Salah, Zlatan, Lewandowski: Europe's top 30 most lethal scorers by goals per 90 minutes

  • Kobe Tong

Mohamed Salah is arguably the world’s best male player right now.

Football fans have become used to the Liverpool star producing incredible numbers season in, season out, but there’s good reason to think that the 2021/22 campaign is on course to be his greatest of all.

With an outrageous record of 23 goals and nine assists for the Reds already this season, Salah is currently the red-hot favourite to claim his maiden Ballon d’Or trophy come the end of the year.

Salah’s astonishing 2021/22 season

However, even in a world where that loftiest of titles slips from his grasp, the Egyptian star seems nailed on to win a third Premier League Golden Boot in just five seasons at Anfield. Madness.

So, the moral of the story here is that Salah is an astonishingly good football player and don’t think for one second that what we’re about to get into is trying to refute that fact one iota.

Nevertheless, having gone down something of a statistical rabbit hole on FBref recently, we discovered that Salah doesn’t place as highly amongst Europe’s most lethal goalscorers as you might expect.

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Let’s start easy: who’s this iconic character?

Europe’s most lethal scorers by goals per 90 minutes

In fact, when you rank every player in the continent’s top five leagues this season by goals scored per 90 minutes, you might be surprised to learn that Salah ‘only’ actually finishes in 12th place.

Again, that’s hardly a criticism when you consider that Salah is first and foremost a winger, but the data was nevertheless fascinating in establishing who has been churning out goals at the greatest rate of knots.

And we wouldn’t dream of keeping the final rankings to ourselves, so be sure to check out the 30 most lethal scorers in Europe’s top five leagues this season by goals per 90 minutes down below:

Note: A minimum of 30 minutes played per squad is required to qualify as a leader.

30. Jonathan David (Lille) – 0.63

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group G – Lille v FC Salzburg – Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France – November 23, 2021 Lille’s Jonathan David celebrates scoring their first goal with Burak Yılmaz REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

29. Martin Terrier (Rennes) – 0.64

28. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) – 0.64

27. Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin) – 0.64

26. Alberth Elis (Bordeaux) – 0.65

25. Duvan Zapata (Atalanta) – 0.67

Soccer Football – Champions League – Group F – Atalanta v Villarreal – Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy – December 9, 2021 Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

24. Gianluca Scamacca (Sassuolo) – 0.67

23. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – 0.69

22. Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich) – 0.69

21. Maxwel Cornet (Burnley) – 0.71

20. Giovanni Simeone (Hellas Verona) – 0.72

Soccer Football – Serie A – Napoli v Hellas Verona – Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples, Italy – November 7, 2021 Hellas Verona’s Giovanni Simeone celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

19. Olivier Giroud (AC Milan) – 0.72

18. Habib Diallo (Strasbourg) – 0.72

17. Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) – 0.73

16. Anthony Modeste (FC Koln) – 0.75

15. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan) – 0.77

Soccer Football – Serie A – Salernitana v Inter Milan – Stadio Arechi, Salerno, Italy – December 17, 2021 Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring their fourth goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

14. Hugo Ekitike (Reims) – 0.78

13. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) – 0.79

12. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 0.81

11. Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus) – 0.82

10. Dries Mertens (Napoli) – 0.82

Soccer Football – Serie A – Napoli v Atalanta – Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples, Italy – December 4, 2021 Napoli’s Dries Mertens celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

9. Pere Milla (Elche) – 0.83

8. Juanmi (Real Betis) – 0.84

7. Borja Iglesias (Real Betis) – 0.85

6. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – 0.90

5. Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco) – 0.92

Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – AS Monaco v Saint-Etienne – Stade Louis II, Monaco – September 22, 2021 AS Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

4. Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – 0.94

3. Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen) – 1.15

2. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 1.19

  1. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) – 1.26
Soccer Football – Champions League – Group C – Ajax Amsterdam v Borussia Dortmund – Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands – October 19, 2021 Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland looks dejected after the match REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Haaland leads the way

Clearly the place to be is the Bundesliga if you want to churn out goals for fun.

Schick, Lewandowski and Haaland stand head and shoulders above the rest by averaging more than one goal per 90 minutes, which is staggering when you see the caliber of players queued up behind them.

Haaland seems nailed on to become a future Ballon d’Or winner with more goals than games across his entire Dortmund spell and Lewandowski’s insane scoring form has bagged him back-to-back FIFA The Best prizes.

Soccer Football – Bundesliga – Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany – March 6, 2021 Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland Pool via REUTERS/Andreas Gebert DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video.

And with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo nowhere to be seen, there is instead time in the sun for the underrated goalscoring exploits of Giroud, Mahrez, Ben Yedder and even Burnley’s Cornet.

However, with the three most important months of the season still to come, rest assured that a flurry of goals and form could be all it takes to change up the order before the 2021/22 season call it a day.

Pochettino to Man United CLOSE” (Football Terrace)

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