LaLiga top scorers 2009/10 – Messi vs Ronaldo chapter one

Leo Messi 2009/10
Photo credit:

Take your mind back to the summer of 2009. Barcelona had just become the first Spanish club to win the treble under Pep Guardiola. Real Madrid responded by signing Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Kaka and Xabi Alonso. The stage was set for a titanic tussle and some giants of the modern game featured amongst the LaLiga top scorers in 2009/10.

Barca were faced with the unenviable task of trying to emulate arguably the greatest ever club season. Real Madrid meanwhile were under new management with Manuel Pellegrini taking over from Juande Ramos and their star-studded attack would contribute to Los Blancos scoring 4 more goals in LaLiga 2009/10 than Pep’s team.

LaLiga top scorer 2009/10 – Leo Messi (34 Goals)

Leo Messi - LaLiga top scorer 2009/10
Leo Messi during a Spanish League match between FC Barcelona and Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou on May 16, 2010 — Photo credit:

Leo Messi was the LaLiga 2009/10 top goal scorer. The 22 year old was still approaching the peak of his powers and aided by some brilliant service from the likes of Xavi and Dani Alves who both registered 10+ assists, Messi rattled in 34 league goals despite only starting 30 matches in the Spanish top flight.

The most common assist to goal combinations in LaLiga 2009/10 were indeed Alves-Messi and Xavi-Messi with 6 apiece. The Argentine also produced some dazzling solo strikes to finish 7 clear of the rest in the LaLiga top goal scorer race, landing the first of his seven Pichichi trophies in the process.

LaLiga top goal scorers 2009/10

Leo MessiBarcelona34
Gonzalo HiguainReal Madrid27
Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid26
David VillaValencia21
Diego ForlanAtletico Madrid18
Roberto SoldadoGetafe16
Zlatan IbrahimovicBarcelona16
Luis FabianoSevilla15
Fernando LlorenteAthletic Club14

Real Madrid shared the goals around quite evenly during the 2009/10 season and were the only club to break the 100 goal barrier in LaLiga. Their top scorer was not Cristiano Ronaldo or one of their big name summer signings though with Gonzalo Higuain proving the closest rival to Messi on 27.

That was the best league tally the Argentine managed during seven seasons in Madrid with Ronaldo emerging as the team’s main goal threat by the following campaign.

The race to be the LaLiga top goal scorer in 2009/10 featured some 21st Century greats such as David Villa whose goals would fire Spain to glory in the 2010 World Cup at the end of the season.

Diego Forlan netted 18 in an underwhelming Atletico Madrid side that finished down in 9th. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the other standout name in the top 10 in what was the Swede’s only season in LaLiga.

Elsewhere, Luis Fabiano was the main goal threat for 4th placed Sevilla. Fernando Llorente and Roberto Soldado both had good seasons in teams that finished in the top eight while credit should go to Tenerife’s Nino who bagged 14 despite his side suffering relegation.

Messi vs Ronaldo 2009/10 – Legends face off for the first time in Spain

We didn’t know it then, but the 2009/10 season was the beginning of an epic nine year era which would see two all-time greats in the shape of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do battle on opposite sides of the big divide in Spanish football.

Messi was fresh from winning the treble, an achievement which would land him the 2009 Ballon d’Or, an accolade that Cristiano Ronaldo had won at Manchester United the previous year. The Argentine had the advantage of playing in one of the all-time great club sides while Ronaldo’s arrival in the Spanish capital can be looked back upon as the start of a renaissance for Real Madrid after some difficult years in Europe.

Messi vs Ronaldo stats 2009/10

Leo MessiCristiano Ronaldo
LaLiga Appearances3529
LaLiga Goals3426
LaLiga Minutes per Goal8496
LaLiga Assists107
Club Appearances (All competitions)5335
Club Goals (All competitions)4733

Cristiano Ronaldo’s numbers were by no means poor in 2009/10 with his 33 goal tally largely a result of a lack of games. He didn’t feature at all in the Copa del Rey but managed 7 goals in 6 Champions League appearances as Real Madrid were knocked out in the last 16 by Lyon.

Barcelona by comparison went to the Semi-Finals where they were famously upset by Jose Mourinho’s Inter. Throw in a few Spanish Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA World Club Cup and Copa del Rey matches and Leo Messi featured in 18 more club games than Ronaldo during the 2009/10 season and scored 14 more goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo 2010
Ronaldo during the Espanyol-Real Madrid match during LaLiga 2009/10 – Photo credit:

In terms of silverware, Messi certainly had the better season. The Barca man won LaLiga, as well as the two Super Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup and would go on to be awarded the 2010 Ballon D’or. Meanwhile it was a trophyless season for Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.

Despite their undisputed brilliance, neither man was able to produce their best football at the World Cup at the end of the 2009/10 season. Ronaldo managed just one goal in South Africa in the 7-0 rout of North Korea as Portugal exited in the Last 16 while Leo Messi failed to score at all as Argentina’s run ended at the Quarter Final stage against Germany.

Daniel Garcia
About Daniel Garcia 298 Articles
Daniel is a football writer based in Spain. He has an extensive knowledge of LaLiga history and closely follows current events in the Spanish top flight.