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Haaland nowhere near Messi’s single-season goal record in Europe’s top five leagues

It was only a matter of time until Erling Haaland set a new record for the most goals in a single Premier League season, and the Manchester City striker did just that by chipping home his 35th strike of the campaign in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over West Ham United.

Haaland sprinted on to a Jack Grealish through ball to dink in his side’s second goal in the 70th minute of a win that sent City back to the top of the table with a game in hand over title challengers Arsenal.

With his expert finish, the Norway international overtook Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole at the top of the all-time single-season goal scoring list, with both strikers having previously shared the record (34 goals) for the best part of three decades.

Haaland still has five of City’s 38 league games this season left to further extend his new record, while both Cole and Shearer reached their respective tallies during 42-game seasons just prior to the Premier League being reduced from 22 teams to 20 for the 1995-96 campaign.

As impressive as Haaland’s relentless strike rate has been in his debut season in England‘s top flight, he is still off the pace compared to the existing single-season goal record across all of Europe’s top leagues.

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The Italian Serie A record is jointly shared by three players: Gino Rossetti, who scored 36 goals for Torino in 1928-29; Gonzalo Higuain, who was the first to equal that tally for Napoli almost 90 years later in 2015-16; and Ciro Immobile, the most recent to reach that total, for Lazio in 2019-20. Haaland has already beaten the three of them.

Robert Lewandowski holds the German top-flight record after hitting 41 goals in just 29 league appearances as Bayern Munich won their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title in 2020-21. After only failing to find the net in four league games all season, the Poland captain set his new record with a last-minute tap-in in a 5-2 victory over Augsburg in the final game of the season to move past Bayern and Germany legend Gerd Muller.

The Ligue 1 record has been held for more than half a century by former Yugoslavia striker Josip Skoblar, who found the net a dazzling 44 times for Marseille during the 1970-71 season, winning both the league title and the European Golden Boot as a result.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is second on the Ligue 1 list with a tally that, for now, still eclipses Haaland’s effort this season after the Swede scored 38 goals for Paris Saint-Germain in the 2015-16 campaign.

Unsurprisingly, LaLiga’s all-time record goal scorer, Lionel Messi, also holds the Spanish top flight’s single-season record, too. The Argentina forward scored a full half-century of league goals for Barcelona during the 2011-12 season, when he reached the peak of his powers. He also scored 73 goals in all competitions in 2011-12 and 91 goals in total for club and country during the calendar year of 2012.

That season, Cristiano Ronaldo finished runner-up behind Messi in LaLiga’s scoring charts with 46 goals to his name for Real Madrid, the second highest single-season goal total in the league’s history.

That two players scored almost 100 goals between them in a single league campaign is a testament to the historic rivalry that duo shared across the Clasico divide.

Imagine what heights Haaland could be propelled to if he had a direct goal rival in the Premier League to spur him on…
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