2021 is rapidly drawing to a close and we can finally reveal who has scored the most goals across the calendar year.
The last 12 months have kept us all entertained, with big names demonstrating their permanent class and some new faces have enjoyed breakout years across the Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and La Liga.
Not only that, but the two biggest players of their generation made earth-shattering transfers across leagues over the summer.
Note: we’ve ordered this list in terms of goals-per-minute in instances where two players are tied on the same number of goals.
5= Mohamed Salah
The Premier League’s best player this season by some distance, Salah’s form since August has seen him rise up this table and end the year in the top 10.
While the Liverpool forward has always been his side’s prime goalscorer, we’ve seen a return to 2017-18 Salah this term.
Outrageous dribbling, poacher’s finishes and a memorable hat-trick during the 5-0 win at Old Trafford have seen the Egypt international register 15 league goals before Christmas – five more than anyone else in the league.
We have no doubt that Salah will appear on our 2022 list if he can maintain this Balon d’Or-esque form.
👀 FROM ALL ANGLES 👀
Take a look at Mo Salah's incredible goal for Liverpool 🇪🇬🔥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 3, 2021
5= Ciro Immobile
Italy international has been one of European football’s most reliable goalscorers since he returned to Lazio in 2016, averaging well over 20 goals a season in Serie A for five seasons running.
Working under Maurizio Sarri doesn’t appear to be doing him any harm, either, with 13 goals in 15 Serie A appearances in 2021-22, taking him to 24 league goals for the calendar year.
5= Cristiano Ronaldo
The top scorer of 2020 always looked unlikely to top the charts for a second year running, but he continued to bang them in.
Juventus only just about managed to sneak into the top four last season, but even in an underperforming side, Ronaldo won the Capocapponiere award for Serie A’s top scorer for the first time – he scored 29 goals, five more than Scudetto winner Romelu Lukaku, 17 of which came in 2021.
Since his return to Manchester United, he’s scored six in five Champions League matches – including two dramatic late winners to save United’s skin – with another seven goals in 14 Premier League appearances to take his tally to 24 league goals for the calendar year.
Scoring every 130 minutes is a sign of the 36-year-old’s enduring class.
Morning, Reds 👋
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 12, 2021
5= Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe has carried on this year where he left off, notching nine goals in 17 Ligue 1 appearances which takes his tally to 24 league goals for the calendar year.
This may end up being the World Cup winner’s final season at PSG but, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side well clear at the top of the league, Mbappe will almost certainly lift some silverware before departing the club.
5= Andre Silva
It was no surprise that one of the Bundesliga’s big guns moved for Andre Silva’s signature, given how on fire he was during his time at Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Portuguese striker scored 28 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht last term, 19 of which came after the winter break. He’s scored five since his summer move to RB Leipzig.
While Silva has not yet caught fire for struggling Leipzig, his record of a goal every 118 minutes in 2021 sees him placed above some illustrious names.
5= Lionel Messi
With one goal in 11 Ligue 1 appearances, it’s safe to say Messi hasn’t reached his brilliant best since his move to PSG in the summer – despite scoring five in the Champions League.
Even with his distinctly average record in 2021-22, Messi remains highly placed on this list. The Argentinian scored 23 La Liga goals for that severely dysfunctional Barcelona in the latter half of last season, giving him a record of scoring every 111 minutes in 2021. Fair play.
3= Karim Benzema
Benzema’s grand return to Les Bleus didn’t quite go as planned in the summer, with a shock round of 16 elimination to Switzerland at Euro 2020. That came off the back of a disappointingly trophyless campaign for Real Madrid.
Things have improved significantly since.
He’s been the form of his career with 15 goals and seven assists in La Liga in 2021-22 so far, taking his total league goals tally to 30 goals in 2021, while lifting the Nations League trophy with France.
Real Madrid have turned it around against Valencia! 😱😱
Vini Jr. follows up his goal with a great assist as Karim Benzema heads in the all important goal 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Kz7a1rByT6
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) September 19, 2021
3= Erling Haaland
Just the 30 goals for robot boy. Terrifying.
2. Dusan Vlahovic
The giant 21-year-old Serbian has been linked to some of Europe’s biggest clubs since he’s turned into one of the most prolific centre-forwards around.
There’s little sign of Vlahovic slowing down either, with 16 goals in 20 Serie A appearances for Fiorentina this season, taking his tally this year to 33.
1. Robert Lewandowski
Having netted 31 Bundesliga goals in Bayern’s treble-winning 2019-20 campaign, Lewandowski scaled new heights last term to hit 41 goals – breaking Gerd Muller’s legendary record in the process.
He’s started off the 2021-22 season by scoring 19 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances – and went on to score in 19 consecutive matches in all competitions for Bayern between February and September, taking him up to 43 league goals in 2021.
The bloke’s a machine.