Lionel Messi set the record for most goals in a calendar year in 2012, hitting an astonishing 91. With three months remaining of 2023, could that record be under threat?
Well…no, probably not. But still, the last nine months have seen several of the world’s best forwards produce some incredible numbers – so we’ve decided to note them down.
For this list, we have counted any goals scored in Europe’s top five leagues (sorry Cristiano), their domestic competitions, European continental tournaments and all international fixtures.
Without any further ado, here are 2023’s top scorers.
10= Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon) – 22
Yes, the title may say “Top 10”, but this is actually a top 11, as two players are tied for tenth place.
Former Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette is perhaps a surprise inclusion in this list. He has notched 22 goals for Lyon in the past nine months, including a four-goal haul in a thrilling 5-4 win over Montpellier back in May.
10= Serhou Guirassy (Stuttgart, Guinea) – 22
By far the least famous name on this list, Serhou Guirassy is enjoying something of a breakthrough year. In 2023, he has hit an impressive 22 goals, surpassing the likes of Messi and Mohamed Salah.
As it stands, the 27-year-old is Europe’s top scorer of the new season. He has raced into the lead for the European Golden Shoe, notching ten goals in his opening five league outings, as well as one more in the DFB Pokal.
9 – Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, Al-Ittihad) – 23
Rather astonishingly, veteran striker Karim Benzema has managed to make his way into the top ten, despite leaving Europe for Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Ittihad back in June and not playing a single minute of international football. Had we added his six for his current club, he would have landed himself in joint fourth place.
Benzema’s 23 finishes include three hat-tricks in April, a treble in El Clasico, and three across two legs against Liverpool in the Champions League. Despite his age, he is still one of the world’s very best in his position, and it’s a bit of a shame that he’s no longer plying his trade at the top level.
8 – Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan, Roma, Belgium) – 24
Not long ago, Romelu Lukaku was a nine-figure player. It may seem like those days are long gone, but the striker is still capable of producing the goods.
The former Manchester United man struck 12 in the second half of last season for Inter Milan. He has continued his impressive form after reuniting with manager Jose Mourinho at Roma, bagging three in his first four appearances.
But where he has really shone is on the international stage, scoring nine goals in six games. This has taken him up to 77 international goals in total, level with the great Pele.
7 – Jonathan David (Lille, Canada) – 24
Since his transfer from Gent in 2020, Lille attacker Jonathan David has gone from strength to strength, establishing himself as one of Ligue 1’s finest players. If he can maintain his output over the course of the season, he could earn himself a big-money move next summer.
The Canadian has netted 21 goals for Lille since the turn of the year, including one vital strike in qualifying for the Europa Conference League. On top of this, he has bagged three on the international stage.
6 – Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona, Poland) – 24
Once again, Robert Lewandowski is way up there as one of the world’s best goalscorers. Perhaps the only surprise is that he isn’t higher up the list.
The 35-year-old was the man to fire Barcelona to their first La Liga title in four seasons, winning the Pichichi in his debut year in Catalonia. Poland will be hoping he can reproduce similar heroics in the closing stages of 2024 European Championship qualifying, as their chances hang in the balance.
5 – Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan, Argentina) – 25
Is it more or less impressive that Lautaro Martinez has earned a top-five place without scoring an international goal? That’s up for debate, but he’s had a top year nonetheless.
His personal highlights of the year include a brace in the Coppa Italia final triumph over Fiorentina, as well as the goal against AC Milan that sent the Nerazzurri on their way to the Champions League final. He currently leads the race for the Capocannoniere with five in as many games.
4 – Victor Osimhen (Napoli, Nigeria) – 29
Speaking of the Capocannoniere award – here’s the current holder. Victor Osimhen became the first-ever African player to scoop the prize last season while firing Napoli to the title.
The Nigerian has picked up where he left off this term, hitting the net on three occasions. Additionally, his five goals in four international appearances secured the Super Eagles’ qualification for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
3 – Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, France) – 32
As exhausting as his love-hate relationship with his club may be, there is little denying that Kylian Mbappe is one of the world’s finest footballers. The top goalscorer in 2022, he has continued his top-tier performances in 2023 as he competes to be the year’s top marksman.
The Paris Saint-Germain ultras may not approve of his apparent attempts to depart for Real Madrid, but his 28 goals for the club ought to somewhat soften the blow. Although, this tally is generously helped by a five-goal haul in the Coupe de France against sixth-tier side Pays de Cassel.
And for the national side, he has continued to be the main man, netting four in five games in Euro 2024 qualifying. It seems like only a matter of time before he overtakes teammate Olivier Giroud to become Les Bleus’ all-time top goalscorer.
2 – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich, England) – 32
It may be another year without silverware for Harry Kane, but the Englishman has still produced several memorable moments over the last nine months.
Back in February, he scored the only goal as Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City in north London. In the process, he became the Lilywhites’ record goalscorer, surpassing Jimmy Greaves.
Kane later left Spurs after 19 years at the club, signing for Bayern Munich in a deal worth close to £100 million. He has had no difficulty adjusting to the change of scenery, grabbing eight goals in his first seven outings.
1 – Erling Braut Haaland (Manchester City, Norway) – 37
It will come as a shock to absolutely nobody that Erling Braut Haaland is top of the list. The Norwegian takes the number one spot, sitting five goals clear of Kane and Mbappe.
His tally of 37 goals includes a five-goal haul in the Champions League against RB Leipzig, as well as hat-tricks against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Burnley and Fulham. He broke the record for most goals in a single Premier League season and secured himself the European Golden Shoe.
But he didn’t just add personal accolades to his CV. Haaland’s goals helped Manchester City win their first-ever European title and a historic treble.
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