The Golden Espadrille

Atletico Madrid star closes in top prize

Last Updated: 02/06/09 11:55am

Forlan: wins Golden Espadrille

The Golden Espadrille is one of the most prestigious awards in the game, with past winners including Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Billy Sharp.

The fact is we all love goals and those who know how to find the back of the net, but who really is the best at it?

Is it the player who scores the most, or the striker that always seems to pop up and score in the important matches?

Well here at Soccer AM we think the players with the best goals-to-games ratio should be recognised, which is why every week we have been revealing who, in our opinion, are the best strikers in Europe.

The Golden Espadrille focuses on the top forwards from Italy's Serie A, Spain's Primera Division and of course our very own Premier League.

To qualify, players must have played in at least half of their side's matches this season and only league goals count.

The Golden Espadrille

Diego Forlan capped off his remarkable season with Atletico Madrid's final goal in their 3-0 win over Almeria taking his season's tally to an incredible 32 from just 33 appearances.

That prolific scoring rate works out as a highly impressive 0.97 goals per game.

The Uruguayan hardly set the Premier League alight during his spell at Manchester United, but he has certainly found his feet in La Liga and has now topped the goal scoring charts and taken the Golden Espadrille crown.

The striker was the joint winner of the European Golden Boot in the 2004/05 season, but he won the title outright this term, despite his nearest rival, Samuel Eto'o, grabbing a last minute goal against Deportivo Le Coruna.

Spain's David Villa bagged a brace on the final day of the season against Athletic Bilbao to ensure his Valencia side sealed a Europa League place. Those strikes also secured his third place finish in the Golden Espadrille.

This season the table has been dominated by forwards plying their trade in Spain. Not a single Premier League forward made the top ten, while the highest-placed Serie A goalscorer in the charts was Diego Milito, who recorded 24 strikes in 31 appearances to finish fourth overall.

Diego ForlanAtletico Madrid32330.97
Samuel Eto'oBarcelona30360.83
David VillaValencia28330.8
Diego Milito Genoa24310.77
Lionel MessiBarcelona23310.74
Zlatan IbrahimovicInter Milan25350.71
Nikola ZigicRacing Santander13190.68
Adrian MutuFiorentina13190.68
Thierry HenryBarcelona19290.66
Gonzalo HiguainReal Madrid22340.65

*Accurate as of 1/06/09