Johannesburg - Former Barcelona and Cameroon star Samuel Eto’o tops the list of 23 African La Liga goal scorers.
The prolific international player is one of many Africans to have made their goal scoring mark in the Spanish league over the years, and the links between Spanish football and the continent grow stronger by the day.
Eto’o tops the list of the best African scorers, while former Sevilla and Mali striker Frédéric Kanouté - now an official La Liga ambassador - is in the second spot. Nigeria and 1990s SD Compostela forward Christopher Ohen is in third position.
A total of 23 players of 23 different nationalities have found the net in La Liga over the years. The first was pioneer Alhaji Momodo Njie, more commonly known as Biri Biri, at Sevilla in the 1970s.
The connection between Africa and La Liga looks set to continue for a long time, with young Kenyan international Michael Olunga being the latest to open his goal-scoring account with Girona during the 2017/18 season.
Top 10 African La Liga goal-scorers:
- Samuel Eto’o from Cameroon (162): Real Madrid, Real Mallorca and Barcelona
Eto’o scored 162 goals - 108 in 144 appearances for Barcelona and 54 in 128 appearances for Real Mallorca.
The former Cameroon national soccer team captain, who started his career in Real Madrid’s youth system, won three La Liga titles during his time at Camp Nou - in the 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2008/09 seasons. He also won the award for being the top goal scorer in the 2005/06 season, with 26 goals.
- Frédéric Kanouté from Mali (89): Sevilla
Kanouté became a hero at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium during his seven seasons as a Sevilla player when he scored 89 goals in 209 La Liga appearances.
The former Mali striker’s best season was in 2006/07, when he found the net 21 times in 32 games in the competition as Sevilla challenged all season for the league title before eventually finishing third.
- Christopher Ohen from Nigeria (48): SD Compostela
Ohen came through the youth ranks at Real Madrid, playing for their Castilla reserve team before joining the second-tier SD Compostela in 1991.
An immediate hit with the Galicians, he helped them to promotion three years later, before hitting 48 goals in 117 games during four seasons in the top flight. He remains Compostela’s record goal scorer in La Liga.
- Youssef El Arabi from Morocco (43): Granada
El Arabi joined newly promoted Granada from Saudi Arabian side al-Hilal in 2012. He quickly settled in as a key member of the team, spending four seasons in the La Liga.
The Morocco international’s 43 goals in 130 games included hat-tricks against Málaga and Levante, and a fine strike against Real Madrid in his final season at the club.
- Valdo from Cape Verde (34): Real Madrid, Osasuna, Espanyol, Málaga, Levante and Racing Club
Valmiro Lopes Rocha, known as Valdo, is another former Real Madrid youth team member who scored 19 times in five seasons at Osasuna between 2002 and 2007.
The twice capped Cape Verde international also represented Espanyol, Málaga, Levante and Racing Club as an attacking midfielder. Now 37, he is still turning out for Peña Sport in Spain’s third tier.
- Rodolfo Bodipo from Equatorial Guinea (33): Racing Santander, Alavés and Deportivo
Seville-born Bodipo forged a long and successful career as a centre-forward for six different Spanish sides.
The Equatorial Guinea international starred particularly at Racing Santander with 16 goals in the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons, while his famous header for Deportivo in a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou in 2009 is also well remembered.
- Cedric Bakambu from DR Congo: Villarreal
He was a firm favourite with Villarreal’s fans during his two-and-a-half seasons at the club. In that time, he scored 31 times in 75 La Liga appearances.
A hat-trick against Eibar in October last year saw the pacey centre-forward become the first African winner of the La Liga player of the month award.
- Manucho Gonçalves from Angola (24): Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano
A powerful centre-forward, Gonçalves landed in La Liga after joining Real Valladolid from Manchester United in 2008. He is most remembered for his brace against Real Madrid in December 2012.
He joined Rayo Vallecano in 2014, where he is a La Liga cult hero at the age of 35.
- Mohamed Tchité from Burundi (24): Racing Club
Tchité racked up three excellent La Liga campaigns with Racing Club, scoring 11 goals in his final season in 2009/10.
A double strike from the Burundi international against neighbours Sporting Gijón on the final day of the 2009/10 season, which saved his side from relegation, will live for a long time in the memory of football fans in Santander.
- Sofiane Feghouli from Algeria (22): Almeria and Valencia
After an initial year on loan at Almeria, Feghouli became a key member of the Valencia team during four seasons in the first team at Mestalla Stadium.
The attacking midfielder’s best campaign was in 2013/14, when his performances won him an award for the best African player in La Liga.