LaLiga Santander’s official 2020-21 season awards have rewarded some stand-out individual performances and achievements, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno and Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak taking the official Pichichi, Zarra and Zamora trophies.
Named after LaLiga legends Rafael "Pichichi" Moreno, Telmo Zarra and Ricardo Zamora, the trophies are awarded each year to the league's top scorer, leading Spanish scorer and best goalkeeper respectively.
Leo Messi, LaLiga Santander’s top scorer… again.
Lionel Messi’s total of 30 LaLiga goals won the Barcelona captain a record eighth Pichichi award.
Messi had a difficult start to the season, scoring just one goal - a penalty - in his first five La Liga games. However, he soon kicked into gear with a double strike against Real Betis in early November, while 12 goals in his first eight games of 2021 saw him take control of the Pichichi race, with No. 30 coming via a rare header against Celta Vigo on the penultimate weekend.
In the end, Messi's phenomenal accuracy and consistency saw him finish well clear of Villarreal's Gerard Moreno (23), Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (23), and his former teammate Luis Suarez, now of Atletico Madrid (21).
Amazingly, Messi has scored at least 23 times in each of the last 13 LaLiga seasons, with his highest total being the all-time record of 50 goals in 2011/12. In total, the 34-year-old has 473 goals in 519 La Liga games, all for Barca.
Gerard Moreno is top scoring Spanish player for the 2nd straight season
Moreno’s 23 goals in 33 games for Villarreal saw the Spain international striker retain the Zarra trophy and was just reward for his continuing excellence in front of goal through the season.
The 29-year-old Catalan scored in both his first two games of the season, and kept finding the net throughout the season, with a highlight being the superb hat-trick at Granada in April. He also fired home in three of the last four games of the season, to set the highest LaLiga tally of his career.
Moreno's previous best total was 18, set when winning the Zarra last season, while he also hit 16 when at former club Espanyol in 2017/18.
Lethal finishing with both feet, and from all types of situations inside the penalty area, saw him build a big lead over the season, with Iago Aspas (Celta) coming in second with 14, then Jose Luis Morales (Levante) and Rafa Mir (Huesca) tied on 13 each. Aspas already has three Zarra trophies (2016/17, 17/18 and 18/19), while 23-year-old Mir looks a potential future winner.
Moreno now has a total of 90 goals in 233 LaLiga games. The 29-year-old looks set to add to his total of five goals in 10 Spain caps at this summer's rescheduled Euro 2020 championships. His phenomenal form over the past few seasons has seen him become the go-to No. 9 for Spain coach Luis Enrique, and with good reason.
A fifth best LaLiga keeper title for Oblak
The race for the Zamora trophy was the closest of the three, with Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois, Sevilla’s Bono and Real Sociedad’s Alex Remiro all appearing in with a chance at different stages of the season.
However, Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak was always a forerunner for the trophy awarded to the keeper with the lowest "goals-to-games" ratio over the season. Conceding just twice over the first nine LaLiga games was an excellent start, and the Slovenian continued to show outstanding reflexes and reading of the game as he kept 18 clean sheets while conceding just 25 goals over the 38 games. Saving three of the four penalties faced over the season was also crucial in Atletico’s title victory.
Two-time Zamora winner Courtois made the biggest challenge, with 28 goals conceded in 37 games. But in the end the decision was clear - and Oblak has won his fifth Zamora, joining former Barcelona keepers Antoni Ramallets and Victor Valdes as those who have won the prized trophy on the most occasions in history. Given he is just 28 years of age, few would back against him adding more to that tally over the coming seasons.