Real Madrid champions and Dovbyk top scorer in La Liga 2023/2024

This weekend saw a very uneventful final round in Spanish La Liga. The reason it can be called uneventful is that all the top positions in the league had already been decided, and it was also clear which three teams were relegated to the Segunda División for next season.

Real Madrid flag

Champions - Real Madrid!

La Liga champions for the 2023/2024 season were, unsurprisingly, Real Madrid, and they secured the title in dominant fashion. With four rounds to go, Real had already clinched the league title and officially became champions after beating Cádiz 3-0 and Barcelona losing the Catalonia derby to Girona 2-4 a few hours later. They amassed a total of 95 points, the highest tally since Barcelona accumulated 100 points in the 2012/2013 season.

A major reason for Real Madrid's success this season was their extremely successful signing of the Englishman Jude Bellingham, who replaced Real's departed star Karim Benzema in the best possible way. Bellingham scored a total of 19 goals and provided 6 assists in the league, and it's worth noting that he is an attacking midfielder and not a forward.

As the icing on the cake, Real Madrid is also in the Champions League final where they will face Borussia Dortmund. The final is set for this Saturday, and Real has the chance to win their eighth Champions League title in the 2000s and their fifteenth overall.

Barcelona finished second in the league, ultimately 10 points behind Real, and surprisingly to most people, Girona finished third. Atlético Madrid secured fourth place, and all these teams will play in the Champions League next season.

Granada, Cádiz, and Almeria finished in the bottom three of the league and will play in the Segunda División next season.

Best and worst performing teams

Even though Real Madrid were the clear winners, and rightfully should be praised for it, another team stood out this season based on their expectations. In the 2021/2022 season, Girona played in the Segunda División and got promoted to La Liga through the playoffs. Last season, they finished in a very respectable tenth place. Coming into this season, not many expected Girona to even finish in the top half of the table, so their third-place finish in the league is almost sensational.

Several players have performed well above expectations this season for Girona, but there are three players we want to highlight in particular. The first is the Ukrainian Artem Dovbyk, who was signed from SK Dnipro-1 for 7.75 million euros before the season, and in his debut season, the 26-year-old scored 24 goals, enough to win the top scorer title (more on that later). The second player is midfielder Aleix García. Few knew who this Spaniard was before the season started, but he has gone from strength to strength, earning him a spot in Spain's preliminary squad for the European Championship this summer. The third player to highlight is the Brazilian Sávio, who has a similar story to García. The previously unknown Brazilian was loaned in from French club Troyes and has made a huge impact in La Liga this season. The 20-year-old scored nine goals and provided ten assists in the league, and his performances earned him a debut for Brazil's national team in a friendly against England in March earlier this year.

So which teams were a disappointment? There weren't any teams that drastically underperformed, but for a team like Barcelona, to go an entire season without a single title and finish 10 points behind their biggest rival Real in the league, is certainly not acceptable. Additionally, losing both El Clásico matches and twice to the Catalonian rival Girona with a score of 2-4 stings quite a bit for Barcelona supporters.

Artem Dovbyk - here playing for the Ukrainian national team
Artem Dovbyk - here playing for the Ukrainian national team

Pichichi prize winner - Artem Dovbyk

As already mentioned, the Ukrainian and Girona's Artem Dovbyk won the top scorer title, which is named the Pichichi prize in Spain. This was of course a bit surprising, even though we did mention him as one of the candidates in our pre-season predictions. Dovbyk scored a total of 24 goals and provided 8 assists, finishing the season strongly with 10 goals in the last nine matches, including a hat-trick in the final match against Granada (and another against Sevilla earlier in the season).

Notably, Dovbyk also won the top scorer title in Ukraine the previous season, giving him two consecutive top scorer titles in two different leagues, something that will likely put him on the radar of several big clubs during the summer transfer window. Watch out for him in this summer's European Championship as well, where Ukraine has qualified.

Dovbyk was a surprising winner, but perhaps the second-place finisher was even more surprising. Norwegian Alexander Sørloth scored 23 goals for Villarreal, accounting for 35.4% of the team's total goals. While Sørloth did win the top scorer title in the Turkish Süper Lig in the 2019/2020 season, he had a few less successful years at RB Leipzig and Real Sociedad before seemingly finding his place in his new team now. His most notable performance was scoring four goals in a 4-4 draw against Real Madrid in the penultimate round; few players in history can boast of scoring four goals in a single match against Real Madrid.

Halfway through the season, Jude Bellingham led the top scorer chart with 13 goals. While he continued to perform well for Real, his goal-scoring pace slowed down, and he finished with a total of 19 goals, enough to share the third spot in the top scorer list with Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski.

Bellingham, being 20 years old, was also the youngest player among the top ten goal scorers. The player with the highest percentage of his team's goals was Croatian Ante Budimir, who scored 17 goals, accounting for 37.8% of all Osasuna's goals.
Kano Kluckfors speaks Thai but now lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Kano knows most things about the sport of football and likes to write about it. The number one team is Arsenal, a passion founded during the years he lived in London.