Serie A

Comparing Immobile's penalty total to other Serie A capocannoniere winners

The Italian clinched the title with a huge 14 penalties in his total - but how does that match up to other seasons?

3:25pm on Sunday 2nd August 2020
Paul Macdonald • PAULMACDFC

Ciro Immobile's 36 goals handed him the European Golden shoe, as well as the capocannoniere offered to Serie A top goalscorer.

The big debate around his total, and that of runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo, has been the number of penalties that he has scored and how they have propped up his overall total for the season.

Of Ronaldo's 31 strikes, 12 (38%) have come from the penalty spot, which is a high percentage.

However, when compared against Immobile, his percentage is actually less as 39% of the Italian's goals in the league this season have come from a spot-kick.

Let's look at a comparison a little deeper between the two, focusing on Goals P90 and Non-Pen Goals P90:

Capocannoniere 19/20

PlayerMinsGoalsGoals P90PensNon-Pen Goals P90

Ronaldo has played slightly less minutes than Immobile this season, with both his goals P90 and non-penalty contributions P90 being inferior to the Italian.

But let's look at both men and see how many penalties Capocannoniere winners of the 21st century have needed in order to win the prize:


2001-19 Capocannoniere winners

YearPlayerTeamMinsGoalsPensNP Goals P90
10/11Di NataleUdinese29412850.7
09/10Di NataleUdinese30122960.68
07/08Del PieroJuventus27382130.59

The purists would say that top goalscorer awards should be judged on Non-Penalty Goals P90 over a certain threshold, or even remove penalties from the equation.

In reaching over 30 goals in Serie A, Ronaldo and Immobile have already achieved something special, but it's also clear that that no-one has had as many penalties as this duo, either.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's penalty total of 10 in 2011/12 is the highest of the 21st century, though his non-penalty goal total of 18 is less than Immobile's 22.

Taking penalties out of the equation, Gonzalo Higuain's 29 in 15/16 and Edin Dzeko's 28 in 16/17 are the standout achievements of the era; indeed the latter scored just one penalty on the way to hitting 29 goals in total that particular season.

When we look at non-penalty goals P90, Christian Vieri's 02/03 was stymied by injury but he still put up astonishing numbers, achieving a NPG P90 of 1.05, by far the best record of the 21st century.

In comparison, Ronaldo and Immobile's 0.59 and 0.62 NPG P90 respectively puts them very much in the bottom half of the achievements of capocannoniere winners in recent times.

Other top scorers

In La Liga, Lionel Messi's total of 25 goals was enough to win him the Pichichi award for the fourth year in a row. Five (20%) of these were penalties.

In the Bundesliga, Robert Lewandowski's 34 goals sees him leading the way in the European Golden Shoe race, but only five (14.7%) of his total were from the spot, making his achievements all the more impressive.

In the Premier League Jamie Vardy's 23 goals were enough to clinch the prize, and four of those were penalties.

Should penalties count the same towards a player's total? A penalty is, after all, a goal as much as anything else. But it does lead to an imbalance between the penalty haves, and the penalty have-nots.

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