La Liga Golden Boot race 2022/23 – Benzema vs Lewandowski
With the blockbuster arrival of Robert Lewandowski in La Liga, the Spanish top tier will be home to two of the most prolific strikers in the world. We’ve looked at which of the two could come out on top in the race for Spain’s prestigious Pichichi Trophy.
Back-to-back for Benzema?
Karim Benzema will be looking to continue his incredible form, after a season that has put him in the driving seat to land his first Ballon d’Or.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from the Santiago Bernabeu, many questioned if Benzema could step up and lead the line effectively and be the main focal point for Madrid, but he has certainly managed that and then some.
Until Ronaldo left in 2018, Benzema had only reached the 20+ goal mark in La Liga twice, doing so in 2011/12 and 2015/16 – a feat that he has managed in all four of the La Liga seasons since. In those past four years, his numbers have continued to grow, seeing the former Lyon striker score 21 times in 2018/18 and in 2019/20, before hitting 23 goals in 2020/21.
Last season, Benzema was on another level. He grabbed his first Pichichi Trophy of his career after firing in 27 goals in 32 La Liga appearances. With his goal tally improving each year, it’ll be interesting to see if he can go even further next year. He was also crowned Golden Boot winner of the Champions League, after 15 goals in 12 UCL games, including some memorable performances – such as the incredible hattrick against PSG to turn the Round of 16 tie around.
Another important factor that could impact the race for the Golden Boot is the form of Vinicius Junior. The Brazilian winger had a slow start to life in Spain, with just seven goals and nine assists in his first three years in La Liga.
The 22-year-old had a breakthrough campaign last season though and played a huge part in Madrid’s success. He fired in 17 goals and managed 13 assists in Spain’s top tier last season. With Vinicius on form and creating chances down the flank for Los Blancos, it could see Benzema hit even more goals in the race for the Golden Boot.
After his sensational move to Barcelona, Robert Lewandowski will be wanting to win the coveted Pichichi Trophy in his first season in Spain, after dominating the goalscoring charts in Germany over the past decade.
In his eight years at Bayern Munich, Lewandowski scored 20 or more goals in every season, bar his debut campaign, hitting over 30 goals in five of those eight seasons. The Polish marksman even broke Gerd Muller’s 49-year-old Bundesliga goalscoring record for goals in a single season in the 2020/21 campaign, with his 41 league goals in just 29 league games.
Last season saw Lewandowski crowned Bundesliga top scorer yet again, his seventh award, after 35 goals in 34 appearances. It also saw him named as the European Golden Boot winner, scoring more league goals than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues.
Whilst there is no denying that Lewandowski is one of the most prolific strikers in the world, he still has to adapt to his new team and a new league. After eight years in Bavaria, there is a chance that it could take time for the former Borussia Dortmund attacker to adjust, much like in his first season when he only managed 17 league goals – which is way below the standard he has set in recent years! There is also plenty of new faces at the Nou Camp, which may need time to gel as Xavi builds his new era at Barcelona.
Nevertheless, Lewandowski has proved over the years that he is one of the best and will go down in history for his goalscoring record. It’s likely that he and Benzema will go head-to-head at the top of La Liga in the race for the 2022/23 Golden Boot.