As 2021 reaches its conclusion we’ve looked back at some of the best stats from the calendar year, including a look at the most prolific players across European football’s top five leagues.
We’ve seen some great goalscorers hit huge numbers during 2021, with a collection of the elite having his 30+ goals across league, cup and continental competition.
Here are the rankings of 2021’s most prolific performers.
Gerard Moreno (30 goals in 42 games, 109 minutes per goal)
Gerard Moreno netted 30 goals across all competitions in 2021, having been the inspiration behind Villarreal’s Europa League success last season.
Moreno was named as the tournament’s best player after scoring a joint-high of seven goals, including in the final as the Spanish side defeated Manchester United on penalties.
5 – Spanish players in top five Euro leagues with most goals produced with his clubs (goals+assists) in all competitions in 2021:
44 – Gerard Moreno (31+13)
27 – Santi Mina (20+7)
24 – Álvaro Morata (17+7)
23 – Jorge Molina (18+5)
23 – Mikel Oyarzabal (16+7)
¿Qatar? 🇶🇦🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/RqeWV5AfrC
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 27, 2021
The 29-year-old also finished as joint runner-up to Lionel Messi for the Pichichi Award as La Liga’s leading scorer last term and has found form in recent weeks after a spell out injured, scoring five goals in three league fixtures before the winter break.
Cristiano Ronaldo (34 goals in 51 games, 126 minutes per goal)
Cristiano Ronaldo made history last season after finishing as Serie A’s highest-scoring star, becoming the first player to win leading scorer accolades in England, Spain and Italy.
Ronaldo’s goals ensured Juventus sealed Champions League qualification, before the Portugal international made a return to former side Manchester United during the summer.
The 36-year-old has since shown he remains one of Europe’s most lethal marksman, scoring 14 goals across all competitions since his Old Trafford return.
His finest performances have come on the Champions League stage, where a series of late goals helped the Red Devils secure qualification to the knockout stages.
Lionel Messi (34 goals in 45 games, 106 minutes per goal)
Level on 34 with Ronaldo is his old rival, Lionel Messi, who has scored his 34 goals in 45 games throughout the calendar year.
Messi finished as the leading scorer in Spain for a record-extending eighth time and fifth consecutive campaign last season, including netting 23 goals from 21 league games for Barcelona after the turn of the new year.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi finish 2021 as Juventus and Barcelona's top scorers despite leaving in the summer 🐐 pic.twitter.com/rHv0zzEClI
— GOAL (@goal) December 22, 2021
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner made a shock move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer and has struggled to find his goalscoring form in Paris, netting just once in Ligue 1 during the 2021/22 season.
He has performed impressively in the Champions League for the Parisians, however, scoring five goals in just five appearances in this season’s competition.
Dusan Vlahovic (35 goals in 47 games, 115 minutes per goal)
Dusan Vlahovic is a name being courted by a whole host of Europe’s leading clubs, following the forward’s stunning breakthrough at Fiorentina in 2021.
The 21-year-old incredibly equalled Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for most Serie A goals in a calendar year, scoring 33 league goals for the Italian side – including 16 in 18 games to lead the race for this season’s Capocannoniere award.
Arsenal and Tottenham are amongst the clubs reportedly interested in prising the Serbian from Florence, but it will take a huge bid given his evolution into one of Europe’s most sought-after talents.
Mohamed Salah (37 goals in 53 games, 121 minutes per goal)
Mohamed Salah leads the Premier League for goals scored in 2021, netting 37 times for Liverpool across all competitions.
The Egyptian finished as runner-up for the Premier League’s Golden Boot last season and has enjoyed a blistering start to the current campaign, leading the league for both goals and assists.
Mohamed Salah has scored 26 goals for Liverpool away from Anfield in 2021 – beating Ian Rush's club record of 25 in 1982.
In total Salah has 37 goals in this calendar year. Only Rush has ever bettered that – scoring 44 in 1986 and 38 in 1982. (courtesy of @ged0407) #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) December 28, 2021
Salah has scored 22 goals in just 25 games so far this season, including netting seven in just six Champions League appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Having enjoyed incredible consistency in recent campaigns, the 29-year-old is arguably hitting the finest form of his career to date.
