Finding the mark: the 2023-24 RSL top-five goalscorers

The Roshn Saudi League has never seen a race for the Golden Boot quite like the one we witnessed this season.

Not only did Cristiano Ronaldo break the single-season goalscoring record with 35 goals, surpassing by one the mark set by Abderrazak Hamdallah in the 2018-19 campaign, but the top five goalscorers this season combined for the most goals in RSL history.

The previous record was also set in the 2018-19 season, with the lead five marksmen hitting 115 goals together.

However, that was eclipsed this year with Ronaldo, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Hamdallah, Fashion Sakala and Firas Al Buraikan combining for a record 118 goals.

Here is a look at this season’s record-breaking top five.

Cristiano Ronaldo - 35 goals

While he had more matches in which to do it, with the season now 34 matches rather than 30, as it was when Hamdallah set the record back in 2018-19, that doesn’t make Ronaldo’s feat any less spectacular.

The Portuguese legend had a quite exceptional season for Al Nassr, who were beaten to the title only by an almost-flawless Al Hilal. And, what makes Ronaldo’s performances this season all the more remarkable, were his 11 assists to go along with the goals.

In a team that broke the magical 100-goal barrier it means the evergreen 39-year-old directly had a hand in nearly exactly half of all Al Nassr’s goals this season.

Having developed a fearsome strike partnership with Anderson Talisca, who he lost for the backend of the season through injury, the former Real Madrid superstar more than lifted his game to fill the void, with three of his four hat-tricks coming in the final third of the season.

Aleksandar Mitrovic - 28 goals

Al Hilal had to fight to sign the Serbian superstar from Fulham, but he was worth every penny in his debut season in the RSL.

Were it not for an untimely injury towards the tail end of the campaign, that saw him sidelined for three matches, Mitrovic would almost certainly have also broken the 30-goal barrier given he was scoring at a rate of a goal every game - 28 in 28 matches.

His goals also came at clutch times as well. Think of the hat-trick against Al Ittihad in Matchweek 5 that saw Al Hilal come back to win 4-3, or his stoppage-time brace against Al Nassr as Al Hilal won 3-0 to extend the gap between the two sides when the title race was still on the line.

Having once scored 43 goals in a single season for Fulham, Mitrovic failed to score in only six games this season. At one stage, he went on a run of finding the net in 11 straight games.

Abderrazak Hamdallah - 19 goals

The Moroccan star further entrenched his legend status within the RSL with another stellar season for Al Ittihad, despite their disappointing title defence.

Across six seasons with both Al Nassr and Al Ittihad, Hamdallah’s consistency has been his trademark, registering double figures in every campaign in which he’s played. This season’s tally of 19 came on the back of his Golden Boot-winning 21 last time out as Al Ittihad were crowned champions.

And, as the Jeddah club hit a difficult patch mid-season, he was the player driving the team forward and keeping them in contention. Across a period of seven matches, before and after the mid-season break, Hamdallah scored 10 times to underline his importance to the defending champions.

While he might be turning 34 later this year, as Ronaldo has shown, age is just a number. Clearly, for as long as he continues to score, Hamdallah will be an asset to any team.

Fashion Sakala - 19 goals

The Zambian international was a revelation for mid-table Al Fayha this season, with his 19 goals also his best single-season return in a near-decade long career.

Signing from Scottish giants Rangers last summer, the 27-year-old took a little while to find his feet, with one goal in his opening four matches - coming against Al Okhdood in October.

However, returning from the mid-season break, where he played for Zambia at the Africa Cup of Nations, he was a different player, scoring 12 of his 19 goals after the resumption of the league. That impressive run included scoring in each of the seven games in which he played to earn his place as Al Fayha's best single-season scorer in their RSL history.

Firas Al Buraikan - 17 goals

The 24-year-old once again finished the season as the leading Saudi Arabian striker in the RSL after another superb campaign.

Al Buraikan began the season on fire for Al Fateh, with four goals in his first five matches, which attracted the attention of Matthias Jaissle at Al Ahli. The German, whose side were on the receiving end of a 5-1 defeat to Al Fateh in Matchweek 5, saw enough to quickly swoop for Al Buraikan in September.

The move more than paid dividends, with another 13 goals for the Jeddah giants taking his season tally to 17 - matching his efforts last season.

Like Ronaldo, it wasn’t just goals Al Buraikan contributed, but assists; his eight combining for a total of 25 goal contributions, a tally bettered only this season by Ronaldo and Mitrovic.

In a league dominated by foreign attacking talent, Al Buraikan’s is a star that continues to shine bright.