2017-18 La Liga Top Scorers: Everything You Need to Know

2017-18 La Liga Top Scorers: Everything You Need to Know

The 2017-18 La Liga is nearing its final games as Barcelona dominates the rankings with 90 points. Atletico Madrid trails them with their 78 points while Real Madrid takes the third spot with a humble 75 points, just three points shy from Atletico’s.

Meanwhile, Valencia and Villareal take the fourth and fifth spot to themselves with 70 and 60 points respectively. Yes, these clubs might be at the apex of the Spanish top-flight, but who are the heroes behind these great triumphs? Well, that’s what we’re going to find out.

Here are the top scorers of this year’s Spanish La Liga.

Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi is at his prime. Some say that he’s the best football player in the world, while there are others that say it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. One thing’s for sure though and that he’s a legend of the game.

Messi is La Liga’s leading scorer with a strong 34 league goals for this season. However, that’s not the only award he’s set to receive this season as he’s also expected to win this year’s Ballon d’Or award — a double bogey for Messi. There are also two more games remaining, which means that Messi can still add more goals to his already outstanding record.

Him getting his fifth Ballon d’Or is likely to happen as their faceoff against Lazio would be an easy breezy for them as star player Ciro Immobile will be kept at the bench due to his recently sustained thigh injury. If he ever gets his fifth golden shoe, then there’s no doubt that he’s the better player compared to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo this season.

Not only will this put an end to the debates, but this will also help the Argentine from gaining more confidence (at least for this year). Regarding the Pichichi Trophy, there’s also no questioning who’s going to win it as Messi will surely get it.

Cristiano Ronaldo has netted 25 goals while teammate Luis Suarez got 24. It’s not a big deal for Suarez, though, as he had been vocal about his support for Messi’s mission of solidifying his legacy.

But when it comes to Ronaldo? Nah, it’s pretty clear that he’s not happy with the results. All-season long, the Portuguese had been vying to silence his critics and prove that he’s the best player. But based on the looks of it, it’s very clear that he will only be the best in the FIFA Live video game.

If ever Messi wins the Pichichi (which he surely will), he will then match the record of football legends Alfredo di Stefano, Quini, and Hugo Sanchez.

All in all, the Argentinian scored 45 goals and 18 assists in all of his 53 games in multiple competitions this season. This includes the La Liga, Copa del Rey, and Champions League.

Unfortunately, Messi and crew weren’t too lucky with how things went during their Levante matchup last Sunday. The unexpected game was a 4-5 enthralling faceoff which resulted to their first defeat after 43 games in La Liga.

No one saw it coming, not even Messi and Ernesto Valverde. Levante proved too strong to handle. Nonetheless, there’s no need to question why it happened, because it was all about underestimating their opponent.

La Liga is not yet done, but Barca had already reserved the trophy for themselves two weeks ago after the thrilling 2-2 draw against bitter rival Real Madrid. It was a close match, but it still ended without a loss.

It was supposed to make them the first team since Real Madrid in 1932 to finish the season undefeated. Unfortunately, their overconfidence swallowed them up, and in the process, were defeated by a struggling team.

Their showcase of brilliance at the Ciutat de Valencia Stadium crushed their hopes of making a new record. Levant, who are ranked 15th in the power rankings didn't seem like a formidable opponent until the game day arrived.

The Granotas attacked all angles, and their groundbreaking defense overwhelmed Barca’s sloppy offense. This was a huge surprise knowing that Levante hung to dear life all season long just to avoid relegation.

Another main reason why they were defeated was because coach Ernesto Valverde decided to rest the league’s top scorer, Lionel Messi out of the game. He thought that his men could fend off the club ranked 15th in the league.

What made the situation worse was that he didn’t let star defenders Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique start. This messed up the lineup that they’ve been used to playing with throughout the season.

Meanwhile, Messi is getting a barrage of praises from across the football word. One of which comes from former Barca defender Javier Mascherano who said that Messi had greatly improved even if he hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or for two straight years after missing out to Real Madrid’s Ronaldo.

Mascherano adds that the 31-year-old Argentinian had improved greatly as a player. He even said to Mundo Deportivo that it’s unlikely for the people to see another player like Lionel Messi, as he implied that the forward is a rare breed.
He then continued saying how lucky he was for having the opportunity to play with a “unique” player.

Meanwhile, Messi’s contribution to the Barca offense hasn’t waned even if his role in the pitch has changed a bit. Despite this, he managed to transition fairly smoothly, even to the point of making himself worthy to be called as a jack of all trades. Perhaps this is the reason why people like Mascherano look up highly on Messi.

