Benfica's Darwin Nunez celebrates after scoring in the Primeira Liga game against Maritimo at Estadio da Luz. December 2021.

The 5 players with the best mins-per-goal ratio in 21-22: Darwin Nunez top

Robert Lewandowski won another European Golden Shoe in 2021-22 – but he didn’t have the best minutes-per-goal ratios of the top goalscorers.

Lewandowski scored seven more goals than his closest competitor, Kylian Mbappe, in Europe’s six major leagues, but the Poland international was not the most prolific when taking into account minutes required per goal.

We’ve looked at the five players with the best minutes per goal ratios in Europe’s top six leagues in 2021-22. Note: we’ve only included forwards that played at least 1000 minutes. 

5. Karim Benzema – 96.4 minutes

The overwhelming favourite to win the next Ballon d’Or, Benzema enjoyed the best individual season of his career in 2021-22.

Real Madrid’s No.9 played an integral role in their Champions League success and got 10 goals in the knockout stages, including hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea.

But the France international also starred on the domestic scene and made 32 La Liga appearances as Madrid finished 13 points ahead of second-placed Barcelona.

He finished 2021-22 with 27 goals in La Liga, a remarkable nine more than the next closest, while he also recorded the second most assists in the division.

Karim Benzema celebrates after Real Madrid win the Champions League final. Stade de France, 28th May, 2022.

READ: 13 crazy stats that show why Karim Benzema deserves the Ballon d’Or

4. Patrick Schick – 87.3 minutes

Schick shot to prominence with his stunning long-range strike against Scotland at Euro 2020. Alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, the Czech Republic international was also the joint top scorer at the tournament.

He was linked with a move away from Bayer Leverkusen but Europe’s elite ultimately decided against signing a player that had never scored more than 11 goals in a league season.

They’re probably regretting that decision now as Schick established himself as one of the best goalscorers in Europe in 2021-22.

Despite missing seven of Leverkusen’s 34 Bundesliga games due to injury problems, the 26-year-old scored 24 goals from 2,096 minutes.

“Patrik Schick has played a fantastic season, demonstrating that he’s an absolute world-class player in his position,” Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes said after the striker signed a new contract with the club.

“There are only a few centre-forwards of his calibre internationally.”

3. Erling Haaland – 87.04 minutes

Injuries limited Haaland to just 21 starts and a further three substitute appearances in the Bundesliga in 2021-22, but he more than stepped up whenever he was available. 

The Norway international scored 22 goals from just 1,915 Bundesliga minutes, helping Borussia Dortmund finish second and five points ahead of Schick’s Leverkusen. 

He’s since completed a £51.2million move to Manchester Cty and Premier League Golden Boot winners Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min couldn’t match Haaland’s efficiency in 2021-22.

But the 22-year-old wasn’t the most prolific striker in the Bundesliga as that title goes to…

2. Robert Lewandowski – 86.8 minutes

After scoring 35 Bundesliga goals for Bayern Munich in 2021-22, Lewandowski won the Golden Shoe award for the second consecutive season.

The 33-year-old striker seems to be ageing like a fine wine and his fitness and availability have become two of his greatest assets.

He didn’t miss any of Bayern’s Bundesliga matches in 2021-22, starting in all 34 and featuring for 2,951 minutes – a fair bit more than anyone else that makes this list. To maintain better than a goal-a-game average over such a long period is ridiculously impressive.

No wonder a financially crippled Barcelona have offered him a €9million a year contract and Bayern are desperately trying to keep him at the Allianz Arena.

1. Darwin Nunez – 78.1 minutes

Liverpool’s newest recruit, Nunez caught people’s attention with his performances in the Champions League as Benfica reached the quarter-finals in 2021-22.

The Uruguay international scored six goals in 10 games in the competition, including strikes against Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

But it was his stunning form in the Primeira Liga that cemented his status as the most prolific goalscorer in Europe’s top six leagues in 2021-22.

The 22-year-old netted 26 goals in a league season for the first time in his career and needed only 2,031 minutes to score them.

Admittedly, the quality of opposition in the Primeira Liga means many will place an asterisk alongside his numbers. But his £85million move to Liverpool will give him the chance to silence those critics once and for all in 2022-23.

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