Yes, you read that headline correctly: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo finished 2021 as the top scorers for Barcelona and Juventus, respectively, despite the two stars leaving La Liga and Serie A in the summer.
Messi, 34, left Camp Nou amid a veil of tears to sign for Paris Saint-Germain on August 11, while Ronaldo, 36, returned to Manchester United three weeks later.
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The 2021-22 season is now halfway through for Barcelona and Juventus, but none of their former teammates still beat any of the calendar year goals.
Messi scored 28 goals for Barcelona in 2021 before his contract expired, but no one came close to equalizing his tally by the end of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw in Seville, the last game of the year for both clubs (Stream the replay on ESPN+ in the US).
Meanwhile, Ronaldo scored 20 goals for Juventus in all competitions during the latter half of the 2020-21 season before returning to Old Trafford in the summer. His score remained at the top of the chart for Bianconeri After their 2-0 victory over Cagliari on Tuesday, their last game before facing Napoli on January 6th.
It’s either a testament to the duo’s enduring brilliance – they are, after all, ranked number one and two among the world’s best strikers in ESPN’s FC 100 of 2021 – or a severe indictment of the teams they left behind. Maybe both.
Barcelona (108 goals in all competitions in 2021).
The Catalan giant scored a total of 108 goals in all competitions in 2021, and Messi scored 28 goals before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in August. The rest of Barcelona players scored 80 goals between them.
Messi scored almost twice as many goals as the next player on the list, Antoine Griezmann, who also left Camp Nou to return to Atletico Madrid on loan at the beginning of September.
28 goals: Lionel Messi
15: Antoine Griezmann
8: Memphis Depay
7: Frenkie de Jong
6: Ousmane Dembele
4: Ansu Fati, Jordi Alba, Martin Braithwaite
3: Gerard Pique, Ronald Araujo, Francisco Trincao
2: Pedri, Oscar Mengueza, Sergino Dest, Sergi Roberto, Philippe Coutinho, Nicolas Gonzalez, goal
1: Ricky Puig, Junior Firpo, Alex Moriba, Luke de Jong, Sergio Aguero, Sergio Busquets, Abdelzalzuli, Ferran Gutgla, Gavi.
Juventus (106 goals in all competitions in 2021).
After Ronaldo, Juventus have struggled to keep up with Serie A this season and slipped into fifth place in the table having scored fewer goals than any other team in the top eight.
However, they have managed to score 106 goals in all competitions this year, 20 of which Ronaldo mustered before returning to Manchester United at the end of August.
Juventus have seen few players break double digits compared to Barcelona, but Morata’s second-best scorer still fails to top the chart this calendar year despite making 53 appearances for the club in 2021 versus Ronaldo’s 31, as well as inheriting the penalty-kick. Take assignments.
20: Cristiano Ronaldo
17: Alvaro Morata
15: Federico Chiesa
11: Paulo Dybala
6: Juan Cuadrado, Weston McKinney
5: Diane Kulusevsky
4: Adrien Rabiot and Moise King
3: Alex Sandro and Leonardo Bonucci
2: Aaron Ramsay, Matisse de Ligt, Manuel Locatelli
1: Danilo, Hamza Rafia, Arthur, Gianluca Frabota, Federico Bernardeschi, goalkeeper