LaLiga Strikers – Who are the best Centre-Forwards in Spain?

LaLiga strikers

Today, we’re going to take a look at the best LaLiga strikers, by analysing some of the key metrics. By striker, for the purposes of this post, we are referring to players who have been most frequently used this season as the sole striker in their team or as part of a front two. The likes of Real Madrid’s Vini Junior and Betis’ Juanmi (who rank joint 3rd for goals scored with 12) will feature in another post on the best wingers and wide forwards at some point in the future!

All data featured in this post is via Fbref (with the exception of the Sorare rankings at the bottom). It relates to LaLiga football in the 2021/22 season so far (after 24 matchdays). Only players to have completed more than 500 minutes of football in LaLiga this season feature.


LaLiga Strikers 2021/22


Best Finishers

GoalsGoals per 90 minutesShots on Target %Goals per Shotnp:G-xG
Karim Benzema17 (1)0.9 (1)42.50.21+5.4 (1)
Raul De Tomas13 (2)0.640.80.12+0.9
Joselu12 (3)0.5537.30.12+1.8
Enes Unal110.6432.00.18+4.7 (3)
Iago Aspas110.5341.90.21+3.7
Angel Correa100.6845.70.29 (2)+5.3 (2)
Goncalo Guedes90.4442.00.16+4.1
Gerard Moreno80.7337.50.22+2.4
Luis Suarez (Atleti)80.5350.00.18+1.0
Memphis Depay80.5256.40.13-0.1
Borja Iglesias70.79 (2)44.40.19+0.2
Jorge Molina70.5051.90.26 (3)+3.3
Lucas Boye70.4635.00.18+2.6
Pere Milla70.7670.6 (1)0.41 (1)+3.8
Rafa Mir70.4634.90.16+1.9
Santi Mina70.3535.40.15+1.2
Matheus Cunha50.77 (3)45.00.25+1.3
Dani Gomez20.3363.6 (2)0.18+0.3
Fernando Niño20.2561.1 (3)0.11-0.7

Players with 7+ goals in LaLiga 2021/22 so far are included in the table, in addition to any striker who ranked in the top 3 for any of the other categories. np:G-xG means Non Penalty Goals minus Non Penalty Expected Goals, with a positive score suggesting above average finishing.

Karim Benzema has been the standout striker, and in truth standout player, in LaLiga this season. He tops the goalscoring charts with 17 but one or two players have got a bit closer to him during the Frenchman’s injury lay-off. Goals scored only tells part of the tale when it comes to trying to find LaLiga’s best finisher and some of the other metrics make for interesting reading.

Benzema also ranks as the most prolific striker when it comes to goals per 90 minutes, but Betis’ Borja Iglesias and Atletico Madrid’s Matheus Cunha are not far behind and could be much higher up the Pichichi rankings were it not for rotation and particularly in Cunha’s case, serious competition for a starting role.

Another man who ranks well in that category is Pere Milla and the Elche man has perhaps surprisingly been the most efficient forward in LaLiga when it comes to both shot on target % and goals per shot. He has only been given 8 starts in LaLiga with most of his appearances coming off the bench, but Milla has some seriously impressive figures with 12 of his 17 shots hitting the target and 7 of them resulting in goals. Used wide at times, Milla’s recent hot streak appears to have cemented himself in Elche’s starting XI as an out and out striker in recent weeks.

Arguably the best metric for judging finishing ability is np:G-xG. There’s no surprise to see Karim Benzema on top again but credit must go to both Angel Correa and Enes Unal who are having excellent seasons in front of goal and massively out-performing their xG. 

Only Memphis Depay and Fer Niño posted negative scores amongst the LaLiga strikers featured above. However they didn’t score as badly as the likes of Alexander Isak (-1.8), Ante Budimir (-1.8) and Angel Rodriguez (-2.4) who might have featured prominently in recent seasons but aren’t enjoying their best campaigns in front of goal.

LaLiga Striker Stats – Goal and Shot Creation

AssistsExpected Assists (xA)Shot-Creating Actions per 90Goal-Creating Actions per 90
Karim Benzema7 (1)5.7 (1)4.39 (1)0.69 (2)
Goncalo Guedes5 (2)3.13.550.59
Angel Correa4 (3)2.72.810.41
Boulaye Dia4 (3)1.32.200.60
Willian Jose4 (3)2.52.600.47
Memphis Depay23.14.05 (2)0.72 (1)
Gerard Moreno23.63.94 (3)0.37
Antoine Griezmann11.73.180.62 (3)
Iago Aspas33.9 (2)3.350.39
Iñaki Williams23.9 (3)2.080.10

Players who ranked amongst the top 3 forwards for any of the above categories (and also met the 500 minute threshold) are included in the table. Shot-creating and goal-creating actions relate to the two offensive actions leading up to a shot/goal such as passes or dribbles. Note that unlike with assists or expected assists, players are credited in this metric if they create chances for themselves.

