It’s fair to say that if you’re looking to place a bet on who’s going to finish the Spanish league season as the top goal scorer then you’re probably only going to consider one of two names: one called Lionel or one called Cristiano. And, it’s also pretty fair to say that you’d almost certainly be correct to do so.
However, this should not preclude us from giving due consideration to the other stikers plying their trade across the league; on account of the fact that they happen to be some of the very best hitmen anywhere in Europe, probably the world.
So, if you are looking for a slightly longer shot for the top spot in the scoring charts beyond the obvious two, here’s a few who might just step up to the mantle.
Not noted as one of life’s shrinking violets, the Uruguayan had a slowish start to his career at Barcelona (what with his little nibble at Italy defender Chiellini during the World Cup). But as the season wore on so Suarez began to emerge from the shadow of Messi and Neymar, bringing his own brand of devastating, relentless forward play. With a goal-scoring performance in the Champions League final in the summer, Suarez will go into the new season with the bit between his teeth (if you will) to continue the upward curve of his form and blast his way to more glory.
The latest in the Atletico Madrid conveyor belt of top strikers is Colombian striker Jackson Martinez. Technically gifted and blessed with natural power Martinez has come into La Liga from Portugese giants Porto where he topped the scoring charts in each of his three seasons at the club. A true goalscorer, the Colombian marksman will have his sights set on helping the other Madrid side return to their title winning heights of 2014.
Martinez’ partner in crime at Atletico will be hoping to better his 2014-15 form in which he was, essentially, best of the rest in goalscoring – with Messi and Ronaldo the only names to outscore him in the league. The tall French striker managed 22 league goals last term and, with a season of Spanish football under the belt and the confidence of his manager Simeone, he could be a dark horse for firing his way up the goal charts as part of Atletico’s assault on the league and in Europe.
Completing the triumvirate of talented goal nabbers at Atletico is the young Argentine forward. Following 18 goals at Villareal in 2015 the striker attracted the attention of a host of suitors from across the continent before opting to join Simeone’s striking revolution in the capital. With blistering speed and unerring balance, this could be a real breakthrough year for Vietto as he looks to join the elite ranks of truly world class forwards plying their trade in Spain.
He may have been second fiddle to Messi last year but make no mistake, the golden boy of Brazil made his own indelible mark on the league as one third of the most prolific strikeforce the league may have ever seen. And, with Messi more frequently taking on the role of conductor, the way may yet be clear for Neymar to really come to the fore in front of goal. Wonderful with the ball at his feet and capable of moments of genius, this might be the season that the maturing Brazilian finally takes up the predicted role of Messi’s successor in waiting.