Sunday night saw Gareth Bale set a new record for British and Irish players in La Liga during Real Madrid’s 4-0 win over Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu. When he scored the third goal in the 66th minute, he went past former English striker Gary Lineker as the all-time highest British or Irish goalscorer in Spain’s top division.
Not many players from the United Kingdom make a move to Spain, preferring to ply their trade in the English Premier League instead. Only a handful have made their way south to the Iberian peninsula with a select few signing for top clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Bale is still officially the most expensive player after his £86m move from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. He proved pivotal in their first season, teaming up with Cristiano Ronaldo and co to bring home La Decima – their tenth Champions League crown. He had scored in the final against Atletico Madrid and also scored against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final to give Real Madrid a double.
In La Liga, last night’s goal saw him move past Gary Lineker. The English striker had moved to Barcelona from Everton in 1986 following his Golden Boot-winning performance at the 1986 World Cup and spent three seasons at the Camp Nou. Lineker had two successful seasons scoring 20 and 16 goals but only managed six goals in his final season when Johan Cruyff moved him to the right.
John Aldridge, who had two prolific seasons with Liverpool between 1987 and 1989 also moved to Spain but joined Basque side Real Sociedad. The Irish striker scored 33 goals in his two seasons and would have scored more had his family adapted to life in Spain.
It was what forced him to hand in a transfer request and move back to England. Had he stayed, his goals per game ratio shows that he is the next best player after Bale in the list.
Other notable names include the first of the Galacticos who joined Real Madrid - David Beckham and Michael Owen. While Beckham spent four full seasons at the Bernabeu, Owen lasted just one season.
Despite a slow start, Owen managed to score 13 goals in the season even after being benched most of the time. Although he had a good goals per minutes played ratio, the signing of Robinho marked the end of his career in Spain as he returned to England with Newcastle United.
|1||Gareth Bale||Real Madrid||76||43||0.57|
|3||John Aldridge||Real Sociedad||63||33||0.52|
|5||Laurie Cunningham||Real Madrid & Sporting||74||16||0.22|
|6||Alan Campbell||Racing Santander||63||15||0.24|
|7||Michael Owen||Real Madrid||36||13||0.36|
|8||David Beckham||Real Madrid||116||13||0.11|
Stats courtesy of Sky Sports