Lionel Messi won the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time with his 36 La Liga goals in 2018-19 – but he didn’t have the best minutes-per-goal ratios of the top goalscorers.
Messi scored three more goals than his closest competitor, Kylian Mbappé, in Europe’s five major leagues, but the Argentine was not the most prolific when taking into account minutes required per goal.
Of the players to have scored at least 10 goals in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A or Ligue 1 this season, here are the top 10 minutes-per-goal ratios.
1. Paco Alcácer – 67 mins per goal
Effectively the most prolific goalscorer in Europe, Alcácer started only 11 games in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund in 2018-19 yet racked up an unbelievable 18 goals.
You might wonder why Dortmund started the majority of their games with their top scorer on the bench, but Alcácer failed to score on five of the nine occasions he was given longer than 45 minutes in the league.
Conversely, he needed only 31 minutes as a sub to score a hat-trick for BVB against Augsburg in October. Why change a winning formula?
2. Kylian Mbappé – 71 mins per goal
With 33 goals, Mbappé was second only to Messi in Europe’s big leagues this season, and the PSG forward actually scored his at a quicker rate than the Argentine.
He was playing in a weaker league, of course, and with a team which won the title at a canter, but that doesn’t make record of 33 goals from 2344 minutes – at the age of only 20, FFS – any less impressive.
3. Lionel Messi – 75 mins per goal
It’s been business as usual again this season for Messi in La Liga, even without Cristiano Ronaldo there to keep him on his toes.
Barcelona’s talisman finished with 36 goals in La Liga, a remarkable 15 than the next closest, Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema, while he also recorded the joint most assists.
Not to mention a load of other highs..
4. Edinson Cavani – 93 mins per goal
Cavani rarely seems to get mentioned in discussions about the world’s best centre-forwards anymore, but with 18 goals in 1676 minutes in Ligue 1 this season, he has once again scored at a faster rate than plenty of more heralded players.
As with Mbappé, the quality of opposition compared to undoubtedly means many will place an asterisk alongside his numbers, but Cavani has already done it in Italy and, if rumours are to be believed, will get the chance to see if he can do it in La Liga or the Premier League next season.
5. Iago Aspas – 113 mins per goal
Aspas will forever be remembered in England for *that* corner and for just generally underwhelming at Liverpool, but the Spaniard has been a phenomenon in his four seasons back at Celta Vigo, scoring 75 goals in La Liga alone.
He managed 20 for the second year in a row in 2018-19 and needed only 2,262 minutes to score them.
6. Emiliano Sala – 115 mins per goal
Sala scored an impressive 12 goals in 1,377 minutes for Nantes in Ligue 1 in the first half of the season, form which alerted Cardiff before his tragic death.
7. Ishak Belfodil – 117 mins per goal
Belfodil has had a strange career. Breaking through at Lyon in France, he went on to play for Parma and Inter in Italy but then spent a season in the UAE and then a season in Belgium with Standard Liège where his form was good enough to earn him a move back to one of Europe’s major leagues on a season-long loan with Werder Bremen.
He scored only four goals in the Bundesliga in his year there but then joined Hoffenheim last summer and went on to score 16 goals in just 1,864 minutes for a team that only finished ninth.
Like we say, weird.
8. Sergio Aguero – 118 mins per goal
Aguero finished one goal behind the Premier League’s three leading goalscorers for the season – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – but the Argentine scored at a faster rate than anyone in the division.
He already has the best goals-to-game ratio in Premier League history and needs only one more hat-trick to break Alan Shearer’s record for most trebles in the competition.
9. Fabio Quagliarella – 124 mins per goal
When Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus, you’d probably have got odds-against on him not finishing as the league’s top goalscorer.
Quagliarella, who turned 36 in January, not only outscored him by five but did so at a slightly faster rate – a goal every 124 minutes compared to one every 128 minutes – and matched the Portuguese’s tally of eight assists.
Quagliarella also scored the second highest percentage of his team’s goals in Serie A, netting 26 of Sampdoria’s total of 60 (43%), once again proving Italy is the place to be for veterans who want to succeed.
10. Charles – 124 mins per goal
Another veteran, Charles recently turned 35 but finished the season with an impressive 14 goals for mid-table Eibar in Spain.
It’s his most prolific ever season in La Liga and his best since 2012-13 when he scored 27 to help Almeria to promotion from the second division.
Like a fine wine, clearly.