Five of the best foreign forward signings in La Liga history

Former Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan

La Liga has seen some the world’s best forwards grace the league with the likes of Lionel Messi, Raul and David Villa all coming through the ranks to score incredible amounts of goals.

Tuesday marked the anniversary of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez’s signings as Real Madrid and Barcelona players respectively, and to honour this we have compiled a list of five of the other best foreign forwards to have played in La Liga…

Honourable mentions

It was difficult to list only five forwards who have made an impact in the Primera Division over the last 40 years, with the likes of Cameroonian legend Samuel Eto’o, Davor Suker, Gonzalo Higuain and the aforementioned CR7 and Suarez, who we have chosen not to include in this list, all being clinical marksmen for their respective teams.

1. Karim Benzema

Benzema’s time at Real Madrid has come to an end after his move to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad in early June. Before then the Frenchman had signed with Los Blancos in 2009 from French side Lyon, with a total of 238 goals in 439 La Liga appearances placing him fourth overall in the league’s top scorers ranking. An all time Madrid legend.

2. Hugo Sanchez

Another Madrid legend, but with Atletico and Real, Mexican forward Sanchez notched up 169 goals and five Trofeo Pichichi [golden boot winner] awards in six seasons between 1984 to 1990. The one season he failed to claim the golden boot in 1988-89, Sanchez still scored 27 goals as he finished the season only behind Atletico Madrid’s Baltazar. Fifth on La Liga’s all-time goalscorers list, with Sanchez only recently being overtaken by Karim Benzema.

3. Neymar

More known for his trickery and flair than his goalscoring, there was much fanfare for Neymar when he arrived at the Camp Nou at the start of the 2013/14 season. Fast forward to 2017 and his four year stint at Barcelona, which hailed 68 goals in 123 appearances, came to an end as he completed a world record transfer to Paris Saint Germain. During his time at the Blaugrana, the Brazilian was about of one the most iconic front threes in football history alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi which achieved great success, including the treble in 2014/15.

4. Diego Forlan

Twice a Trofeo Pichichi winner, the Uruguayan forward had an outstanding strike rate at first Villarreal, with 54 goals in 106 appearances, then Atletico Madrid, with 74 strikes in 134 games. The final golden boot winner in La Liga before the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominance back in 2008/09, Forlan led Atletico to Europa League success in 2010 before transferring to Inter Milan that summer. Whilst he may only be tied 40th on the all-time list with 128 goals, Forlan’s eight year spell in the Spanish top-flight showed the devastating he had for both the sides he represented.

5. Ronaldo

Arguably one of the best players of all-time, O Fenômeno may be below most of the players on this list, with 117 goals to his name, his strike rate is what makes him more impressive. 0.71 goals a game, with only 164 La Liga appearances to his name, it is one of the best in the history of the division. What could have been had it not been for the devastating injuries that the Brazilian suffered during his career.

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