In the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo era, we’ve become accustomed to some far from ordinary scoring statistics.
Counting both club and national team games, you have to go back to 2009 to find a calendar year in which Messi and Ronaldo have scored less than 45 goals each – a level of astonishing consistency from two of the best players of all time.
Most amazingly, in 2012, Messi bagged a whopping 91 goals to break the world record for most goals in a calendar year, including a magnificent five in one match against Bayer Leverkusen.
Both men will have been disappointed last year as it was the first time in a decade that Messi or Ronaldo failed to score the most goals over the year – their metaphorical party being crashed by Englishman Harry Kane.
After Kane also bagged the World Cup golden boot by scoring more than Messi and Ronaldo combined, are we witnessing a figurative changing of the guard in terms of top-end goalscoring?
Below is a look at the current list of top scorers across club and country this calendar year (only counting players playing their club football in the five major European leagues):
Cristiano Ronaldo – 34 goals/ 29 games
Lionel Messi – 30 goals/ 34 games
Robert Lewandoski – 27 goals/ 30 games
Antoine Griezmann – 27 goals/ 42 games
Mo Salah – 25 goals/ 27 games
Luis Suarez – 25 goals/ 38 games
Harry Kane – 24 goals/ 32 games
Gareth Bale – 20 goals/ 28 games
Perhaps things haven’t changed so much after all then.
With only four goals between the two greats, there is still plenty of time for a change in the scoreboard.
We all know Messi and Ronaldo can’t defy age forever, but while they’re still at their best it is something for every football fan to enjoy.