The top 10 goalscorers in Europe since Erling Haaland’s arrival in 2020
Erling Haaland had already established himself as something of a budding superstar by the time he signed for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020.
The Norwegian was only a teenager but was already being talked up as one of the finest strikers of his generation, having averaged over a goal a game at Red Bull Salzburg – including eight goals in his first six appearances in the Champions League.
He immediately lived up to the hype with a 20-minute hat-trick on his Dortmund debut, his first appearance in Europe’s five major leagues. But how does he stack up against the European elite since then? We’ve taken a closer look at the 10 players with the most goals in Europe’s big leagues – Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A – since Haaland arrived on the scene.
10. Lionel Messi – 64
The Argentinian icon has slowed down somewhat in recent years, with an underwhelming tally of just six league goals in his debut season with PSG, but he’s still been among Europe’s most deadly goalscorers in the 2020s.
Messi was prolific as ever in his last couple of years with Barcelona and soon acclimatised to Ligue 1 – 16 goals and 16 assists in 32 appearances in 2022-23 is a testament to that – but it looks as though he might’ve scored his last goal in Europe, having recently overtaken old rival Cristiano Ronaldo to become the all-time top goalscorer in Europe’s five major leagues.
He turns 36 this summer, but we reckon he’d have plenty to give at the very top level. Still, he recently told beIN SPORTS that he’s “achieved everything in football. There’s nothing left.” and it’s hard to argue with that.
READ: 11 incredible Lionel Messi stats after recording his 300th club assist
9. Lautaro Martinez – 65
The Argentinian striker has scored 21 Serie A goals in back-to-back seasons for Inter. He just about edges out strike partner Romelu Lukaku – 63 goals over the same period – to make it into the top 10 here.
The 25-year-old has won Serie A and the World Cup in recent times and his numbers speak for themself – Martinez is undoubtedly one of the best forwards in Europe.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo – 69
Ronaldo left European football after almost two decades of turning out in the big five leagues, getting one last bumper paycheque and becoming the poster boy for Saudi Arabia stretching their muscles.
Even without any goals in 2023, and some pretty disappointing seasons at Juventus and Manchester United, the Portuguese still regularly found the back of the net right until the end with 69 league goals across his final three years at the top level.
7. Mohamed Salah – 74
Liverpool’s Egyptian King has won the Premier League Golden Boot in three of his six years at Anfield, so it’s no surprise to see him feature in Europe’s most prolific goalscorers of the 2020s.
Salah has lifted every trophy going while representing Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and his consistency in the final third is one of the major reasons why. Even as Liverpool suffered a dramatic dip as they succumbed to a fifth-place finish in 2022-23, he still enjoyed a more than respectable individual campaign with 19 league goals.
Mo Salah magic against Man City 🪄 pic.twitter.com/EO7zvAl0L4
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 26, 2022
6. Harry Kane – 77
Thirty of Kane’s 77 goals since the turn of the decade came during the 2022-23 campaign.
The England captain is just 47 goals off breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League record and you imagine – as long as he sticks around – it’s now a matter of when, not if, he becomes the competition’s all-time top scorer.
5. Karim Benzema – 78
Only Ronaldo has scored more goals for Real Madrid than Benzema, who arguably peaked in his thirties after years of selflessly serving Los Blancos’ famous No.7.
The Frenchman has finally departed the Bernabeu after 14 years. He arrives in Saudi Arabia as the current Ballon d’Or holder, having notched a career-best 44 goals (27 in the league) in 2021-22 as Madrid claimed a famous La Liga and Champions League double.
READ: 14 crazy stats that show why Karim Benzema deserved his Ballon d’Or
4. Ciro Immobile – 78
Immobile somehow goes under the radar somewhat, despite consistently featuring near the top end of such lists. The 33-year-old has won the Capocannoniere award for Serie A’s top goalscorer four times, including with 36 goals in 2019-20 and 27 goals in 2021-22.
There are questions marks over his effectiveness for the Azzurri, and whether his particular style is suited to elite teams, but there’s no arguing with his record in front of goal.
3. Kylian Mbappe – 91
Watching Mbappe and Haaland slug it out in the years to come will be appointment viewing, or deeply dull if you’re scarred by years of online fanboys arguing over Messi and Ronaldo.
Whether or not you have a preference, there’s no denying Mbappe’s place among Europe’s elite. He’s only 24 and is already PSG’s all-time top scorer – 91 of his total 164 Ligue 1 goals have come in the past three and a half seasons.
2. Erling Haaland – 98
The Norwegian didn’t need any time to adapt to top-level football. He scored 62 goals in 67 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund and broke the Premier League record for most goals in a 38-game season in his debut season with Manchester City.
Haaland is well on track to beat his own record of the fastest player to notch 50 goals in a major European league. And he’s still just 22 years old.
The debut of dreams 🇳🇴🔥 pic.twitter.com/bSXhfy4WsZ
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) January 21, 2020
1. Robert Lewandowski – 114
Haaland never actually won the Golden Boot whilst in Germany. It seemed his arrival spurred Lewandowski on to absolutely obscene new heights.
The Poland international claimed the European Golden Shoe in 2020-21 and 2021-22 with 41 and 35 Bundesliga goals respectively. Haaland has beaten him to that accolade in 2022-23, but Lewandowski still ended up La Liga’s top scorer with 23 league goals in his debut season with Barcelona.
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