We’re now rapidly approaching the conclusion of an unprecedented year both on and off the pitch, with the turn of the New Year just a matter of weeks away.
It’s been a year that has seen a three-month hiatus of Europe’s major leagues, a postponed European Championships and reformatted Champions League latter stages, as a majority of fans have been sadly forced away due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The stars of the game have continued to fire, however, and we’ve decided to look at the most prolific players from the calendar year so far.
Here are the five leading scorers in Europe’s major leagues in 2020:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 20 goals
Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to defy Father Time following a remarkable return to the European game, resigning for former club AC Milan at the start of the year and having an incredible impact.
Many felt a move to MLS and LA Galaxy – following a serious knee injury at Manchester United – was the start of the forward’s career winding down, but he has rubbished that notion by returning to Europe and transforming the fortunes of arguably the continent’s biggest sleeping giant.
Ibrahimovic scored 10 league goals in 18 appearances over the second half of last season, firing Milan to Europa League qualification as the Rossoneri finished the campaign with a 12-game unbeaten run.
It’s been even better this time out as the 39-year-old has begun the new season with 10 goals in just six league appearances, firing Milan to the top of the division following an unbeaten start to the campaign.
Ibrahimovic’s arrival at the San Siro has proven the catalyst for a remarkable renaissance for Milan, the evergreen former Sweden international so far dragging his side out of a decade spent in the doldrums.
Ciro Immobile – 23 goals
Lazio’s talismanic forward has enjoyed the best period of his career with the capital club, including a record-breaking season last term that saw Ciro Immobile equal the most goals ever scored in a Serie A season.
The 30-year-old’s sensational season saw him win the Capocannoniere as Italy’s leading scorer for a third time in his career, with only former AC Milan icon Gunnar Nordahl having ever won the prize on more occasions.
Immobile also became the first player in more than a decade outside of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the European Golden Shoe outright; his record standing at 23 goals for the calendar year after netting five times in seven appearances so far this season.
The Italy international has scored an astonishing 133 goals in 187 appearances for Lazio over a little more than four seasons, Immobile just 17 goals short of becoming the Rome outfit’s all-time record goalscorer.
Erling Haaland – 23 goals
Sitting level with Immobile on 23 goals this calendar year is Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, a player whose goalscoring rate has been simply frightening since his emergence last season.
Haaland burst onto the scene with Red Bull Salzburg before securing a winter window move to Dortmund last January, memorably scoring a hat-trick as a substitute on his debut for the Bundesliga side.
The goals have continued to flow at a rapid rate with 23 in just 23 league appearances for Dortmund, a staggering statistic for any player – let alone a 20-year-old yet to complete first full season in Germany’s top flight.
Haaland has emerged as arguably the most exciting talent in the game with his goalscoring extending to club football’s biggest stage, becoming the fastest player in Champions League history to reach 15 goals, achieving the feat in just 12 fixtures.
The forward has scored a huge 61 goals in all competitions for Salzburg and Dortmund since the start of last season, a figure that will continue to rise in the coming months for a player simply born to score goals.
Robert Lewandowski – 27 goals
But for the unprecedented cancellation of club football’s greatest individual prize, Robert Lewandowski would likely have celebrated a deserved and maiden Ballon d’Or next month.
The Poland international has been arguably the best player in world football over the past 18 months, scoring 55 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich last season to fire the German giants to a historic treble.
Lewandowski finished the season as the leading scorer in the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup, winning each title to add to a burgeoning collection of silverware won in Bavaria.
World football’s finest number nine has shown no signs of relenting this season and has scored 12 goals in just eight league appearances for Bayern, as he bids to finish as the Bundesliga’s leading scorer for a sixth time.
The 31-year-old is now just two goals short of reaching 250 in the Bundesliga for Dortmund and Bayern, his 27 league goals across this calendar year bettered by just one player across Europe’s top five leagues.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 29 goals
It’s a familiar face leading the charge for Europe’s leading scorers in 2020, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo once more the most prolific player on the continent.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored 21 league goals following the turn of the New Year for Juventus to fire the Bianconeri to an eighth consecutive league title last season, finishing as the runner-up to Ciro Immobile for the league’s Capocannoniere award.
Ronaldo has begun the new season brilliantly once more to score eight times in five appearances, including braces against Roma, Spezia and Cagliari, with only the aforementioned Ibrahimovic having netted more Serie A goals so far this season.
No player in history has ever finished as the leading scorer in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, Ronaldo likely to have his sights set firmly on more history this season, in addition to ending Juventus’ long wait for Champions League success.