Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo left a goal-scoring void in the Spanish league. Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and now Barcelona new-boy Robert Lewandowski are here to fill it. There are others, of course, that could also compete for the title of LaLiga’s top goalscorer across a full season, for which they will receive the Pichichi Trophy. How much do you know about it?
Pichichi: where does the name come from?
First, let’s have a little look at the trophy itself. Known as the Pichichi, it is handed out to the top scorer in league matches at the end of each season and has been running for over 60 years. It is named after a Basque player, Rafael Moreno Aranzadi, who played for Athletic Club de Bilbao from 1911 to 1921 and knew more than most of his era how to find the back of the net. It should be noted that the national league that exists today, LaLiga, began after he retired (1929) so his goal scoring feats were seen in the Copa del Rey and in the Northern and Viscayan league, as well as in international games for Spain. But this doesn’t detract from his achievements.
He played 89 games in the Copa scoring 77 goals and these helped get his team to six finals, four of which they won. The famous San Mames stadium (built in 2013 and the oldest in Spain prior to its destruction and rebuilding in the last few years) saw its first goal from “Pichichi”.
In total the tiny forward - at 153cm/5 feet and 58kg/8 stone he would have been noticeably smaller than Messi today and remember that he played long before the tackle from behind rule and other measures to protect skillful players were introduced - scored 200 goals in 170 matches but his career and life came to a sudden end before he reached the age of 30. He retired from football at 27 after much criticism in his last couple of years at Bilbao. A year later he was diagnosed with the bacterial infection typhus and died soon after. A statue was erected in his honour at the stadium and three decades later the trophy was born.
“But that still doesn’t tell us where “Pichichi” came from,” I hear you cry. Well, it’s quite simple. When Rafael used to play on the streets of his hometown his friends would call him that. The word means, “little duck”.
Pichichi all the winners:
DID YOU KNOWIn La Liga 2014/15 season, the Pichichi (La Liga Golden Boot) race was on fire:
🇦🇷 Leo Messi - 40 Goals 🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo - 39 Goals
the top scorers of each season in La Liga and the Segunda Division in 1953, they named the award after Rafael Moreno Aranzadi. He has a street named after him beside San Mames. There is also a tradition in La Liga for every away team captain, when visiting the stadium for the pic.twitter.com/5JJcH4GYRf