The last 5 winners of the ‘Pichichi’ award who weren’t Messi or Ronaldo

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Diego Forlan celebrates his goal for Atletico Madrid in the 2010 Europa League final, Hamburg Arena, May 2010

No two players have ever dominated a league in the same way Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo slaughtered La Liga in their primes.

The pair have won 11 of the last 12 ‘Pichichi’ (top goalscorer) awards available, whilst Barcelona and Real Madrid have won all but two La Liga titles in this time.

Ronaldo left Madrid in 2018, and Messi finally left Barcelona in 2021, meaning that the award will have a new winner for the first time in over five years. Messi won eight and Ronaldo won three of the last 12, with Messi first picking it up in 2010.

Karim Benzema is the obvious favourite, with 17 goals to his name at the halfway point, whilst Vinicius Junior, Juanmi, Raul De Tomas and Iago Aspas make up the top five.

We’ve taken a look at the last five winners of the award who weren’t Messi or Ronaldo, and had to go back a fair few years…

Samuel Eto’o (2005-06)

Barcelona were imperious in the 2005-06 season, winning La Liga by 12 points and the Champions League with the likes of Ronaldinho, Henrik Larsson and Giovani van Bronckhorst in the team, and Eto’o was paramount to their success.

The Cameroonian striker scored 34 in all competitions, and 26 in the league. Eto’o won the Pichichi on the final day after scoring against Athletic Bilbao in a 3-1 loss, which meant he just eclipsed David Villa, who scored 25 for Valencia that season.

“It has been a team effort but only one person gets the award,” Eto’o stated after the game.

A worthy winner.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (2006-07)

The Dutchman signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2006 for around £14million, after requesting to leave Manchester United, and hit the ground running.

Scoring 25 times in the league and 33 overall as Madrid stole the title from Barcelona, van Nistelrooy continued his brilliance from the Premier League in some style, equalling Hugo Sanchez’s longest scoring streak in La Liga, of 7 games in a row.

Diego Milito came second with 23 goals for Real Zaragoza in a tightly fought race, but the 31-year-old was simply sublime in his spell at Real.

READ: A tribute to Ruud van Nistelrooy and the playground art of goalhanging

Dani Guiza (2007-08)

A nice break from Barcelona and Real Madrid players hogging the award, Dani Guiza was a six-foot Spanish striker who had a ridiculous season for Mallorca in 2007-08.

Guiza scored 27 in 37 matches, and remarkably did not score a single penalty in that time. Luis Fabiano and Sergio Aguero were behind with 24 and 19 goals respectively, whilst Guiza’s Mallorca side finished second.

Guiza had signed for the club for £5million from Getafe at the start of the season for his second spell, but after this remarkable campaign, which saw him make the Spain squad for Euro 2008, he moved to Fenerbache for £14million.

The streets will never forget.

Diego Forlan (2008-09)

The Uruguayan striker became a La Liga icon during his time at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, and it was in 2008-09 at Atletico where he won what was arguably the most impressive Pichichi here.

With a ridiculous 32 goals in 33 La Liga games as Atletico finished fourth, Forlan’s tendency to score in important games became a crucial asset to the team.

An absolute genius of a striker, Forlan scored in wins over the likes of Valencia, Villarreal and notably Barcelona, with a magical brace in a 4-3 win for Los Rojblancos.

Samuel Eto’o, David Villa and a certain Lionel Messi all finished behind him in the Pichichi award. World class company, and he outscored them all.

Luis Suarez (2015-16)

The Messi, Suarez and Neymar, MSN front three for Barcelona is up there with the very best of all time, and it was another Uruguayan who stole the Pichichi from Ronaldo in 2016.

Barcelona extraordinarily won the league by one point, and they had Suarez to thank. With a surreal 40 league goals in the league alone, and a total of 55 goals and 22 assists overall, this was one of the greatest individual campaigns of all time.

He helped Barcelona get over the line at the end of the season, with an outstanding 14 goals in the final five matches, securing the award and the title with a hattrick in a 3-0 win away at Granada on the final day.

Suarez scored five more than Ronaldo and 14 more than Messi, whilst also finishing top assisted alongside Messi with 16, becoming the first player in La liga history to top both.

He may be a complete nutter, but there is absolutely no doubt that Suarez is one of the greatest strikers of his generation.

The front three took the p*ss that season, and a joint penalty against Celta Vigo really summed up the gulf in class between them and anyone else in the world.

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