Jovan St. G. Legister, Youthlink Writer
With most of the leagues in Europe officially over, we saw it fitting to name the most prolific of strikers for this season. Note, the ranks of these players are not merely based on the number of goals they have scored this season, but also on the impact of these goals that they have scored. Let's get down to business.
#5 Mario Gomez
The 26-year-old German striker came to Bayern Munich in 2009 and has since been a force to be reckoned with. With a network of world-class players supporting him, including Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos and Arjen Robben, Gomez has managed to net 41 times in all leagues for his club this season. Twenty-six of these came in the German Bundesliga, though the favourites were eventually outdone by Borrussia Dortmund for the title. Dortmund went on to dish Gomez's team a 5-2 whipping in the finals of the German DFB Pokal, a week before Bayern were scheduled to meet English underdogs Chelsea FC in the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Gomez's 13 goals in the Champions League were also not enough to fend off the tenacious, heart-driven 'Blues' in the finals. He was not his usual self when he missed three early chances for his club, as Chelsea eventually beat the Germans on home soil after a 1-1 draw and extra time play. The match was decided on penalties and Bayern were left 'trophyless' at the end of the season. Gomez's performance all season has, nevertheless, earned him a spot in the top five.
#4 Dirk Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Nicknamed 'The Hunter' for a reason, this 28- year-old Dutch striker is the top goalscorer in the German Bundesliga this season with 29 goals, three more than second-place Mario Gomez. A brilliant 48 goals across the board in all competitions for his club was proof that Huntelaar's supremacy had not been limited to the domestic league of his club, Schalke.
The season's match highs for the 6-foot-1predator came with four of 11 goals against FC Teningen in the DFB- Pokal. His hat-trick against FC Ksln in a 5-1 crushing gave Schalke a stellar opening to their Bundesliga campaign. Schalke could only manage a third-place finish in the league behind champions Borrussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, but 'The Hunter' must definitely get well-deserved praises for a job well done!
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo
Many Real Madrid fans will question the rank of their heralded hero in this article; nevertheless, the show must go on. 'Cristi' has found the back of the net a stunning 59 times in all competitions for his club this season. Not to be outdone, 46 of these came in the La Liga where Madrid finished six points clear of last year's champions, FC Barcelona.
Hailed as one of the greatest contemporary players, Ronaldo made his move from English kingpins Manchester United to one of Spain's finest, Real Madrid in 2009, on an £80-million bid. After already making his intentions to United's management quite ostensible, CR7 strolled out of Old Trafford after doing his time. Despite surely being missed by the fans at United, he is creating waves at Madrid as he did at his former club.
#2 Robin Van Persie
Despite not scoring as many goals as Cristiano Ronaldo, this Dutch international has managed to gain our number-two spot due to the value of the goals scored. Almost single-handedly bringing Arsenal to a third-place finish in the Barclay's Premier League, with 30 goals in the competition, Van Persie has outdone himself to become the top goalscorer in the league this season. By virtue of their third-place finish, Arsenal have qualified for next year's Champion's League, giving long-standing manager and coach Arsene Wenger something to smile about.
Van Persie's effectiveness as a striker was even more emphatic due to the fact that he had lost the support of two of the world's most creative attacking midfielders. This was due to Wenger selling Samir Nasri to Manchester City (who are now Premier League champions) and Cesc Fabregas to Spanish giants Barcelona. Van Persie's 37 goals in all competitions for Arsenal included a hat-trick in Arsenal's 5-2 hammering of 2012 FA Cup and World Champions Chelsea, as well as in a 7-1 trampling of Blackburn earlier in the premier league season. As captain of the team, the 28-year-old Van Persie has also encouraged the other players through his own determination and accuracy. At the end of his contract this summer, Arsenal fans and administration will be praying that the talented captain will be seeking to renew ties with the club in light of his significant contribution.
#1 Lionel Messi
Without factoring in the finals of the Copa Del Rey, Messi has scored 72 times in all competitions for his club, Barcelona FC, 50 of which came in the La Liga (four more than club rival Cristiano Ronaldo) to take the top spot for goals scored in the league this season. It doesn't take a football fan to realise the vast difference in goals between 'King Leo' and his European counterparts as his prowess is undeniable and his talent, unique! With the help of two of the world's best players in the form of Xavier Hernandez and Andres Iniesta to feed Messi the ball, his prolific status is unquestionable at the age of 24. Messi has been hailed as the world's best in recent times, winning the annual World Player of the Year award three consecutive times since 2009.
Messi has, however, struggled to find the same form for his country as he has for his club in recent years. He continues, though, to perform at the highest level for his club despite Barcelona not regaining their La Liga title and failing to make the finals of the UEFA Champions League.
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