Is it Easier to Score in La Liga than in the Premier League?
For many football fans, the Premier League is the ‘most competitive league in the world.’ However, that is very arguable. The La Liga has often termed the easiest league and also the most free-scoring league in European top-flight leagues.
A lot of fans will claim that La Liga is easier to score in comparison to the Premier League. Usually, this argument arises when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo post incredible goalscoring figures in the Premier League. This argument is also brought up by some Cristiano Ronaldo fans who claim because he had an insane goal ratio during his time in Spain, La Liga must definitely be easier to score in.
Now, let’s find out the real truth using facts and statistics. Is La Liga easier to score in the Premier League?
1. La Liga top scorers are also top scorers in the UCL
From the 2008/2009 Champions League season till the 2018/2019 season, the top goalscorers have all come from the Spanish League. You can easily guess the two players who dominated the UCL golden boot award in the last 10 years. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar have emerged as the top goalscorers in the Champions League for a decade.
During this decade, there have the other great Premier League strikers that had played in the Champions League. Proven goalscorers such as Didier Drogba, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, and Mohammed Salah, yet none of them came close to Ronaldo or Messi.
If it was easy to score in La Liga, then why did these La Liga players still dominate Europe?
2. The top goalscorers in both leagues before Messi and Ronaldo
Now let’s look at who has been scoring in the two leagues before the Lionel Messi and Ronaldo came to the fore.
We will go back to 16 years before Messi won the golden shoe while in 2009. From the 1992/1993 season to the 2007/2008 season, that was 16 seasons. In those 16 seasons, Premier League players outscored La Liga players seven times, while the La Liga players outscored EPL strikers seven times too. On two occasions, both league’s topscorer finished on equal goals.
Since 1992/1993 to 2007/2008:
EPL players scored more = 7 times
La Liga players scored more = 7 times
Both finished on equal goals = 2 times.
Now, if it was easier to score in the La Liga compared to the Premier League, why were Premier League players and La Liga players on the same scoring level, before the Messi and Ronaldo era?
3. Players from La Liga
There are some players who transferred from La Liga to the Premier League and scored better in England than they did in Spain.
Sergio Aguero is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have played in the Premier League. However, he was once a La Liga player.
He was signed as a teenager striker for Atlético Madrid for a massive €23 million at the time. He spent five seasons with Atlético, and in his best goalscoring season (in 2010-11), he got 20 goals. He joined for Manchester City that summer, and in his first season in the Premier League, he scored 23 goals.
In Spain, Fernando Torres scored 20 goals in his best season back in 2003-04. He joined Liverpool in 2007, and in his first season for the Reds, he scored 24 goals. However, injuries in the followed two seasons limited his tally to 14 and 18.
Santi Cazorla played nine seasons in La Liga before joining Arsenal in England. He has never managed more than 9 goals during his time in Spain. However, he scored 12 in his first season in England.
What about Alexis Sanchez? In Sanchez’s three seasons in Barcelona, he scored a total of 39 goals; however, during his first three seasons in England, he scored 53 goals.
Michu was Swansea’s top scorer in 2012-13 season with 18 goals from 35 games. However, he was with Rayo Vallecano the previous season, and only managed 15 goals in 37 matches.
The same goes for players like Fernando Llorente, David Silva, Rafael Van der Vaart, Yaya Toure, who all scored better in the Premier League compared to when they were in Spain.
4. Top scorers in the Europa League
In the last ten years of the UEFA Europa League, two La Liga players have won the top goalscorer award. In that same period, two Premier League players have also emerged top scorers in the secondary European competition.
It is clearly not easier to score in La Liga than in the Premier League. Goalscoring depends on the player and team quality. During the early 1990s, Alan Shearer of Newcastle dominated the goals while in the mid and late 1990s, Ronaldo de Lima and Raul dominated the goals.
In the early 2000s, it was Thierry Henry who scores more. So it would be wrong to say that it is easier to score in La Liga.