Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pichichi Race Becoming More Interesting Than Title Bout

Consider the top scorers list in Spain, Ronaldo and Messi sit one and two having scored  25* and 24 goals respectively so far this season. In contrast, the Spanish Primera table shows a gap of 7 points between first placed Barcelona and second placed Real Madrid. Assuming that Real Madrid beat Barca at the Bernabeau in a few months time, the Merengues will need Barcelona to draw three times between now and the end of the season if they are to have any chance of overcoming the odds, and becoming league champions. In recent games however, Barcelona have hardly been tested and wins by less than a three goal margin have become few and far between At the moment, Barcelona appear untouchable and one would struggle to imagine them failing to win any of their remaining games this season. On the other side of the coin, Real Madrid have struggled of late, and the wins they have managed to scrape up have been highly unconvincing. Save an extraordinary dip in form from the Catalan giants, the league title will surely be staying in Barcelona.

Making up for the lack of excitement in the Spanish Primera race, is the fantastically poised battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi over the Pichichi Trophy (the Spanish golden boot). The trophy was created to honor legendary Athletic Bilbao striker Rafael Moreno Aranzadi, aka Pichichi or little duck. Since its inception in 1953, the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Samuel Eto'o have all succeeded in winning it. Interestingly, Real Madrid have been the team to provide us with the most winners,24, with Barcelona back in third having only managed to muster up 11.  This season, the race for this prestigious award has been more competitive than ever with Real Madrid's Ronaldo and Barcelona's Messi going toe to toe together all season. Yesterday, Lionel Messi briefly moved top of the standings by notching a hat trick against Atletico Madrid, but Ronaldo soon put that right with a brace against Real Sociedad helping him to reclaim top spot. If both players remain injury free for the duration of the season then we could be in for a record breaking year. Hugo Sanchez and Telmo Zarra hold the record for the most goals scored in one season, with both scoring 38 in 1950-51 and 1989-90 respectively. But on current form, both Ronaldo and Messi are due to notch a staggering total of 44 league goals a piece, smashing the record shared by Sanchez and Zarra.

* According to some sources Ronaldo has only scored 24, with his early season, deflected free kick against Real Sociedad, the goal that is stirring up all the controversy.

Who will win the Pichichi when all is said and done?

Is the Pichichi race really more interesting the title one?

For opinions on Spanish football from a Real Madrid perspective click here and for any Catalans out there, this is the place for you.

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