Comparing the conversion rates of the top 10 scorers in Europe

Quick Reads

Liverpool and Tottenham forwards joined two Barcelona men among Europe’s top scorers this season – but who was the most clinical?

Lionel Messi pipped Mohamed Salah to the European Golden Shoe, lifting the award for a record fifth time, but he wasn’t the most deadly of the bunch.

We’ve taken a look at the top 10 scorers in Europe this season and worked out how many shots it took them to score a goal.

There are a number of surprises along the way, not to mention that three of the top four most clinical shooters in Europe won’t be heading to the World Cup this summer.

10. Cristiano Ronaldo – 6.85 shots per goal

Ronaldo’s conversion rate of 14.6% could potentially be attributed to his struggles at the start of the season, before an incredible run of form saw him score 22 goals in 13 La Liga appearances.

In total he managed 26 league goals from 178 shots during the season, with only Messi taking more shots in La Liga.

9. Harry Kane – 6.13 shots per goal

Despite his best attempts, Kane ended up falling short in both the races for the Premier League Golden Boot and the European Golden Shoe.

He scored 30 goals – two less than Mohamed Salah and four behind Messi – and also finished the season with a worse conversion rate than both.

8. Lionel Messi – 5.79 shots per goal

Despite finishing top of the Golden Shoe standings, Messi had more shots than anyone else in Europe’s top five leagues, taking 197 attempts on goal during the 2017-18 La Liga season.

The Argentine netted 34 goals – at a conversion rate of 17.3% – to lift a fifth Golden Shoe award, taking him one clear of Ronaldo in becoming the most frequent winner of the award in its history.

7. Luis Suarez – 4.84 shots per goal

Suarez is the lowest scorer in the top 10, hitting 25 goals from 121 shots in La Liga this season at a conversion rate of 20.7%.

He is the only player other than Barcelona team-mate Messi and Ronaldo since 2009, sharing the award in 2013-14 before winning it for his incredible haul of 40 league goals in the 2015-16 campaign.

6. Mohamed Salah – 4.5 shots per goal

Salah netted a record-breaking 32 goals in 36 Premier League appearances, hitting 144 shots over the course of his historic campaign, finishing second in the race for the Golden Shoe.

The Egyptian won a host of awards including the PFA Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Year.

At his rate of 4.5 shots per goal – a conversion rate of 22.2% – he would have scored 41 times with the same number of shots as his closest competitor in the Premier League, Harry Kane.

READ: The alternative moments of the season: Martial, Salah, De Bruyne, Zaha…

5. Robert Lewandowski – 4.38 shots per goal

Lewandowski is the only Bundesliga player to take over 100 shots this season, taking 127 attempts on goal over the course of the campaign.

That stat is justified though when learning that his closest competitor for the domestic Golden Boot award was Timo Werner, who netted 15 goals – only just over half the 29 Lewandowski managed thanks to a conversion rate of 22.3%.

4. Jonas – 3.91 shots per goal

The only player outside Europe’s top five leagues is Benfica’s Jonas, whose 34 goals saw him finish ninth in the Golden Shoe standings, as his Portugal’s coefficient means his number of goals is only multiplied by 1.5 rather than the top five league’s factor of two.

He netted as many goals as Messi in 64 less shots, and has been in stunning goalscoring form ever since joining Benfica in 2014, scoring 99 league goals in 108 appearances.

3. Ciro Immobile – 3.79 shots per goal

Finishing as joint-top scorer in Serie A, Immobile has revitalised his career since joining Lazio two years ago.

He has scored 67 goals in 88 appearances in all competitions during his two seasons, and this term saw him finish joint-fourth in the race for the Golden Shoe with an impressive 29 goals from 110 shots (a 26.4% conversion rate).

2. Edinson Cavani – 3.75 shots per goal

Cavani’s incredible 170 goals in five seasons saw him overtake Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG’s all-time top scorer in 2017-18.

His 28 goals this campaign have come from just 105 shots – a conversion rate of 26.7% – as he formed part of a deadly front three alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

1. Mauro Icardi – 3.48 shots per goal

With the best conversion rate of Europe’s top scorers (28.7%) , Icardi managed his 29 goals for the campaign from just 101 attempts.

Still, it wasn’t enough to see him make the Argentina World Cup squad, and to put that into perspective, at his rate of scoring he would have scored 57 times this season if he had taken 197 shots – the same as countryman Messi, who managed five more goals.


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