According to a poll run by Marca.com of circa 14,000 supporters 46% of voters has chosen Messi to win the coveted Pichichi, while 39% felt Ronaldo will have the edge in the goalscoring stakes.
Per ESPN FC: The top scorer standings finished up in 2014-15
In the era of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo the race for the top scorer gong in La Liga has taken on increased significance. This season, fans of Spanish football’s top flight think the former will have the edge over his great rival.
It’s an award that has been handed out to one of the pair in each of the last six seasons. Ronaldo has won it at the end of the two previous campaigns, as well as the 2010-11 season. Messi first won the gong after the 2009-10 term before two consecutive years sandwiched by the Real Madrid man’s first victory, per ESPN FC.
As we can see here courtesy of WhoScored.com, in terms of goals and assists, the two icons are well out ahead of the rest:
Karim Benzema: Only Messi (273) & Ronaldo (257) have scored or assisted more La Liga goals in the last 5 seasons than @Benzema (121)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 27, 2015
In the same aforementioned poll the Barcelona man also came out on top when supporters were asked to predict the 2015-16 Player of the Year. Ronaldo trailed by an even bigger margin this time, with his 23 per cent of the vote a long way back from Messi’s 61 per cent.
It’s almost taken as a given that these two will win the individual awards, but they’ll each have to up their game from Week 1 to stave off competition.
Messi missed a penalty for the Blaugrana against Athletic Club, but his blushes were spared thanks to a Luis Suarez winner. Meanwhile, Ronaldo was ineffective in Los Blancos’ disappointing 0-0 draw against newly-promoted Sporting Gijon.
However, as we can see here courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info, it was a rare phenomenon to see both men share equally disappointing weekends:
Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score today, the 1st time the 2 have failed to score when playing on the same day since 10/26/13
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2015
The Pichichi award has commanded a special gravitas in the modern game, especially among supporters of these two great clubs and lovers of these iconic players. But while it will be a source of pride for both Messi and Ronaldo to win this award come the end of the campaign, team honours should be the main focus for the pair.
At this juncture, it’s a flip of a coin to say who will come out on top in the individual stakes. Ronaldo looks as though he may be used as an orthodox centre-forward by new manager Rafa Benitez and that should allow him to facilitate more goalscoring opportunities. But writing off the magisterial Messi would be a little naive given the impeccable standards he’s set in 2015.
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Kofi Nyarko Benjamin
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