Messi, Ronaldo or Lewandowski? Who was the deadliest finisher in Europe this season?
The season is winding down, with only a handful of competitive matches left to play before Europe’s top sides go off on holiday for a few weeks and return in August. During the intervening period, there will be plenty of focus on the transfer market, with players capable of scoring goals no doubt coming at a particular cost.
Surprisingly, some of the game’s deadliest finishers are not always the most prolific players, and with that in mind, we have examined the attackers who have the strongest record of converting what Opta describe as ‘Big Chances’ over the course of the last season.
Although these may sound like easy opportunities, the Europe-wide average for scoring these stands only at a little above 47%.
To ensure that only relatively regular attacking players are included in this list, it has been narrowed down to players in Europe’s top five leagues who have scored at least 10 times and have had at least 10 big chances. This qualified 87 players for the study.
Here are Europe’s best finishers from 2016-17:
#5 Sadio Mane
Perhaps Liverpool’s player of the season, Sadio Mane proved to be something of a revelation at Anfield after arriving from Southampton in the summer of 2016. He was a dynamic force in Jurgen Klopp’s side, scoring 13 goals, despite missing eight matches due to a knee injury, and typified the high-intensity game that the German tries to purvey to his players.
Mane was also able to show a keen eye in front of goal, scoring 72.73% of the big chances that were fashioned for him – a statistic that put him into the top 5 players in this category.
Expect to see the influence of the 25-year-old grow and grow next term.