Ranking 5 greatest La Liga golden boot winners of the 21st century

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

La Liga has hosted several prolific Golden Boot winners over the years. During the Spanish top-flight's history, several elite players have competed for the individual honor.

At the turn of the century, La Liga had players like Ronaldo Nazario and Raul, two of the biggest names in football at the time, competing for the top-scorer award.

More recently, the baton was passed on to two of the greatest ever players in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, taking the competition in La Liga to the next level.

Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi has also left La Liga now

However, the star value of La Liga seems to be thinning, with Lionel Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain after a dramatic turn of events at FC Barcelona.

With Messi gone, it will be interesting to see who takes up the mantle to be the face of La Liga this season. Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema look to be prime candidates to compete in the Golden Boot race as they came extremely close last season.

Gerard Moreno is another strong candidate after he finished second behind Lionel Messi with 23 goals last season.

Considering how both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are not part of La Liga anymore, players like Antoine Griezmann and Eden Hazard will sense an opportunity to seize the limelight.

For now, focus on ranking the best La Liga Golden Boot winners of the 21st century:

#5 Luis Suarez | FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Club Leon - Joan Gamper Trophy
FC Barcelona v Club Leon - Joan Gamper Trophy

Luis Suarez was the only player to break the duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the La Liga golden boot.

In what was a brilliant individual Golden Boot-winning season in 2015-16, Suarez netted 40 goals in 35 La Liga appearances for Barcelona. The fact that it came in an era where many players were overshadowed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made it all the more outstanding.

After Messi picked up an injury that season, Suarez stepped up for Barcelona by netting six goals in five games during the Argentine's absence.

Suarez thrived at Barcelona courtesy of his excellent finishing and technical ability. The Uruguayan's link-up play with Neymar and off-the-ball movement troubled La Liga defenders the entire season.

In addition to winning the Golden Boot with 40 goals that season, Suarez also notched up 18 assists. The striker finished the season with an astonishing return of 59 goals and 24 assists in 53 appearances across all competitions.

That was the last season when any player other than Lionel Messi won the La Liga Golden Boot. A season to remember for 'El Pistolero.'

#4 Samuel Eto'o | FC Barcelona

Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Copa del Rey Final
Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Copa del Rey Final

After failing to impress at Real Madrid, a move to Mallorca changed Samuel Eto'o's fortunes. He scored 67 goals for Mallorca across four years and the world took notice of his goal-scoring abilities.

The Cameroonian finally enjoyed his breakthrough when he secured a big move to FC Barcelona, which put him right in the spotlight. Playing with the likes of Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and a young Lionel Messi elevated all aspects of his game.

Eto'o dazzled La Liga by becoming the Golden Boot winner in his first season at Barcelona, scoring 25 goals in the 2004-05 season and sharing the award with Diego Forlan.

The following season was nothing short of spectacular as Eto'o bagged the Golden Boot award for himself by scoring 26 goals.

Eto'o was the standout player in a star studded Barcelona side which won the UEFA Champions League in 2005. This stellar individual season was capped by him coming third in the race for FIFA Player of the year.

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Edited by Nived Zenith

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