Who are the Best Attacking Football Teams in Europe?

The most important thing in football is, of course, to score more goals than the opposition. But which teams have scored the most goals this season, in the five major European leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France)? Let's take a look - there will be expected teams, but also possibly a surprise.

1. Real Madrid - 111 Goals

In his personal duel with Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, who turned 30 this season, hit new heights. His barely-believable 45 goals from 34 appearances (1.32 goals per game) carried Real through some fallow patches, and though we take for granted that we will always have players like Ronaldo to enjoy, in fact this is an unrepeatable moment in history, with two superb players at their peaks.

Karim Benzema weighed in with a respectable return of 15 goals, while also being marked closely, while Gareth Bale, in a season he would rather forget due to the unkindness of home fans, still scored 13. Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti has allowed its Galacticos time and space to attack in free roles, backed-up by hard work further back from the likes of Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos, and this is the result.

2. Barcelona - 108 Goals

Looking at the list of Barcelona's league goalscorers, the three people you would expect are way out in front. Lionel Messi has 41 goals, the kind of extraordinary figure we're perhaps becoming unnecessarily used to. From his 36 league starts, that's 1.14 goals per game.

Neymar has 22 goals, which would be a leading figure for almost any club in Europe. As it is, though, some critics have argued that the Brazilian is not up to the level of his hype. That's true, but he is also in the shadow of the world's greatest footballer.

Luis Suarez has "only" 16 goals - although the Uruguayan is traditionally a slow starter at new clubs, and can be expected to score closer to 30 goals if fully-fit next season. The next-best scorer is Pedro, who has had limited chances to impress and has six goals.

If you took Messi, Neymar and Suarez out of the Barcelona side, it's unlikely Barca would have won the league. The true measure of Luis Enrique as a coach will be how he manages these three delicate egos.

3. Manchester City - 81 Goals

For Manchester City to not win the Premier League after scoring 81 goals, it gives you an idea how dominant Chelsea were. Jose Mourinho's more defensively-minded team had a more settled defense, meaning they conceded fewer goals, putting less pressure on attackers to produce the goods.

Nonetheless, City were impressive, at least going forward, this season. Manuel Pellegrini is still overly-reliant on Sergio Aguero for goals, with the Argentine striker scoring 25 this term. When he is injured - which happens often - City struggle for goals.

Fellow strikers Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko scored 5 and 4 respectively, with David Silva (12) and an off-color Yaya Toure (10 even in a bad season) contributing more. Whoever the manager of City is next season, one would expect a striker to be at the top of his shopping list, the goal return this season notwithstanding.

4. Paris Saint Germain - 80 Goals

Paris Saint Germain looked in trouble earlier in the season, with Marcelo Bielsa's Marseille and a revived Lyon team setting the pace in France. Laurent Blanc has coaxed better performances out of his side since then, and although European success still looks beyond the Qatari-owned club, domestically they are almost untouchable.

Unlike other sides in this review, PSG shared goals out between two very effective attackers. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish genius, has taken 19 goals at the spearhead of the team, while Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, although dispatched to the wing to make room for Ibrahimovic, has 16 goals to date. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura have brought 8 and 7 goals respectively.

Surprisingly for such an expensively-assembled team, PSG share responsibilities through the side, rather than, like City, allowing one star player to be the focal point for all play. Blaise Matuidi, Thiago Motta and Italian ball-playing midfielder Marco Verratti offer excellent service behind the frontmen.

The other reason for PSG racking up so many league goals is probably the poor quality of Ligue 1 defending, relative to Europe's very best leagues.

picture courtesy of insidespanishfootball.com

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