The 17 best goalscoring seasons in Europe since 2000: Messi, Ronaldo, Haaland…

Erling Haaland recently broke the Premier League goalscoring record with his 35th strike of the season and he is now in some great company with Europe’s best-ever goalscorers.

From Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, we have been blessed with plenty of world-class goalscorers in the 21st Century. Even Haaland has some way to go until he reaches the top spot.

It will come as no surprise that Messi currently holds the record for the highest-scoring league campaign since 2000. The Argentine wizard has always been great, but in 2011-12 he entered a new realm of goalscoring.

His record of 50 league goals in a season has stood for over a decade now, but a fair few players have gone close. Messi himself has had five league campaigns where he has scored over 35 goals.

Ronaldo isn’t far behind either, his prolific 2014-15 season which saw him score 48 goals is good enough for second place. Funnily enough, in each of Messi and Ronaldo’s most prolific seasons, neither of them won the league that year.

The two players dominate the top five with Robert Lewandowski being the next player to make the list in sixth place. His most prolific year with Bayern came in 2020-21 when he scored 41 goals.

What’s most baffling about that season is that he scored all of those goals in just 29 appearances. With a strike rate of 1.41 goals per game, we’re still disappointed he didn’t get his hands on the Ballon d’Or.

Luis Suarez is the only other player to have scored 40 or more league goals in the 21st Century. He even beat the likes of Messi and Ronaldo to the Golden Boot in 2015-16 which is impressive in itself.

Haaland’s record-breaking Premier League season places him in joint-14th on the list. As there are still five games to play, there’s every chance that he ends the season near the top of the list.

“It was special – he deserved it,” Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Without the team he couldn’t do it but he is a special striker.

“This record will be broken sooner or later, maybe by him in the future. We’re very pleased for him because it’s a joy to work with him and everyone is happy to have him.”

Manchester City even gave the Norwegian forward a guard of honour after breaking the Premier League record which had stood since 1994.

“In football with a special occasion you have to show how special it is,” Guardiola added. “To overcome Cole and Shearer, incredible strikers, is special.”

We’ve compiled a list of the top 17 best goalscoring seasons in Europe’s big five leagues since the year 2000. Haaland is bound to make it onto this list a few times in the following years, isn’t he?

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2011-12) 50 goals
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2014-15) 48 goals
=3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2012-13) 46 goals
=3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2011-12) 46 goals
5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2014-15) 43 goals
6. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, 2020-21) 41 goals
=7. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2010-11) 40 goals
=7. Luis Suarez (Barcelona, 2015-16) 40 goals
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG, 2015-16) 38 goals
10. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2016-17) 37 goals
=11. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, 2018-19) 36 goals
=11. Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli, 2015-16) 36 goals
=11. Ciro Immobile (Lazio, 2019-20) 36 goals
=14. Erling Haaland (Manchester City, 2022-23) 35 goals
=14. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, 2021-22) 35 goals
=14. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 2015-16) 35 goals
=14. Edinson Cavani (PSG, 2016-17) 35 goals

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