The Players Who Marked the Calendar Year: Top 10 Goalscorers of 2023

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 31. siječnja 2024.     Updated: 2. veljače 2024.

Football is and will always be divided into seasons. Yet over the past several years, following players’ outputs in a calendar-year frame has become increasingly important. So much so that even top-notch players bring it up themselves. The top 10 goalscorers of 2023 are measured with league, cup, and international matches all being counted equally.

Additionally, it’s a metric where - across the board - and unlike in the Golden Boot award, the differences in league quality are given less importance. Yet we are looking at only the 15 best leagues in the world officially, with the addition of the Saudi Arabia league. As the quality of players there simply can’t be overlooked.

With 2023 being in particularly interesting as it started immediately after a World Cup.

#10 Mauro Icardi (Galatasaray) 36 goals

Mauro Icardi

Unlike the rest of the players on this list, Mauro Icardi managed to grab his spot amongst 2023's best goalscorers without even competing for his country. The Argentinian did all of his scoring for Galatasary, with 31 goals in the Turkish Superlig. Icardi also bagged two Champions League goals, but also three in the CL qualifiers! Icardi got a cup goal too, getting his total tally to 37 goals in 2023.

#9 Vangelis Pavlidis (AZ Alkmaar & Greece) - 36 goals

One of the two goalscorers who did most of their work in the Dutch Eredivisie, with Vangelis Pavlidis scoring 27 total across two half-seasons. Getting nine in the business end of the 2022/2023 campaign, and double that in the autumn half-season. Additionally, the striker scored two cup goals for AZ, and seven goals in the Europa Conference League. The 25-year-old did play nine times for Greece across 2023, but failed to net a goal.

#8 Mo Salah (Liverpool & Egypt) - 36 goals

Mo Salahxxx

It's not surprising that one of the best goalscorers of the last decade and one of the best wingers is amongst the top 10 goalscorers of 2023. Although, he did do it during half of a disappointing 2022/2023 season for Liverpool. Salah scored six goals for his nation, 24 in two half seasons of Premier League football, alongside two cup goals, one Champions League goal, and three in the Europa League.

#7 Lautaro Martinez (Inter & Argentina) - 37 goals

Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez seemingly reached his potential at the age of 26, recording his best sharpshooting numbers ever. The Argentinian was bolstered by the World Cup triumph heading into 2023, where he spearheaded Inter's unexpected run to the Champions League final. Albeit with only two goals, an output he repeated in the consequent season's group stage.

Serie A was El Toro's main hunting ground, getting 14 goals in the winter/spring outing, and 15 in the summer/autumn. Alongside one Supercopa goal, and three in the regularl Italian Cup, Lautaro was prolific for Inter. So much so that he made the list of 2023's top goalscorers without netting once for Argentina! Despite playing in eight games, although he played just one in its entirety.

#6 Santiago Gimenez (Feyenoord & Mexico) - 40 goals

Santiago Giménez - 2023.jpg
By Selección Nacional de México, CC BY 3.0, Link

One of the players that marked the 2023 year was certainly Santiago Gimenez. A breakout star, only 22 years of age, Gimenez shined for Feyenoord. Especially in the Eredivisie where he collected 32 goals across 2023! Gimenez scored one Europa League goal, two in the Champions League next season, and three Dutch Cup goals as well. While Gimenez had a disappointing year with Mexico, playing in 14 games but only scoring twice, and against usually weaker opponents. Still, it's more than enough to have him as one of the top goalscorers of 2023.

#5 Romelu Lukaku (Inter/Roma & Belgium) - 40 goals

Romelu Lukaku

While his career has seemingly taken a considerable downturn, Romelu Lukaku had a resurgence in 2023. Mostly because of his continually impressive outings for Belgium, where he scored 14 goals in the Euro qualifiers, including a hat-trick against Sweden, and a poker against Azerbaijan.

Lukaku also represented two clubs in 2023, firstly Inter, where he scored two Champions League goals in the run to the finals. With nine Serie A goals too, five of them coming in the last five matches he played. Lukaku also scored one Italian Cup goal for Inter.

After reuniting with Jose Mourinho at Roma, Lukaku bagged nine Serie A goals too, and five in the Europa League group stages. Proving that he can work in the right formation and that he was one of the best loans of the summer 2023.

#4 Erling Haaland (Manchester City & Norway) - 50 goals

Erling Haaland

It's perhaps surprising that Erling Haaland isn't topping the list of 2023's top goalscorers, as he is the unanimous best striker of the year. Yet he did slow down a bit due to injuries in the first part of the 2023/2024 season. However, his efforts in the Premier League don't differ that much, 15 goals in the second part of the title-winning 2022/2023 season, and just one fewer in the rest of 2023. A total of 29.

With Erling scoring seven goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League-winning run, and then five in the group stages of the new season. With three FA Cup goals, that's all of his marks on the City's memorable 2023. Haaland also scored six times with Norway, meaning his club tally is the same as that of the next man on the list.

#3 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain & France) - 53 goals

Kylian Mbappe

For Kylian Mbappe to come into 2023 after a kick in the teeth that was the 2022 World Cup final thriller defeat to Argentina, and still continue his goalscoring tirade - it's a vital display of his determination. Especially as after the World Cup, PSG faced another disappointing Champions League outing.

Representing France, Mbappe scored 10 goals, including four total against the Netherlands. The French Cup saw Mbappe shine once but blindly, with five goals in a single outing. However, Kylian disappointed a bit with his eight outings in the Champions League, scoring only three times. Ligue 1 was his bread and butter, scoring 34 goals in the French top flight.

Mbappe was close to repeating his success from 2022 when he was the calendar king with 56 goals scored.

#2 Harry Kane (Tottenham/Bayern Munich & England) - 53 goals

Harry Kane

When looking at club games only, Harry Kane is the best goalscorer of 2023. He also did it while representing two clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich. On the basis of league difficulties, he gets the slight nod ahead of Mbappe.

Not that Kane barely scored for England though, he did so nine times, and only once in a friendly. All the rest came in the successful qualifiers.

Kane bagged 18 goals in his last calendar year with THFC, 17 in the Premier League, and one in the FA Cup. But he took the Bundesliga by storm with 21 goals in the first part of the 2023/2024 season, and helped with four Champions League goals for the Bavarians.

Harry Kane managed to get the unofficial calendar golden boot once in his career, back in 2017 when he scored 56 goals.

#1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr & Portugal) - 54 goals

Cristiano Ronaldo

By far the oldest of the top goalscorers in 2023, aged 38. Still, Cristiano Ronaldo is as hungry for goals as ever. It's easy to see that with every celebration the record-holder for most international goals ever finishes his goals. Topping the 2023 calendar race is another record the eternal legend has conquered.

This is the fourth time Cristiano has topped the calendar year scoring in his career, after doing so in 2015 (57 goals), 2014 (61 goals), 2013 (69 goals), and 2011 (60 goals).

In 2023, CR7 scored 10 goals for Portugal in the Euro qualifiers and scored 34 goals in the Saudi league across two seasons. He bagged only three goals in the Asian Champions League and a single goal in the Saudi King's Cup. What gave thim the win in 2023 was Al-Nassr's participation in the Arab Club Champions Cup where he scored six goals.



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