The fastest players to reach 50 goals in Europe’s big leagues since 2000
Erling Haaland scoring 50 goals in 50 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund is a mind-blowing achievement – but how does that record compare to the greats of recent history?
The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were still yet to become unstoppable goal machines back when they were Haaland’s age.
We’ve taken a look at the fastest 10 players to hit 50 goals in Europe’s top five leagues – Ligue 1, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and the Premier League – since 2000.
The list is dominated by big-name signings who were established at the top of their game before hitting the ground running at major powerhouses. That makes Haaland’s achievement all the more impressive – but where does the Norwegian wonderkid rank?
=10. Mohamed Salah (Chelsea & Liverpool)
Salah would be considerably higher in this list, were it not for his fruitless spell on the fringes at Chelsea, having scored two goals in 13 Premier League appearances for the Blues, many of them off the bench.
Still, he edges the top 10, having scored 47 goals in his first 59 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, to make it 50 in 72 overall. Only Alan Shearer reached the Premier League milestone in fewer minutes.
=10. Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
El Nino’s arrival at Anfield came with one of the great adverts of the Premier League era – and luckily enough for Nike, he justified all the noise.
The former Spain international scored 24 league goals in his debut season in England, before injuries began to limit his gametime. Still, he continued to boast a better than one-in-two goalscoring ratio across his time in Merseyside, needing just 72 appearances to score his first 50 Premier League goals for the Reds.
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) October 15, 2017
=8. Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)
Some of Shevchenko’s goals for Milan came before the turn of the century, but we’re including the Ukrainian because his 50th in Serie A came in 2001 – in just his 68th appearance in the league after his arrival from Dynamo Kyiv.
The legendary Rossoneri striker set a record for the fastest player to reach 50 goals, back when Serie A was true to its reputation as the natural home of great defenders and not the free-scoring league it is today.
=8. Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
Shearer and Andy Cole reached 50 Premier League goals in fewer games than Van Nistelrooy, but no player in the English top-flight has reached that milestone quicker in the past 25 years.
Few players in Premier League history have a goal-to-game ratio as good as the Dutch penalty-box specialist, who scored 95 goals in 150 Premier League appearances for Manchester United. Van Nistelrooy needed just 68 games to notch his first 50 goals.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Ronaldo was already established as one of the greatest goalscorers in history when he arrived at Juventus in 2018 – top of the charts for Real Madrid, Portugal and in the Champions League.
So it was no great surprise that he continued to bang in the goals in Italy, becoming the fastest player to reach 50 goals in Serie A history, breaking the record set by Shevchenko. It took him just 61 games.
=5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG)
Ibrahimovic was among the first marquee signings of the Qatar Sports Investments era at PSG, and he certainly lived up to his billing.
The Swede scored 113 goals in 122 Ligue 1 appearances across his four title-winning years in the French capital, becoming the club’s top scorer before getting overtaken by Edinson Cavani. He needed just 59 games to notch his 50th.
=5. Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Few players in Premier League history have been quite as good as Suarez was during Liverpool’s near-miss with the title in 2013-14, so it was no surprise to see Barcelona sanction a club-record fee to sign him that summer.
They had to be patient – he was banned from all “football-related activities” for four months by FIFA after biting Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, but he was worth the wait.
Luis Enrique’s Barcelona were struggling midway through the 2014-15 campaign, but the Uruguayan instantly formed a brilliant understanding with Lionel Messi and Neymar, and the front three went on to fire Barcelona to the treble that year.
Suarez scored 16 goals in his debut La Liga season before a career-best 40 league goals the following year. His 50th goal in the Spanish top-flight arrived in just his 59th appearance.
3. Neymar (PSG)
Despite featuring so high in this list, Neymar didn’t actually score his 50th Ligue 1 goal until his fourth season at PSG.
The Brazilian superstar is yet to make more than 20 league appearances in any season for the Parisiens, but when he’s fit, he’s invariably spectacular – 50 goals in 58 Ligue 1 appearances is a testament to that.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Few signings in the history of football have had as much fanfare as Ronaldo when he arrived at Real Madrid for a world-record fee in 2009. But he actually lived up to the hype by hitting the ground running.
The Portuguese icon played a decisive role in three successive Premier League titles and the Champions League at Manchester United, where he lifted his first Ballon d’Or, only to take his goalscoring to new heights at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo’s first season in the Spanish capital was hit by injury, but he still scored 26 goals in 29 La Liga appearances in his debut campaign, only to better that tally in each of the following six seasons, scoring his 50th goal in the Spanish top flight in his 51st appearance.
The fastest player to reach 50 goals in two of Europe’s most historic leagues. You can’t argue with that.
#OnThisDay in 2010, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid in a 5-1 win against Athletic Bilbao ⚽
That free-kick 🔥 pic.twitter.com/AORUOZCga5
— Lovefootball.ng (@lovefootballng) November 20, 2021
1. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Haaland arrived at Borussia Dortmund age 19, but even as a teenager he was already the complete striker. The Norwegian scored an iconic hat-trick in just 23 minutes on his debut and hasn’t looked back since, averaging a goal a game in Germany.
Having been sidelined for five weeks, the striker needed just seven minutes to score his 50th Bundesliga goal – in his 50th appearance – off the bench in a 3-1 victory at Wolfsburg.
Not only is he the fastest to reach that milestone in the Bundesliga, but he’s also the youngest at 21 years and 129 days. For reference, Kylian Mbappe was younger when he scored his 50th Ligue 1 goal aged 20 (and 65 days), but he needed 88 appearances.