The above data highlights strikers who not only carry a goal threat but are amongst the best in LaLiga at creating chances for others or indeed themselves. The standout player is again Karim Benzema who tops all four categories with the exception of goal-creating actions where he is second only to Barcelona’s Memphis Depay whose qualities are perhaps best illustrated by his figures for both goal and shot creating actions.
We also get a glimpse of the qualities the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Iñaki Williams and Boulaye Dia offer here. None have scored enough goals or ranked highly enough to feature in the finishing table above, but all three have still made an impact to a varying degree this season in terms of creating openings and opportunities for their team.

Combined & Other Stats

Players who ranked amongst the top 3 forwards for any of the below categories (and also met the 500 minute threshold) are included in the tables.

Goals + Assists (per 90)Expected Goals + Expected Assists (per 90)
Karim Benzema1.27 (1)0.93 (1)
Angel Correa0.96 (2)0.51
Gerard Moreno0.92 (3)0.89 (2)
Borja Iglesias0.790.87 (3)

Unsurprisingly, it’s Benzema who comes out on top for goal involvements and expected goal involvements but Gerard Moreno and Borja Iglesias aren’t far behind at all in the latter. For different reasons, neither has got anywhere near as much playing time as the Frenchman so it’s questionable whether they’d be able to replicate that over a longer period, certainly in Iglesias’ case. Villarreal forward Moreno perhaps feels like the only other LaLiga striker right now who is even in Benzema’s ballpark when it comes to an all-round attacking threat.

Angel Correa’s goal and assist figures are also seriously impressive and given the struggles of the likes of Luis Suarez, Joao Feliz and Antoine Griezmann, the Argentine is arguably Atletico Madrid’s most important forward right now.

Fouls Drawn (per 90)
Joao Felix5.84 (1)
Pere Milla3.59 (2)
Maxi Gomez3.14 (3)

Speaking of Felix, he does at least rank as the best forward in LaLiga when it comes to drawing fouls and by some margin. The 5.84 fouls won per 90 minutes is comfortably better than Pere Milla who has the second best record of strikers to have played 500 minutes or more in LaLiga this season. 

Espanyol’s Landry Dimata was just shy of 500 minutes but does have a slightly higher fouls drawn per 90 minutes record than Milla.

Aerial Duels Won (per 90)
Joselu10.0 (1)
Ante Budimir7.13 (2)
Guido Carrillo6.38 (3)

In the air, Alaves striker Joselu is king and frequently ranks as the player to have won the most aerial challenges in our LaLiga matchday reviews. He also has the highest aerial duel win % of any striker in Spain’s top flight this term at 69.6%. He is not only a great target man for the Basque side to have, but a genuine goal threat too with 12 goals in LaLiga 2021/22 so far.

The same can’t be said of Guido Carrillo who is a rather more one-dimensional forward who has only managed 10 goals across his three and a half seasons in LaLiga and is yet to net this term for Elche. He is though a dominant figure in the air with only Joselu and Osasuna’s Ante Budimir bettering his figures for aerial duels won per 90 minutes.

Who are the best strikers in LaLiga? – Sorare Ratings

Average All Round Score (L15)Average All Round Score (L40)Average Total Score (L15)Average Total Score (L40)
Karim Benzema12.8 (1)13.9 (2)64.1 (2)68.9 (1)
Joselu11.0 (2)9.462.3 (3)55.5
Gerard Moreno10.9 (3)7.965.8 (1)57.8
Memphis Depay10.817.8 (1)58.466.8 (2)
Iago Aspas10.610.5 (3)61.458.9 (3)

The Sorare scoring matrix takes into account a large range of different metrics in giving every player a total score out of 100 in each game they play. The all round score is more focused on smaller individual actions such as successful passes, dribbles, aerial challenges and more. The overall score is more heavily weighted towards those that regularly score and create goals. L15 relates to the last 15 matches and L40 the last 40 that the player has been eligible for. This comes via Soraredata and includes matches in other competitions as well as LaLiga. Again the top 3 strikers in each field are featured in the table providing they appeared in at least 50% of their team’s games during the time period.

Five players really do stand out here with impressive numbers across the board. Karim Benzema will be remembered as one of the best strikers in LaLiga history and his Sorare scores only back up the stats from above. The Real Madrid forward is the best striker in LaLiga in 2022 but he doesn’t top every single category.

Memphis Depay has the highest all-round score average across the past 40 games although that does take in the latter period of his time in France when he was more threatening than he has been so far for Barcelona.

Gerard Moreno, Joselu and Iago Aspas also feature too and it’s striking that all of those five players are 28 years old or older with the new generation of LaLiga strikers yet to really hit the heights of the old guard.

As mentioned, it is worth noting that some players listed as forwards on Sorare are not really “strikers” and don’t feature in this article. That includes Vini Junior and Nabil Fekir who would be very much part of the last conversation were we including all Sorare forwards. They will be included in another post at a later date.


Read More: LaLiga’s Best Centre-Backs


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