Hamdallah, Ighalo and Talisca lead an exciting chase to become Roshn Saudi League’s top scorer
As thrilling as the race for the Roshn Saudi League title will be over the next few weeks, the race to see who claims the Golden Boot will be just as hotly contested.
Courtesy of his goal against Al Taawoun recently, Al Ittihad’s Abderrazak Hamdallah tops the scoring charts with 19. Al Hilal’s Odion Ighalo (18) and Al Nassr’s Anderson Talisca (16) are hot on his heels.
Ighalo is chasing back-to-back Golden Boot accolades after finishing last season as the league’s top scorer, with 24.
But it’s the Morocco international, Hamdallah, who helped the Atlas Lions reach the semi-finals at last year’s FIFA World Cup, that leads the pack at the moment.
The 32-year-old, who played for Al Nassr before switching to Al Ittihad midway through the 2021/22 season, has twice previously won the Golden Boot.
He broke the single-season goal scoring record in 2018/19 when he found the back of the net 34 times, and backed it up 12 months later with another 29 goals to claim the Golden Boot for the 2019/20 season as well.
While winning the league with Al Ittihad remains his primary focus, the allure of adding a third Golden Boot accolade and etching his name into the record books would be very real.
In the more than 40-year history of Saudi Arabia’s top flight, dating back to the late 1970s, only three players have managed to win three or more Golden Boot awards; each a legendary name in Saudi football.
Majed Abdullah is regarded as one of Saudi Arabia’s finest ever footballers at both club and international level, playing in a golden era for Al Nassr, helping them to four league titles while managing to win six Golden Boot awards himself along the way.
In the modern era, few Saudi strikers have struck fear into their opponents more than Nasser Al Shamrani. Across a glittering career, mostly with both Al Shabab and Al Hilal, the former Asian Player of the Year bagged more than 300 goals and won the Golden Boot on five occasions, the last of which came in the 2013/14 season.
The following season, in 2014/15, a new superstar emerged in the shape of Syria striker Omar Al Somah, who arrived at Al Ahli fresh from being the leading scorer in Kuwait.
His 22 goals that season earned him the first of three-consecutive Golden Boot awards, a feat matched only by Abdullah.
That is the company in which Hamdallah will join if he is able to add a third of his own this season. If he does so, he will also likely break into the top-five all-time leading scorers in Saudi Pro League, needing just four more goals to draw level with Saudi Arabia great Yasser Al Qahtani on 112 goals.
With only five games remaining, it is all to play for.