Spain

Who will win the La Liga Golden Boot Battle?

Real Madrid won the title at a canter last season, sparked by the goals of Karim Benzema.

The Frenchman was outstanding in 2021/22, scoring 27 goals, his highest La Liga tally in a single campaign, leading the goal scoring charts and firing Los Blancos the Spanish league crown.

Barcelona, on the other hand, struggled up front without Lionel Messi, and mustered only 68 goals over the course of the term, their lowest tally in 18 years.

The arrival of Robert Lewandowski at Barcelona has promised to liven up the La Liga title race.

Memphis Depay led the way for the Catalan club last season with 13 goals, but it was clear that Barca required a potent striker to close the gap against Madrid in the final third.

The club made the decisive move to grab Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, and the Poland international has been excellent in the early days of the new campaign, firing five goals in his opening four Barca matches.

The race between Lewandowski and Benzema promises to be a tense one that could go down to the wire.

With Barca and Madrid vying for the title, the battle will no doubt swing from one camp to the other as the La Liga season progresses.

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Both players are outstanding operators in the final third, so it should be a fascinating duel that will test the skill and endurance of two players supposedly past the prime years of their careers.

The addition of the World Cup into the middle of the campaign will also provide a challenge, bolstering the schedule with more games and training time in the heat of Qatar before returning to La Liga in December.

We take a look at which of the two players could come out on top in the race for the top goal scorer crown that could also help decide the title race.

Lewandowski was nothing short of sensational for Bayern in his eight years at the club, scoring 344 goals in 375 appearances in all competitions.

He was predatory in front of goal and the most influential factor in his side’s dominance of the Bundesliga.

The Poland international has brought those skills to Barca, where he will hope to be as successful as he was in Munich.

The forward has already shown his instincts in front of goal have not been diminished by bagging five goals in his first four appearances.

On top of that, Lewandowski has already struck up a rapport with fellow new signing Raphinha.

Their partnership, along with the supply from the wide areas and through the middle of the park from Pedri, will be crucial.

Lewandowksi was so successful at Bayern because of his relationships with Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane among others.

If he can enjoy the same cohesion at Barca, he is arguably a more clinical finisher than Benzema, and that could give him the edge in the battle for the goal scorer award.

Benzema was outstanding last season for Madrid.

Although his best performances came in the Champions League, where he scored 15 goals in 12 appearances, including two hat-tricks in victories over Chelsea and Manchester City, the Frenchman was just as effective in La Liga.

In 32 appearances in La Liga he notched 27 goals, his best output in a league campaign.

The 34-year-old has already made a bright start to the new term with three goals in four appearances, continuing his excellent partnership with Vinicius Junior.

The relationship between Benzema and Vinicius has flourished over the last year, with the guile and nous of Benzema working perfectly with the skill and pace of the Brazilian.

They have complemented each other extremely well, perhaps even taking Carlo Ancelotti and the Madrid hierarchy by surprise.

Luka Modric and Toni Kroos continue to pull the strings in the midfield, supplying both players.

Those established partnerships, along with his own skill, hands Benzema a big advantage over Lewandowski.

However, he has already played a lot of football, and had to overcome injury niggles last season to play 46 matches.

The 34-year-old’s fitness might be more important than his finishing in the final this term.