All-time La Liga Top Scorers

Jordan Edmonds

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Lionel Messi

Probably the biggest and one of the best footballing rivalries of all time is the Messi vs Ronaldo era, but it’s the Barcelona icon that heads the list in the all-time La Liga top scorer charts.

It’s no surprise that the Argentine maestro tops the list, after 17 years that Messi spent terrorising defenders in Spain’s top tier. He notched up 474 goals for the Catalan giants in 520 games, with his first coming all the way back in May 2005. Ronaldinho provided the assist with a genius chip over the defence, before a young Messi, wearing the number 30, chipped it over a stranded Albacete goalkeeper – a carbon copy of one he scored moments earlier which was ruled out for offside. The rest is history.

Messi’s last La Liga goal came in his final appearance for Barca, scoring in a defeat away to Celta Vigo in May 2021. After spending the past year at Paris Saint-Germain, it looks unlikely that Messi will come back and get a chance to add to his La Liga tally, but never say never.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Whilst it’s his famous foe that holds the record for most goals, Ronaldo can boast the best goals-to-game ratio of the top 30 La Liga all-time top goalscorers, after his incredible 311 goals in 292 games for Real Madrid.

Following his remarkable first stint at Manchester United that saw him pick up the 2008 Ballon d’Or, the Portuguese legend made the move to Madrid in 2009 for a then-world record fee of £80m.

His first La Liga goal came in his first league game for Los Blancos, finding the net against Deportivo La Coruna. Ronaldo scored five goals in his first four games, scoring 26 goals in the 29 league games he played in his debut season.

After battling Messi at the top of the La Liga goalscoring charts for nine years, CR7 left for Juventus in 2018. His last goal in the Spanish top-flight came against Villareal in his last La Liga game. With recent talk about his future being in doubt at Man United, it’s not completely out the question that the 37-year-old could return to Spanish football and add more La Liga goals.

You certainly wouldn’t put it past Ronaldo to continue to show the world that his age is just a number.

Telmo Zarra

Third on the all-time La Liga top scorers list is Telmo Zarraonandía, who scored 251 times in 278 league appearances between 1940 and 1955.

Zarra began his career at his hometown side, Erandio, before joining Athletic Bilbao in 1940. He scored both goals in a 2-2 draw with Valencia on his league debut. The forward went on to become the top scorer and claim the Pichichi Trophy in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1951 and 1953.

Zarra retired in 1957 but remains Bilbao’s all-time top scorer, with 335 goals in 354 games for the Basque outfit.

Hugo Sanchez

Hugo Sanchez is fourth on the all-time La Liga goalscoring list, after scoring 234 goals in 347 appearances for three clubs between 1981 and 1994.

After impressing at UNAM in his native Mexico and firing in 104 in 200 appearances, Sanchez moved to Atletico Madrid in 1981. It took some time for him to settle in Spain, and his eight league goals in his debut campaign was just a slow start.

The striker scored 15 goals in his next season, followed by 12 the year after, then went on to find the net 19 times in his final season with Atletico. He joined their city rivals Real in 1985 and scored 22 times in his first season with Los Blancos. Sanchez’s goalscoring form accelerated from there, scoring at least 27 or more times in his next four campaigns with Real, including 38 goals in 35 La Liga games in the 1989/90 season.

Sanchez scored 12 in only 19 games in the 1990/91 campaign, before his last season with Real Madrid where he only managed two in eight appearances. He did manage to add some more to his tally though, with his 16 goals in his single La Liga season with Rayo Vallecano in 1993/94.

Raul

Real Madrid legend Raul is fifth on the all-time list, after 228 goals across his 16-year career in La Liga with Los Blancos.

Raul came through the youth ranks at Atletico before moving to Real Madrid and turning out for their youth teams and development sides. He became the youngest player to play for the senior team at the time of his debut, aged just 17 years and 124 days.

The former Atletico forward scored his first La Liga goal against his former side in what was just his second league game – a Madrid derby in November 1994 that Real won 4-2. He scored nine times in his debut campaign, before becoming a first-team regular the following season.

Raul reached double figures for goals in 11 of the 16 years he spent leading the line for Madrid, winning the Pichichi Trophy twice as helped his side to six La Liga titles before he left and joined Schalke in 2010.

Who could catch them?

Of the current active players in La Liga, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has the most goals in the competition with 219. Since Ronaldo’s departure from the Bernabeu, the French forward has stepped up to become the talisman that Los Blancos need.

Benzema has scored more than 20 league goals for the past four seasons in a row, including 27 goals last season. The 34-year-old has aged like a fine wine and looks better than ever, so is more than likely to score the nine goals that would put him level with Raul in the fifth spot.

Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann are 15th and 19th on the list respectfully, but with Suarez set to leave La Liga and Griezmann struggling to find the net – just three in 29 league apps last season – the Atletico pair don’t look like they’ll be troubling the top five.

It may be that one of the emerging young talents that are to make a dent on the top five list in the future. Vinicius Junior has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with Real Madrid, scoring 17 times in the league last season. The 21-year-old will be looking for more of the same in future.

There is also the likes of Joao Felix at Atletico and Rodrygo – another young Brazilian winger at Madrid – they both have plenty of time on their side to score a lot more goals.

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