammate in his exploits. This season could see the much-coveted Pichichi Trophy gifted to Lionel Messi again due to the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.
There are a few contenders who could still challenge the mercurial Argentine to the award but will need to be on fire right from the start.
5. Cristhian Stuani (Girona)
Watch: Cristhian Stuani scored a great goal against Villarreal last season
The Uruguayan finished off his first season with 21 goals in Spain's top-tier. He was Girona's main threat with most of his club's attacking movements ending with him at its forefront.
He finished fifth in the goalscoring chart – only behind Aspas, Suarez, Ronaldo, and Messi. Due to his exploits, his club finished 10th in the standings ahead of the likes of Athletico Bilbao and Espanyol. Stuani was recorded last season to score a goal every 130 minutes during the campaign. He had a total 64 shots with 37 on target. This season too, he could finish with a lot of goals but will need to start with a bang from the first fixture itself.
4. Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Watch: All of Luis Suarez goals against Real Madrid
The former Ajax man has been a regular in Spain with his exploits in front of goal. Last season, Suarez scored 25 goals and was on third place behind Ronaldo (26 goals). The Barca goal machine also had a 60% shot accuracy last season.
He also won the Pichichi Trophy for his exploits in the 2015-16 domestic season, where he finished on top with 40 goals in 35 matches. The best thing about Barcelona is his chemistry with skipper Messi which is pivotal to his chances and also to his team's title chances. This season too, Suarez can challenge for the top spot in the goalscorer list but has a lot of competition which he will need to beat.
3. Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
Watch: Diego Costa had an amazing match against Sevilla last season
The Spanish international has had a resurgence in his career since returning to the Los Rojiblancos from Chelsea. He most recently scored two goals in his side's UEFA Super Cup victory over their city rivals. Even during the FIFA World Cup in Russia, he was amongst the goals.
In his previous time with the Madrid side, he finished offseason before moving to England with 27 goals in 34 La Liga appearances. Partnering Antoine Griezmann up front, Costa will be his side's main threat with the Frenchman to be used as a supporting striker-cum-attacking midfielder. Atletico Madrid could challenge for the crown with the former Braga man hoping to break the top goalscorer hegemony in Spain.
2. Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)
Watch: Best goals and skills by Iago Aspas last season
Last season, Aspas finished fourth in the Pichichi race with 22 goals in 2937 minutes played. The Liverpool reject also has an impressive statistic of having 44 out of total 72 shots on target last season, which is a decent 61%.
The 31-year old striker is currently at the prime of his career and hopefully hasn't lost his touch over the course of this summer. He is Celta's main man and will be an obvious threat for opposition throughout the season. Last season, his club finished 13th in the La Liga table and will be looking to improve on it with Aspas as their main poacher.
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Watch: All goals scored by Lionel Messi last season
The departure of his rival to Italy has taken away the weight of competition in La Liga for Lionel Messi to lead in terms of goalscoring exploits at least. The Blaugrana skipper will be looking to carry on his momentum from last season where he topped the charts with 34 goals scored. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner also attempted 153 shots throughout the season with 96 on target – which is an impressive 63%.
The G.O.A.T will obviously be aiming to win the La Liga again this season, but will also look to score more than the last edition, and also looks set to top the standings again.
Published: Tue Aug 21, 2018 04:52 PM IST