Five great La Liga strike duos after Atletico attackers Gameiro and Griezmann get France nod
Britain isn’t the only nation that appreciates a great strike partnership in its football teams, as Spain has also shown in modern times.
The latest dynamic and deadly duo up top on the cusp of true greatness in La Liga is France forward pair Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann at Atletico Madrid.
With nine league goals between them prior to the October international break, Les Bleus boss Dider Deschamps thought to pair Gameiro and Griezmann for club as well as country. Both grabbed goals in France jerseys against Belarus.
These recent exploits from Gameiro and Griezmann, 23/10 to score two or more in Atleti’s next game against Granada, got Coral football experts thinking. In modern times, what other great La Liga strike duos took Spanish football by storm?
As Barcelona play almost always with a front three and we’re interested in partners, there’s no mention of the Nou Camp in this piece. Why not take a trip down memory lane with these five prolific pairings…
Raul Gonzalez and Fernando Morientes (1997-2003)
It’s no surprise that we start with Real Madrid and Bernabeu icon Raul, plus partner in crime Morientes. At the height of their powers, this deadly duo hit 44 league goals between them.
That is close to their average in all competitions (43.5) over six sensational seasons in the capital as regular partners.
Ronaldo, ‘the Phenomenon’ of Brazil, arriving in 2002 did rather break up this partnership, but not before it produced some frightening stats…
A combined total of 261 goals (170 in the league) prior to Morientes’ loan to Monaco yielded three Champions League crowns and a brace of La Liga successes.
Reunited in 2004/05, the magic simply wasn’t there anymore, but legendary Los Blancos was already assured for Raul if not necessarily Morientes.
Roy Makaay and Diego Tristan (2000-03)
Deportivo La Coruna’s ground A Riazor might sound like the Spanish equivalent of Gillette, but fearsome front two Makaay and Tristan truly were the best a man could get in La Liga.
Netherlands frontman Makaay fired Deportivo to Spanish top-flight glory before Tristan even arrived from Mallorca. Together, they were even better.
Taking the Galician club deep into the Champions League, they also fired Deportivo to Copa del Rey success in 2001/02.
In their three seasons together, Makaay and Tristan netted 106 league goals between them, and 144 across all competitions.
A Riazor was a frightening provincial fortress of Spanish football, the like of which Galician rivals Celta Vigo have tried to replicate with only some success since.
Nihat Kahveci and Darko Kovaceivc (2002-06)
Nifty Nihat of Turkey and Euro 2008 fame and rangy old Yugoslavia/Serbia striker Kovaceic proved a cult pairing with Basque Country club Real Sociedad.
Like Makaay and Tristan above, this may be one dynamic duo that evokes more than a few memories with older punters.
Kovacevic had two stints in San Sebastian (1996-99 and 2001-07), but his second spell saw cunning Kahveci compliment him so well.
A combined league tally of 43 from them fired Sociedad to runners-up spot in La Liga behind Real Madrid in 2002/03. Nihat and Kovacevic saw their defensive colleagues let them down, as the Royal Blues ended up just two points short of Los Blancos.
Nihat grabbed the Don Balon Award for best foreign player in Spanish football as consolation, and that put him in esteemed company like Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane from the Bernabeu.
Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute (2006-11)
Javier Saviola initially blocked buffering Brazil frontman Fabiano and clever ex-West Ham United and Tottenham poacher Kanoute from clicking together, but once Sevilla set them loose there was no turning back.
An average of 29.2 La Liga goals in each of their five full seasons together at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan doesn’t sound impressive in this exalted company, but it proved enough to get the Anadlusian side into Europe every year.
It was often in cup and continental competitions where Sevilla starred during this excellent era. To go with two consecutive old UEFA Cups, the Bathtubs also added Copa del Rey successes in 2007 and 2010.
No dropping off for these two. Working in tandem, opposition defences were tirelessly harassed to the tune of shipping 220 total goals courtesy of Fabiano and Kanoute.
Boasting an all competitions average of 44 per season, the South American and African axis on show at Sevilla was undoubtedly their star attraction.
Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan (2007-11)
Finally, we come to Premier League players past and present in Forlan and Aguero. We could’ve picked all sorts of Atleti attacking duos from yesteryear, with Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao and Diego Costa all plying their trade well at the Vicente Calderon, but this duo won something!
Atletico were the initial Europa League victors, and nobody can take that away from them. This 2009/10 triumph came courtesy of Forlan firing twice against Fulham in the final.
With an average of 35.5 league goals (47.5 in all competitions) and a total of 142 (190) during four years together at Atleti, the South American strike duo of by then seasoned pro Forlan and promising talent Aguero proved the perfect storm.
You only have to look at what Argentina international and lethal Premier League finisher Aguero has achieved at Manchester City since to know that. Dramatic title winners, no less so than Forlan’s decisive extra-time strike in the Europa final over Fulham, and hat-tricks galore.
Aguero was the junior partner, not the main man at Atletico, though. Forlan’s 32 goals in 2008/09 earned him both the Pichichi Trophy for top goalscorer in Spain and the European Golden Shoe.
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Which of our great La Liga strike duos from modern times do you remember most fondly? Have we missed some out? Let us know in the comments below!