The closest Pichichi race in years: Bellingham, Dovbyk and Budimir are level on 16 goals

With just eight rounds of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS season to go, the race to be crowned the top goalscorer of the competition is wide open. There is now a three-way tie at the top of the standings for this season’s Pichichi Trophy, the prize given to the top scorer, as Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham, Girona FC’s Artem Dovbyk and CA Osasuna’s Ante Budimir have netted 16 goals each.

This is the closest the Pichichi race has been at this stage of the season in over two decades. Not since the 2001/02 season has there been a three-way tie at the top of this ranking this late into the campaign, back when FC Barcelona’s Justin Kluivert, RC Celta’s Catanha and Real Madrid’s Fernando Morientes were also level on 16 goals apiece, in their case at the end of Matchday 31. Curiously, not one of those players lifted the prestigious individual trophy, as Deportivo de La Coruña’s Diego Tristán produced a late surge to take the honour.

A similar situation could also arise in 2023/24, as the leading trio are being closely pursued by several other forwards. Getafe CF’s Borja Mayoral has 15 goals, although a serious injury means he isn’t able to add to that. Then comes Atlético de Madrid’s Álvaro Morata on 14 goals, having had one matchday fewer, while Athletic Club’s Gorka Guruzeta, Villarreal CF’s Alexander Sørloth and FC Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski, who won the trophy last term, are all on 13 goals.

It truly is a fascinating race and victory for anyone besides Lewandowski would be a first ever Pichichi Trophy for the player. Should Dovbyk or Budimir take the honour, it would be a maiden Pichichi Trophy for Girona FC or for CA Osasuna. Furthermore, no Englishman, Ukrainian or Croatian has ever won the prize before, so it would be a historic triumph in this sense too.

There is a long way to go in this race, and it’s so difficult to predict who the winner will be. Bellingham, in his first Spanish season, has been either first or joint-first since scoring on his Real Madrid debut back on Matchday 1, but the Englishman hasn’t found the back of the net since Matchday 24 and knows he needs to increase his tally further to have a chance.

The cases of Dovbyk and Budimir are different, as both players have momentum and were on the scoresheet in Matchday 30. The Ukrainian striker scored twice in Girona FC’s 3-2 victory over Real Betis, while the Croatia international found the back of the net once in CA Osasuna’s 3-0 win at UD Almería. Budimir in particular is known for having strong finishes, as 67 percent of the 55 LALIGA EA SPORTS goals he has scored in his career have come in the second halves of seasons.

Not forgetting the other contenders who are just one or two goals behind, and keeping in mind the precedent of Diego Tristán, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will win the Pichichi Trophy for 2023/24. All that’s certain is that football fans are set for eight fascinating weeks of action as the best finishers in the country give their all to become the latest top goalscorer of LALIGA EA SPORTS.

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