It’s also worth noting that Messi isn’t only a great scorer but is also a phenomenal passer with his 81.2% passing success rate. He’s also won 0.2 aerials — proof of his elite finishing skills and layoff plays. His long ball strikes and tackles also complement Valverde's game strategy, which makes him a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Luis Suarez

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Then there’s Luis Suarez who’s the second top scorer in the Spanish top flight. However, his case is a bit different from Messi as his team wants to see him leave Nou Camp. Reports have it that the Uruguayan will leave Barca this summer to give way for Antoine Griezmann’s entry into the club.

The Frenchman will replace him as the striker if ever the transfer pushes through. But don't mistake Suarez' case to be the result of underperformance as he's been great all season long. Bagging 33 goals for Barcelona in multiple competitions this season, there’s no doubt that he’s one elite player.

The Uruguayan had been the go-to striker of Nou Camp since he moved from Anfield four years ago. He also didn’t come cheap as his transfer fee was reported to be a whopping £65 million. Now, it seems like those four long years had been enough to prove that he’s better off in another team as the Barca bosses are reported to allow him to leave once the summer transfer window opens.

The reason, according to sports analysts, is to accommodate the entry of French superstar Griezmann, whom Barca believes is a better fit for the club than Suarez.

Griezmann, who's currently the winger of Atletico Madrid just renewed his contract last summer, but there's no problem with it as it has a release clause of £87 million. Barcelona can surely afford that amount of money.

And surprisingly, even Suarez himself welcomes the arrival of Griezmann. According to him, he feels happy that a player like Griezmann’s caliber will join his club. In his statement, the Barca striker said that Griezmann has a lot of experience in playing at the highest level, and this is what will help Barcelona further strengthen its lineup next season.

On the other hand, there’s Inter Milan who’s also eyeing Luis Suarez. Based on a report by Don Balon, Biscione wants to get Suarez to play in San Siro stadium if they can sell Mauro Icardi at a good price.

It's also reported by Don Balon that Inter Milan will pursue Suarez if they make it to the Champions League qualification. However, there are also reports that Suarez will no longer leave Barcelona because of the rumored arrival of Griezmann whom he wants to play with. Add that to the reality of his connection with Lionel Messi, and one can easily say that him leaving Nou Camp won’t be easy.

But then again, Suarez is already turning 31-years-old. While he may be the same age as Messi, his pace has slowed down considerably which makes Valverde think of setting him free. Also, the Uruguayan's coordination and offside awareness have deteriorated much, that putting him in the starting lineup seems like a gamble between winning and losing.

Compare him to the more agile and better dribbler Griezmann, and it would make sense to set the Uruguayan free. Though the Frenchman can’t compare to the superior statistics of Suarez, he still has a better hold of the game thanks to his wit and deep connection with his teammates.

And if ever Luis Suarez does leave the club, there's no doubt that it will leave huge repercussions in Barcelona. Firstly, El Pistolera is Messi’s closest friend in the club. Secondly, Suarez’ not-so-great performance this season might not be due to his age, but to other factors, so sending him off even if he’s just 31-years-old might not be the wisest decision as it might be a huge waste.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo is one player worthy of immense fame. After all, he’s considered as the world’s best player, well, together with Messi.

But nonetheless, he’s got what it takes to be a great legend of the game. This is the reason why he landed in the third spot of La Liga’s top scorers. Having made 25 goals and contributing five assists for Real Madrid this season, one can easily say that he’s one due for greatness.

It took him around an average of 89 minutes to score a goal — a huge feat, to say the least. However, he just played 2,230 minutes, which is by all means low. If only he played longer, then there’s no doubt that he would have scored more goals, and possibly overtaking Luis Suarez or even his bitter rival Lionel Messi.

And yes, he's already 33-years-old, but still in great condition.

The season didn't start smoothly for Ronaldo as it was sluggish at first. Despite this, he still thrived, thanks to the support he gets from Zinedine Zidane and his mates at the Bernabeu. Gareth Bale’s prowess in the forward position and Sergio Ramos’ defending skills were just too good for him to whine about his bad season starter.

Isco and Keylor Navas’ talent in the midfield and goal positions also helped boost Ronaldo’s confidence with his striking capabilities. Thanks to these guys, Ronaldo didn’t just score big in La Liga, but in other competitions as well.

He made a total of 44 goals out of his 44 games in six different contests: La Liga, Champions League, FIFA World Cup, Club Friendlies, International Friendlies, and Confederations Cup.

He even helped Los Blancos make it to the Champions League finals for the third straight time, proof that he can excel in whatever environment he’s in.

Unfortunately, the age-old debate as to who’s better between Messi and Ronaldo might have an answer for this season. The Argentinian legend had a blistering season having made 45 goals in all competitions. He bagged 34 goals in La Liga, helping Barca claim the crown again.

He also scored at the final minute clinch of their Copa del Rey faceoff last month, which then gained him the title of the world’s best player. And yes, the Pichichi and Ballon d’Or awards are at Messi’s grasps. But that’s not much of a big deal for Ronaldo as he always has next season to regain what he lost this year.

