Predicting the Top Goal Scorers in the 5 Major European Leagues
Football is back in Europe.
With some of the major leagues kicking off this past weekend and the rest having already begun their 38-game conquest to glory, some of the best talent in the world will once again be on display.
And what better way to grace the biggest stage with goals?
Some of the game's A-list names topped the list of scorers last season, with Robin van Persie, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among them.
So which of those three could repeat as their league's top scorer?
Here are some predictions for Europe's top finishers.
English Premier League
England's top flight still stands above most in consideration for the world's best league, and with the type of talent that comes to the Premier League annually, it is a healthy argument.
Last year, the injury-prone Robin van Persie stuck out an entire season and played all 38 league games for the first time in his career. The result was a 30-goal campaign that preceded his recent move to Manchester United, where he will pair up with another of England's top finishers in Wayne Rooney.
The candidates: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero.
With Aguero and Rooney picking up injuries early on, the smart money is on van Persie to retain his scoring crown. Tevez could easily swoop in and claim the title, but with the number of capable finishers for City, goals likely will be well-spread. RVP, on the other hand, could be a more central figure in United's goal-scoring tally.
If his goal against Fulham is any indication of his form and ability, the Dutchman is favorite.
Spain's top league may have two of the best teams in the world, but below Real Madrid and Barcelona comes a wealth of clubs playing for qualification for European tournaments.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo go hand-in-hand when discussing the best goal-threats in Spain. To no one's surprise, it will be hardly different this season with these two in their primes. Ronaldo scored 46 times for Real Madrid, only to be topped by Messi's 50-spot for Barcelona.
The candidates: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Is there even a reason to list anyone else? Over the past two seasons, the two stars have combined to score 167 goals.
There is no method to the magic, just a guess: Messi repeats as La Liga's scoring champion.
The German Bundesliga flies to its own strength behind the floodlights fixed on the Premier League and La Liga.
Featuring many of the country's top names of today and tomorrow, Germany's top flight is quite the spectacle for goal-scorers.
The candidates: Klass-Jan Huntelaar, Mario Gomez and Robert Lewandowski.
The top scorer this season likely will come from the trio at the top of the list from last year.
Huntelaar comes off a 29-goal season, tops in the Bundesliga and the most he has scored since he netted 34 for Ajax back in 2007. Gomez had a fantastic season last year for club and country and is still the primary option for the very structured Bayern Munich. Lewandowski had a solid campaign with Borussia Dortmund, but he is not yet on the same level as his counterparts.
Gomez will reclaim is crown that he earned in 2010.
The Serie A saw its top scorer from last season leave for France, opening up the scoring crown to a slew of talented and capable forwards.
With AC Milan lacking a proven goal-scorer, a position vacated by Ibrahimovic's departure to PSG, the title looks prime for only three strikers.
The candidates: Diego Milito, Antonio di Natale and Edinson Cavani.
Milito and di Natale have became the standard when it comes to recent top finishers in Italy, but Napoli's Cavani is well-positioned on a squad that can do some damage offensively.
At just 25 years old, Cavani is in search of his third straight season with at least 23 league goals.
Two of Ligue 1's top scorers left France's top flight over the summer, and the reigning scoring champion, PSG's Nene, is joined at the club by the Serie A's top scorer in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Fresh from a move out of AC Milan, Ibrahimovic is an immediate scoring threat for PSG, but one has to wonder how much he will cut into Nene's goal production.
The candidates: Nene, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lisandro Lopez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
PSG boast two scoring champions in two different leagues from last season. With an aging Nene, Ibrahimovic may get the most looks, but it is hard to discount Lopez and Augbameyang who both put in quality campaigns last year.
In a pure gut check, Aubameyang will have the most goals in France's Ligue 1 this season.