Karim Benzema (38 goals in 50 games, 108 minutes per goal)
Karim Benzema continues to provide the goalscoring inspiration at Real Madrid, the veteran another who has arguably played his best football across the past 12 months.
Benzema leads the goalscoring charts in Spain so far this season after scoring 15 league goals for Carlo Ancelotti’s league leaders.
⚽️ 3⃣0⃣ GOALS.
🎁 1⃣1⃣ ASSISTS.
It's been quite a year for @Benzema! 🔝#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/Odu2P3ouOb
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) December 30, 2021
The France international also ranks second for assists with Los Blancos’ attacks often channelled through their talisman, who is in pursuit of a first Pichichi trophy after an era of dominance from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi which has been interrupted just once (Luis Suarez – 2014/15) across the past 12 seasons.
Kylian Mbappe (43 goals in 53 games, 108 minutes per goal)
Just one player scored more goals than Kylian Mbappe for club and country in 2021, the forward netting 51 goals – including 43 in just 53 games at club level.
Kylian Mbappe finished as Ligue 1’s leading scorer for a third successive season in 2020/21, scoring a career-best haul of 42 goals in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappe’s goals were not enough to deliver the title for PSG, but he did find the net as former side Monaco were beaten 2-0 in the Coupe de France final.
Robert Lewandowski is the only player from Europe's top five leagues that scored more goals in 2021 than Kylian Mbappe 🇫🇷📈 pic.twitter.com/qDm5IUZzME
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 20, 2021
The 23-year-old has also produced some scintillating performances in the Champions League, including scoring a hat-trick against Barcelona at the Camp Nou and a clinical brace as PSG beat Bayern Munich in last season’s quarter-finals.
Having seen a move to Real Madrid fail to materialise last summer, the Frenchman – who has entered the final months of his contract at the Parc des Princes – has scored 15 goals in all competitions so far this season.
Erling Haaland (43 goals in 43 games, 86 minutes per goal)
Since bursting onto the scene at Red Bull Salzburg, Erling Haaland has been a goal machine.
The forward has scored 43 goals in just 43 games during 2021, averaging a goal every 86 minutes for Borussia Dortmund and breaking a whole host of records.
Haaland became the fastest and youngest player in Champions League history to reach 20 goals in the competition this year, achieving the feat in just 14 games – a huge 10 games fewer than previous record-holder, Harry Kane.
Erling Haaland in 2021 for BVB:
🅰️ 1️⃣4️⃣ pic.twitter.com/q2T1FVgVFZ
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) December 30, 2021
The Norwegian was named as the Bundesliga Player of the Season in 2020/21 after averaging almost a goal-per-game in the league last season and has scored 13 goals from just 10 games in this season’s German top flight.
With his €75m release clause set to become active next summer, European football is set for a gargantuan transfer tussle to secure his signature.
Robert Lewandowski (56 goals in 45 games, 68 minutes per goal)
Robert Lewandowski leads the way for goals scored across Europe’s top five leagues in 2021, netting 56 times in all competitions during an incredible 2021 for Bayern Munich.
Amongst his highlights was breaking the Bundesliga’s all-time single-season goal record, eclipsing the 40-goal mark of Gerd Muller set in 1971/72 – a record many felt would never be bettered.
Robert Lewandowski has scored 43 Bundesliga goals in 2021, breaking Gerd Müller's 1972 competition record for the most in a single calendar year.
On another level. 😤 pic.twitter.com/JU7rPPbOLo
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 17, 2021
Lewandowski scored an absurd 41 goals in just 29 league games for Bayern and finished last season with 48 in all competitions, whilst he was still only named as runner-up to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or.
The 33-year-old has already scored 30 goals in all competitions as we reach the half-way point in the campaign, his numbers mind-boggling and Lewandowski looks set for another huge year in 2022.
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