However, their rivalry isn't just about this season's numbers; as it also has to do with the clubs, they're playing for. Real Madrid and Barcelona had been the most bitter of rivals for decades. Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas, the legends of Bernabeau, had been through the club’s thick and thin, while Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola, and Romario all had their fair share of greatness with Barca in Nou Camp.

It all makes sense why people would keep on banging Ronaldo and Messi with each other —because of history. However, Real Madrid center back Nacho claims that the debate shouldn't exist because Ronaldo is the better player.

Nacho played with Ronaldo for over a decade and since then had won 13 trophies together. It might be a bit biased, but Nacho’s statement stands on firm ground knowing that he still thrived even if Real Madrid was short of superstars a few years ago.

Nacho added that Ronaldo isn’t only a great player, but also a good friend and teammate because of his immense skills and talent in the field. He then concluded his statement by saying that he’s lucky to play side-by-side Ronaldo.

That, however, isn’t surprising as he had been in Ronaldo’s side ever since his career break. For sure, the same is said with Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez about their thoughts on Messi with a few more years of playing together.

Real Madrid had a pretty rough ride this season, that’s why Coach Zinedine Zidane wants to have a major revamp, of course, with the exemption of Ronaldo. Reports said that Los Blancos might welcome Neymar this summer, who had been said to be unhappy with his stay at Parc des Princes.

This will surely be another blockbuster deal as the Brazilian joined PSG last summer for a jaw-dropping €220 million transfer fee. That number will increase even more once Zidane bargains him out of Thomas Tuchel’s side.

But the transfer rumors aren’t just about the players as Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane might also be axed out of the team due to their poor performance this season. This, however, also makes sense as the blame cannot be put entirely on the players.

Ronaldo's perseverance to win can be clearly felt with his 44 total goals this season. Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos are also having a great time with their respective positions as each has scored a total of 21 and five goals respectively, which is an excellent number considering that they are playing for the midfield and defense positions.

Teamwork in the group is also doing great as their average passing success percentage hovers around the 80% to 85% mark.

Up until now, Ronaldo stays as the face of Real Madrid. He’s got a whole lot of leadership sills that seem to invigorate his teammates to push themselves to the maximum limit for that sweet taste of victory. This, according to sports analysts, is one of the reasons why Ronaldo is once in a generation player.

However, Ronaldo’s influence in the club also has some drawbacks, at least in the other players’ side. It’s because the Portuguese star can find a way to get rid of someone if he doesn’t like to play with them.

In this case, the blacklisted guys are Marcos Llorente, Dani Ceballos, Jesus Vallejo, and Borja Mayoral. These players haven't made a huge contribution to Real Madrid's offense and defense, which might be the reason why the captain wants to let them leave Bernabeu.

However, there’s another surprising player in the list — Gareth Bale. The Welshman had been in decent form all season long, but he’s got inconsistency issues which might be Ronaldo’s problem with him. Despite this, he’s still highly sought after by the top clubs in England including Manchester United and Chelsea.

For now, what Ronaldo needs to do is to bag as many achievements as he can because time is no longer by his side. In two or three years, his performance in the field will start to decline. When that time comes, Messi would have taken full control of the football world.

In fact, his aging process already took a toll on him as he sustained a knee injury during their faceoff with Messi’s Barcelona a few weeks ago. Now, he’s doing his best to get back on his prime condition to make it in time for the World Cup this summer.

Final Thoughts

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With all these being said, one can clearly see that La Liga is where the top players in the world play. There’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who are each vying for the title of best football player.

However, this time, it’s a bit different as a newcomer to the elite level has come — Luis Suarez. Suarez is fairly new in this category as he had lied low throughout his career.

Does this signal that a new age for European football has come?

Well, that might be the case as we’re now seeing the rise of potential new Messis and Ronaldos in the future. And La Liga isn’t the only powerhouse, as the youngsters who have superstar potential can be found all across Europe.

There’s Harry Kane, a striker for Tottenham, who had swooped the world in more ways expected. Sports analysts even believe that he might get to Ronaldo and Messi’s ranks in a few years from now, especially that he’s still 24-years-old and has so much potential.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah hailed as the greatest Arab to play football, has also been the stuff of headlines for quite some time.

They’re just two of the players who are expected to shine in the near future.

Though that’s a good thing for football fans as it shows that the sport is not slowing down, it turns out that it also serves as a warning for Messi and Ronaldo to make the most out of the remaining time left in their prime years.

It's all about setting the highest possible benchmarks so that when their time has ended, the new generation will have a challenging time beating their records.

Jomar is a full-time writer by day and a sports enthusiast by night. After 4 years in business school & working for multinational clients, he believes his writings can make the world a better place.

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