Ranking the Top 10 Strikers in La Liga This Season

Tre' Atkinson@@TreAtkinsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2013

Ranking the Top 10 Strikers in La Liga This Season

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    La Liga has enjoyed what has been a very exciting year thus far. But the success of every team ultimately rests on the shoulders of those trusted to score goals.

    Every club has a go-to option in their first-choice striker. This season has seen some amazing goalscorers rise to the challenge, while others have fallen apart all together.

    In this article, we look at the top 10 strikers in La Liga this season.

    To rank each striker, we will take into account the amount of goals scored in La Liga, as well as their contribution to helping their team find the back of the net.

    The ranking will consist only of those players who regularly operate at the central striker position. Wingers such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Pizzi will not be included, though tremendous players, because of their true positions.

    Continue reading to find out who have been the top strikers in Spain this season, there are sure to be some surprises.

    Note team and player statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com

10. Leo Baptistao, Rayo Vallecano

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    La Liga fans have been lucky to witness the unfolding story of Leo Baptistao this season. The 20-year-old forward has overcome much adversity and is now carrying his club on his young shoulders.

    Rayo Vallecano’s striker has amassed seven goals this season, and though the amount may not seem big, he has done more than merely score goals.

    Leo has also given a remarkable six assists this season. That means that the starlet has accounted for 12 of Rayo’s 36 goals on the season.

    There is no telling how far the striker can go if given the chance. But expect a few bigger clubs to come calling this summer.  

9. Gonzalo Higuain, Real Madrid

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    Gonzalo Higuain comes in at ninth in our ratings, barely edging out teammate Karim Benzema. The Argentine striker has scored nine goals on the season and has been a more solid starter than his French opposite.

    Real Madrid, as per usual, have counted on the bulk of the scoring to be done by Cristiano Ronaldo. But this season has seen Higuain rise to the occasion as the second option for Los Blancos.

    Had it not been for a few injuries that saw Pipita miss time, he may have over 15 goals to this point.

    With Benzema very inconsistent throughout the season, Higuain has stepped up in hopes of earning his starting role back. But with neither striker truly shining, a move could be made this summer.  

8. Helder Postiga, Real Zaragoza

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    Real Zaragoza’s Portuguese striker has been in scintillating form this season. Though Zaragoza have struggled throughout the majority of the season, Helder Postiga has done his part to stop the bleeding.

    The striker has scored an impressive 10 goals this season. With Zaragoza only netting 25 times in the current campaign, Postiga has accounted for nearly half of the entire team’s goals.

    Though Postiga is getting older—currently 30—he is showing that he can still be a very reliable goalscorer.   

7. Riki, Deportivo La Coruna

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    Riki has been a bright light in a dark season for Deportivo La Coruna. Without even a full season in the Primera, it appears as if the club will once again be relegated.

    Yet with 10 total goals scored and his incredible ability to link up with his attacking partner, Pizzi, Riki has carried the offensive load at Deportivo.

    If the defense can follow the example set by the determination of their 32-year-old Spanish striker, relegation may actually be avoided.

    One thing is for sure. When creating a game plan to counter Deportivo, Riki is always at the heart of the matter. Just ask Real Madrid, who recently were humbled by his ability and nearly lost the encounter.  

6. Aritz Aduriz, Athletic Bilbao

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    Aritz Aduriz has climbed very high on our list despite playing for a very dismal Athletic Bilbao side. Tasked with taking over for Fernando Llorente this season, the Basque striker has been brilliant.

    Aduriz has quite literally carried the Bilbao offense by scoring 12 of the clubs 32 total goals.

    His ability to score the ball has impressed many fans this season, but it is his leadership that has earned Aduriz the biggest praise.

    With Llorente rarely seeing the pitch and Iker Muniain in terrible form for most of the season, the scoring load fell into the lap of Aduriz. Luckily for Bilbao, their striker has proven himself time and again.  

5. Iago Aspas, Celta De Vigo

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    There is no measuring the importance of Iago Aspas at Celta de Vigo. Fans have seen the 25-year-old come out of nowhere to terrorize La Liga with his tremendous eye for goal.

    The striker has unbelievably been responsible for all but 10 of Celta’s goals this season.

    With 10 goals and six assists thus far, there has not been a single play that hasn’t first gone through Aspas. It is frightening to think of where Celta would be without Aspas, and his sheer performance for his club ranks him very highly on our list.  

4. Alvaro Negredo, Sevilla

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    Alvaro Negredo continues to state his case for a spot in the Spanish national team. The striker has performed well as the focal point of the Sevilla attack and has been called upon regularly as the only real option.

    With Jesus Navas not playing at his usual level, Negredo has been forced to step up his performance.

    The Spanish striker has scored a very strong 14 goals in domestic play this season and even sits fourth in the table for goals scored on the year.

    Though Negredo has not been able to keep Sevilla at a very high position in the table, he has certainly made a name for himself, as clubs could be pushing to snatch him away from his current team.  

3. Roberto Soldado, Valencia

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    If there is any player deserving of to be called underrated, it is Roberto Soldado.

    Valencia’s target man continues to improve his game each season as fans can only wonder why he is not seeing more time with the national team.

    His 13 goals have led Valencia to a surge up the table in recent weeks. After a dismal start to the season, Soldado took it upon himself to pull Valencia out of the bottom half of the table.

    The Spanish striker is certainly deserving of more praise than he is currently receiving. If not for the big three of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao, Roberto Soldado would be king of La Liga.  

2. Radamel Falcao, Atletico Madrid

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    El Tigre has been a giant among boys this season in La Liga play. His influence has spurred Atletico to a fight for second place in the table and has nearly guaranteed a Champions League berth next season.

    Falcao’s 21 goals ranks third in Spain this season, but no one expects the striker to stop there.

    As a goalscorer, Falcao is one of the best. But it is his ability to work with his teammates that has allowed El Tigre to push Atletico forward.

    Just his presence on the pitch constantly opens up the game for his fellow strikers which Atletico continues to exploit. Falcao is quickly becoming the hottest name in the rumor mills, and he deserves every penny that could possibly be spent to secure his signature this summer. 

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona

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    To no one’s surprise, Lionel Messi takes the first spot on our list of La Liga’s best strikers. Having already scored 40 goals, the numbers speak for themselves.

    The world’s best player continues to get better each season, which almost seems impossible.

    Messi has greatly improved his free kicks as well as his ability to shoot from outside the box. The Argentine has also played hero this season countless times and is still the most important player on the planet.

    But Messi has not solely been a goalscorer.

    Lionel Messi has given nine assists this season, which means that he has accounted for 49 of Barcelona’s total 85 goals. His production is borderline unbelievable, and he continues to leave commentators lost for words to describe his brilliance.

    With Messi being the leading scorer by a massive 14 goals while also raking second in the assist category, there truly is no competition for La Liga’s best striker.

    How would you rank La Liga’s strikers? Is there anyone I left out? Who would you drop from this list? Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.

    Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on La Liga.