The Race for the Pichichi
Maybe this article should actually be called the race for the Golden Shoe because let's face it Barça's Lionel Messi and Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo are contesting only each other for this year's accolade.
For the Golden Boot you are marked by your goal tally times the difficulty of your league which equals your points and the player with the most points wins the trophy.
As it stands the players are level, both tied on 35 goals with 70 points and both looking likely to break the current record for goals in a season. Ronaldo holds the record after hitting 40 goals in 34 games last season, maybe the only thing the Portuguese player has over the Argentine.
Barcelona won the title after a 1-1 draw with Levante on May 11th, sending Ronaldo into a goal scoring frenzy with his Madrid teammates all too happy to help. Scoring seven goals in just four games, Ronaldo finally had something to boast about.
But this season is different. Madrid are the leaders with a six point advantage and both players are breaking records respectively. Messi became Barcelona's top scorer ever while Ronaldo became the quickest player to reach 100 goals in La Liga. Astonishing facts as neither player is over the age of 28.
The rest of Europe is struggling to keep up. Third in the race is Arsenal's Robin Van Persie with 26 goals and 52 points, nine goals behind the top two but more importantly 18 points behind. The Gunner's hit-man has been in blistering form this season but still struggling to reach the class of Messi and Ronaldo. Whereas a hat-trick would be a highlight for the Dutchman, a trio of goals would appear nothing more then routine for the La Liga stars.
Of course there are the cynics, "their league is easier then the Premier League" is often claimed but rarely backed up with statistics. Take the Champions League three out of the four English teams are out and no Premier League player occupies the top ten goal scorers of that competition. Meanwhile Ronaldo is third and Messi tops the table after his record breaking five goals against Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez separates the La Liga pair.
Another argument is when any player scores a particularly special goal you often hear "if it was Messi or Ronaldo we'd be talking about it for weeks." but that again is completely inaccurate. Messi and Ronaldo score spectacular goals so often it is now considered routine for the players. Take the three goals I have posted below, which do you think requires the most skill and would beat near enough any keeper on the planet? My bet's that you haven't said the man from Stoke.
As Messi and Ronaldo both continue to play football more and more spectacular goals will be scored, both spurred by the competition only between them and football's previous greats. That's why we will continue to love Spanish football.
As for this season it remains too close to call for the Pichichi title. So while you continue to hope that Madrid slip up more points look for Messi's race to the Pichichi as a bitter-sweet consolation if worse comes to worse and Madrid win the title.