Winners and the top scorers in Primeira Liga 2023/2024

Last weekend the Portuguese league Primeira Liga played its final round and we do a summary of the season here, looking at the top and the bottom of the league, the best and less best performing teams, and of course the top scorers of the league this season.

Sporting flag

2023/2024 league title to Sporting

The winner of the 2023/2024 Primeira Liga was the Lisbon club Sporting, and they did it quite convincingly, being 10 points ahead of the runner-up. This was Sporting's twentieth league title, the last one being during the "corona season" 2020/2021. They led the league all the way from round 12 to the finish and had already clinched the title with two rounds to go, ending the league with 21 consecutive matches without a loss. With the league title, Sporting also qualifies directly for the UEFA Champions League next season.

Second in the league was the other major Lisbon team, Benfica, and third was Portugal's third big club, Porto. As mentioned, Benfica was far behind Sporting in the table, but they also had a significant margin, eight points, over Porto. By finishing second, Benfica gets the chance to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, while Porto has to settle for playing in the UEFA Europa League.

The teams that were relegated directly were Vizela and Chaves, and Portimonense finished third last, thus still having a chance to stay in the top league through a playoff. However, Portimonense lost the first playoff match against AVS 1-2 last night, but they have a chance to turn it around in the return leg next Sunday.

Clubs that over- and underperformed

In the Portuguese league, it almost always revolves around three clubs: Benfica, Sporting, and Porto. Each season, one of these clubs is expected to win, and they usually finish first, second, and third in the league. Braga is the only club in recent years that has come close to challenging, occasionally breaking into the top three.

Due to the dominance of these three clubs, the one that "overperforms" is usually the one that wins the league, and the one that underperforms is the one that finishes third (or worst case fourth if Braga has a good season). With this in mind, we declare that the club that performed best according to its capabilities was the champion, Sporting. This is not only because they won the league convincingly but also because they came from a rather poor 2022/2023 season where they only finished fourth (a year when Braga managed to slip in and take third). The improvement is therefore very impressive, and Sporting will be interesting to follow next season, provided they can keep most of their key players.

And based on the same premise as the paragraph above, Porto is, of course, the team that underperformed, finishing only third in the league, and doing so with a gap of 18 points to Sporting. However, despite not doing well in the league, Porto performed well in the UEFA Champions League, advancing from the group stage but being knocked out by Arsenal in the round of 16. They also play in the Taça de Portugal final tonight against Sporting, and if they manage to beat the league champions there, Porto's season can hardly be seen as a complete failure.

Viktor Gyökeres celebrating one of his goals
Viktor Gyökeres celebrating one of his goals

Top scorer - Viktor Gyökeres!

The top scorer and golden boot winner in the Portuguese league was the Swedish striker Viktor Gyökeres. He won the title quite comfortably with his 30 goals, nine more than the closest competitor, accounting for 31.3% of all Sporting's goals, and all this during his debut season for the club.

Last season, Gyökeres played in the English EFL Championship for Coventry, scoring 21 goals and providing 10 assists, so he did come with some expectations, but no one could have guessed he would perform as well as he did in his first season. Overall, he scored 43 goals and provided 15 assists in 49 competitive matches this season, an impressive record for a league as good as the Portuguese one. It remains to be seen whether Sporting can keep their fans' new favourite player for next season or if he will be signed by any of the clubs in one of the bigger leagues.

The closest competitor in the top scorer title race was the French-born Congolese Simon Banza, playing for Braga. Banza scored 21 goals, a clear improvement from the previous season when he scored "only" 11 goals. Banza also recorded a notable hat-trick in the 6-1 victory over Portimonense, scoring all three goals in eight minutes at the end of the match. It is also noteworthy that Banza achieved his impressive goal tally despite missing six matches in the middle of the season while representing the Democratic Republic of Congo in the African Cup of Nations in January.

In third place in the top scorer list is the lesser-known Spaniard Rafa Mújica, who plays for Arouca. The 25-year-old, who was schooled in Barcelona B, scored 20 goals, accounting for 37% of his team's goals. However, when looking at the player who scored the highest percentage of his team's goals, we find another Spaniard, Héctor Hernández, who with his 14 goals accounted for 45.2% of bottom-placed Chaves' total goals.
Juan Solamanecer is a freelance writer who writes football articles with great empathy. He writes about topics, clubs and players that interest him and that he finds may interest others. With his base in San Sebastian, he follows the city's pride Real Sociedad extra closely.