Lionel Messi has practically owned the Pichichi award for much of his career at Barcelona, but his departure opens up competition for the coveted prize. The Pichichi race could be red-hot this season, with many valid contenders in the absence of Messi. In this article, we will look at five players likely to win the Pichichi award this season.
#5 Gerard Moreno
Moreno enjoyed a lot of success in the 20/21 season, which culminated with him lifting the Europa League trophy. Moreno scored 23 goals in the La Liga last season despite Villarreal playing a defensive brand of football under Unai Emery. Moreno has many similarities to Alvaro Morata, including a solid work rate.
Moreno started his club career at Villarreal before moving on to Espanyol in 2015. After consistent performances for Espanyol, Villarreal bought him back and since then he has been a consistent performer for them. Moreno is yet to open his account in the 21/22 season, but his track record makes him likely to win the Pichichi this season.
#4 Antoine Griezmann
After a tumultuous two-year spell at Barcelona, Griezmann has moved back to Atletico Madrid. Griezmann made his name as a player at the Wanda Metropolitano and his move has tilted the balance in favor of Atletico in the La Liga race. He has 94 La Liga goals in 180 appearances for Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann scored 13 goals in the league last season, a decrease from the numbers he posted during his Atletico Madrid days. Griezmann scored a career high 22 league goals in both the 14/15 and 15/16 seasons for Atletico. If he is able to regain his old form, Griezmann has a good chance of winning the Pichichi award.
#3 Memphis Depay
Depay has exceeded expectations in the three games in which he has featured for Barcelona so far this season. Depay has made everyone forget his time with Manchester United through his consistent performances for Lyon. He scored 20 goals in the league for Lyon last season, the second-highest tally behind Kylian Mbappé.
Depay has scored two wonderful goals so far in La Liga and has been in fine form with the Netherlands. As a left-winger, Depay is also capable of creating efficiently for his teammates, as evidenced by his 12 assists in Ligue 1 last season.
#2 Luis Suarez
Everybody thought Suarez was past his best when he moved to Atlético Madrid from Barcelona in 2020. However, he proved a lot of people wrong with his performances and scored 21 league goals. There will not be much goal scoring burden on him this season due to the arrival of Griezmann.
Suarez is also the only person in this list to have won the Pichichi award at least once. He did so in the 2015/16 campaign by scoring 40 goals. He also has the rare distinction of having won the European Golden Shoe while playing for two different clubs.
#1 Karim Benzema
Benzema is most likely to win the Pichichi award this season due to his terrific form in recent years. Since the departure of Ronaldo, Benzema has been Real Madrid’s most reliable goalscorer. He has scored more than 20 goals in each of the last three La Liga seasons, despite Real Madrid lacking a significant playmaker.
Benzema will also be Madrid’s first-choice penalty taker this season in the absence of Sergio Ramos. Benzema has already shown signs of sparkling chemistry with Eden Hazard, and this could give him an edge in the Pichichi race.