Goals win games. But goals don’t necessarily win league titles, as these European Golden Boot winners prove.
None finished higher than 2nd, with one unfortunate soul finishing way down in ninth, despite his goalscoring heroics.
We’ve left Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo out of contention because they are aliens and not footballers, as their respective 50 and 48 league goals in non-title winning seasons highlight.
Ronaldo- Barcelona (1996/97)
This is where Ronaldo was at his freak of nature best.
His one and only season at Barcelona, under Bobby Robson, ended with 34 league goals in 37 games.
But even with Hristo Stoichkov, Laurent Blanc, Robert Prosinecki and Pep Guardiola playing alongside him Ronaldo could only help Barcelona to a second place finish in La Liga.
Nikos Machlas- Vitesse Arnhem (1997/98)
Ever heard of Nikos Machlas? Nope? Well here’s the lowdown.
The Greek striker won the European Golden Boot after scoring 34 goals to guide Vitesse Arnhem to a third place finish in the Eredivisie.
No mean feat, given he was playing against Jaap Stam, Edwin van der Sar and the De Boer brothers.
Keving Phillips- Sunderland (1999/2000)
Before Kim Kardashian was around the most fashionable K in existence was Kevin Phillips.
His 30 goals inspired Sunderland to finish seventh in the Premier League and made him the first, and as of yet the only, Englishman to win the European Golden Boot.
Not bad for a lad who started out playing right-back.
Roy Makaay- Deportivo La Coruna (2002/03)
Rudolphus Antonius Makaay, or Roy to his close friends, spearheaded Deportivo to a first, and only, league title in 2000.
But it was three years later, while still at Depor, that he was crowned the European Golden Boot winner after scoring 29 goals.
It was only enough to fire Deportivo to 3rd, as Real Madrid’s Galacticos pippped Real Sociedad to the league title.
Thierry Henry- Arsenal (2004/05)
Those were the days hey, Arsenal fans?
Henry smashed 25 goals for Arsenal to pick up his second consecutive European Golden Boot but it wasn’t enough to stop Chelsea winning the Premier League.
What Arsenal fans thought was a blip turned into a 13-year drought.
Diego Forlan- Villarreal & Atletico Madrid (2004/05 & 2008/09)
The population of Villarreal is smaller than the capacity of their home stadium, which gives some perspective to how much El Submarino Amarillo punch above their weight.
In 2005 Forlan scored 25 goals, sharing the European Golden Boot with Henry, and propelled Villarreal to third in La Liga.
The Uruguayan repeated the feat four years later with Atletico Madrid where, alongside Sergio Aguero, he scored 32 league goals. Not bad for a United reject.
Luca Toni- Fiorentina (2005/06)
The sight of Toni wheeling away with his hand to his ear became a regular occurrence in Serie A during the 2005/06 season.
Toni, who’d been playing in Italy’s second division two seasons prior, scored a career-high 31 league goals for Fiorentina.
But the Italian football scandal meant, despite Toni’s goals, Fiorentina only finished in 9th, missing out on European football completely.
Francesco Totti- Roma (2006/07)
It’s a footballing travesty that Totti finished his career with just one league title to his name.
The 2006/07 season followed a typical pattern. Totti was at his awe-inspiring best, but his team-mates couldn’t quite keep up.
He scored 26 league goals but Roma finished as Serie A runners-up, a distant 22 points behind Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan.
Luis Suarez- Liverpool (2013/14)
This was the season that everything Suarez touched turned to goals.
If it wasn’t for Crystanbul his 31 league goals would have seen Liverpool crowned Premier League champions, and deservedly so.
As it was they had to settle for second place, with Iago Aspas’ corner taking a constant reminder of how fine the margins of success are.
What would Arsenal fans do to have this man back?