Valentine’s Day is here again so we have taken our annual look at which pairs of footballers form the best goalscoring partnerships on the pitch.
We have measured this across a range of competitions by calculating the combined goalscoring rate of every pairing per 90 minutes spent together on the pitch during the last three seasons.
Our rankings only allow each player to be in one pair and we have excluded any combination where one player has more than double the other’s goal tally to ensure that we don’t reward attacking relationships which are too one-sided.
We have also ignored any pairing that has spent fewer than 10 matches’ worth of minutes playing together in this period and any that have not set foot on the pitch together in the league this season.
Liverpool’s signing of Diogo Jota is already delivering value for money, as his partnership with Mohamed Salah is the most productive in the Premier League. In the time they have both spent on the pitch for the Reds they have scored at a combined rate of 1.43 goals per 90 minutes. This exceeds the 0.99 goals per 90 minutes from the more established combination of Salah and Sadio Mané, and 0.92 for Salah and Roberto Firmino.
In Spain, Real Madrid’s prolific striker Karim Benzema continues to defy the ageing process and he has had a lot of help from the younger Marco Asensio. Their joint goalscoring rate of 1.15 per 90 minutes in La Liga shades that of Villarreal forwards Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer (1.13).
Luis Muriel and Josip Ilicic have combined for a more impressive goalscoring rate than either of the aforementioned pairings with an electrifying 1.69 goals per 90 minutes in a free-scoring Atalanta side, making theirs the best of the goalscoring partnerships in Serie A.
Over at Milan, the evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic has forged a powerful understanding with Ante Rebic that has also delivered goals at an impressive rate.
In the Bundesliga it is no surprise to see a pair of Bayern Munich players at the top of the list, but it is strange not to see Robert Lewandowski’s name. As the Polish superstar is so prolific, there aren’t many players who can be said to be in a goalscoring partnership with him; his tally dwarfs those of his team-mates. Instead it is Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane with 1.29 goals per 90 minutes that top the charts in the German top flight.
PSG are running away with the Ligue 1 title once again in France and the same is true of the goalscoring bromances table. Neymar and Mauro Icardi have combined at an impressive rate of 1.68 goals per 90 minutes since the start of 2019-20, which is superior to either player’s partnership with Kylian Mbappe. Therefore if Mbappe were to leave Paris at the end of this season it would not completely destabilise his team’s attack.
Over in Belgium, surprise leaders Union SG have been fired to the top of the table by the irrepressible pairing of Denis Undav and Dante Vanzeir. With Undav heading to the Premier League at the end of the current campaign, the club should already be planning to replace their German hot-shot.
With the new MLS season on the horizon, defending champions New York City FC will be hoping that the prolific partnership between Héber and Valentín Castellanos continues to thrive. Their impressive goalscoring rate of 1.58 per 90 minutes is comfortably superior to any other pair of players set to line up together in 2022.
Toronto FC merit a special mention for being the only MLS team with two pairs of players in our top 10 of goalscoring partnerships. Canadian duo Jonathan Osorio and Ayo Akinola have combined for 1.01 goals per 90 minutes while Jozy Altidore and Alejando Pozuelo are not far behind with 0.96.
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