There are more candidates for Spain’s illustrious Pichichi this season than ever in recent times. It has been the Messi – Ronaldo show for some time now, you have to go back to the 2008/2009 season when a player other than Messi or Ronaldo finished top scorer of La Liga, Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid. This season however, the likes of Suarez, Mandzukic and even Falcao(if you follow the transfer gossip) can top the charts ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.
Mandzukic is a good striker but won’t be good enough to top the charts
Mandzukic scored 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season in only 21 starts for a Bayern Munich team that was tinkered a lot by Pep. He’s a proven goal scorer no matter the style of football so he’ll be in and around the top scorers by the end of this season.
The problem is that Mandzukic isn’t as mobile as the other forwards that’ll be gunning for the Pichichi. He’ll need a lot more help from the “support cast”. Koke, Arda Turan and Griezeman are more than capable of supplying great balls for Mandzukic to capititlize on but the likes of Ronaldo and Suarez have a much better “support cast” and they should score more.
Ronaldo will score more than Messi this season but still fall short.
Ronaldo at 29 years of age is at the peak of his footballing career at the moment or maybe last season was his peak. He was phenomenal last season, so it’s hard to see him surpassing the barriers he broke down.
Ronaldo was also plagued with injuries during the latter stages of the season, wasn’t 100% match fit during the World Cup and hasn’t played much preaseason football. This may all lead to a slow start(goal scoring wise) to his season which will cost him the top spot.
Messi won’t top the scoring charts this season but he’ll end up directly helping somebody else who will.
Messi is set for a slight positional change this season due to the incoming Luis Suarez. Suarez isn’t coming to replace Alexis Sanchez as a right winger, he is coming to be Barcelona’s #9 on the pitch. Suarez will interchange positions with Messi and Neymar during matches but mostly he’ll be operating centrally as a striker. Messi will play behind Suarez and look to play Suarez in on goal more often than not.
Messi will still be a focal point in Barcelona’s attack and still their most influential player. Messi will score less than previous seasons but still end up with his customary 20+ goals this season but he’ll have 20+ assists to go with it and Suarez will be the prime beneficiary of those assists thus making Luis Suarez La Liga’s top scorer at the end of this season.