Barcelona, Spain. 24th Aug, 2022. Haaland (L) and Lewandowski (R) talk prior to the Friendly match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City at the Spotify Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.

The top 10 goalscorers in Europe in the 2020s: Lewandowski, Haaland, Mbappe…

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the 2010s but the 2020s is seeing football undergo something of a changing of a guard as a new generation top the scoring charts in Europe.

A certain Norwegian striker first arrived in Europe’s big leagues in January 2020, signing for Borussia Dortmund, and signalling the dawn of a new era.

We’ve taken a closer look at the 10 players with the most goals in Europe’s big leagues – Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A – since the turn of the decade.

10. Lionel Messi – 64

The Argentinian icon has slowed down somewhat in recent years, with an underwhelming tally of just six league goals in his debut season with PSG, but he’s still been among Europe’s most deadly goalscorers in the 2020s.

Messi was prolific as ever in his last couple of years with Barcelona and soon acclimatised to Ligue 1 – 16 goals and 16 assists in 32 appearances in 2022-23 is a testament to that – but after narrowly overtaking Ronaldo to become the all-time top goalscorer in Europe’s five major leagues it looks like he’s played his final match in Europe.

He’s shown he’d still have had plenty to give elite European competition after his blistering start to life with Inter Miami. We don’t begrudge him living the high life in Florida, given he’s completed football. And never say never on a brief and romantic return.

READ: Messi next? 5 MLS superstars that returned to Europe on loan

9. Lautaro Martinez – 67

The Argentinian striker has scored 21 Serie A goals in back-to-back seasons for Inter. He just about edges out strike partner Romelu Lukaku – 63 goals over the same period – to make it into the top 10 here.

The 25-year-old has won Serie A and the World Cup in recent times and his numbers speak for themself – Martinez is undoubtedly one of the best forwards in Europe. He offered a reminder of that with both goals for Inter in their 2023-24 opener against Monza.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo – 69

Ronaldo left European football after almost two decades of turning out in the big five leagues, getting one last bumper paycheque and becoming the poster boy for Saudi Arabia stretching their muscles.

Even without any goals in 2023, and some pretty disappointing seasons at Juventus and Manchester United, the Portuguese still regularly found the back of the net right until the end with 69 league goals across his final three years at the top level.

7. Mohamed Salah – 75

Liverpool’s Egyptian King has won the Premier League Golden Boot in three of his six full seasons at Anfield, so it’s no surprise to see him feature in Europe’s most prolific goalscorers of the 2020s.

Salah has lifted every trophy going while representing Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and his consistency in the final third is one of the major reasons why. Even as Liverpool suffered a dramatic dip as they succumbed to a fifth-place finish in 2022-23, he still enjoyed a more than respectable individual campaign with 19 league goals.

And he’s already off the mark in 2023-24.

6. Harry Kane – 78

Thirty of Kane’s 77 Premier League goals since the turn of the decade came last season. Spurs might have been a right mess in 2022-23 but Kane showed his world-class ability in his Tottenham swansong.

The England captain scored on his Bayern debut and you imagine he might reach the kind of levels that Gerd Muller and Robert Lewandowski hit in the Bundesliga. And one day returning to the Premier League to score 47 more goals to break Alan Shearer’s record is not unthinkable either.

5. Karim Benzema – 78

Only Ronaldo has scored more goals for Real Madrid than Benzema, who arguably peaked in his thirties after years of selflessly serving Los Blancos’ famous No.7.

The Frenchman has finally departed the Bernabeu after 14 years. He arrives in Saudi Arabia as the current Ballon d’Or holder, having notched a career-best 44 goals (27 in the league) in 2021-22 as Madrid claimed a famous La Liga and Champions League double.

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

READ: 14 crazy stats that show why Karim Benzema deserved his Ballon d’Or

4. Ciro Immobile – 79

Immobile somehow goes under the radar somewhat, despite consistently featuring near the top end of such lists. The 33-year-old has won the Capocannoniere award for Serie A’s top goalscorer four times, including with 36 goals in 2019-20 and 27 goals in 2021-22.

There are questions marks over his effectiveness for the Azzurri, and whether his particular style is suited to elite teams, but there’s no arguing with his record in front of goal for Lazio.

3. Kylian Mbappe – 92

Watching Mbappe and Haaland slug it out in the years to come will be appointment viewing, or deeply dull if you’re scarred by years of online fanboys arguing over Messi and Ronaldo.

Whether or not you have a preference, there’s no denying Mbappe’s place among Europe’s elite. He’s only 24 and is already PSG’s all-time top scorer – 91 of his total 164 Ligue 1 goals have come in the past three and a half seasons.

He also scored from the penalty spot for PSG in his first appearance of 2023-24. Expect plenty more to follow.

2. Erling Haaland – 100

The Norwegian didn’t need any time to adapt to top-level football. He scored 62 goals in 67 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund and broke the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season in his debut season with Manchester City.

Haaland is well on track to beat his own record of the fastest player to notch 50 goals in a major European league. And he’s still just 23 years old.

1. Robert Lewandowski – 114

Haaland never actually won the Golden Boot whilst in Germany. It seemed his arrival spurred Lewandowski on to absolutely obscene new heights.

The Poland international claimed the European Golden Shoe in 2020-21 and 2021-22 with 41 and 35 Bundesliga goals respectively. Haaland beat him to that accolade in 2022-23, but Lewandowski still ended up La Liga’s top scorer with 23 league goals in his debut season with Barcelona.


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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every winner of the European Golden Shoe since 2000?