Goal scoring is a delicate art form. Football has produced plenty of great finishers, but few could master this unique skill quite like Hugo Sánchez. The Mexican striker dominated for much of the mid to late 1980s and firmly etched himself into the annals of history during his record-breaking stint at Real Madrid.
Hunt For The Pichichi
Hugo Sánchez’s first opportunity to play professionally across the pond came from Atlético Madrid. However, Los Colchoneros took an interest in him after hearing about the striker’s exploits with his local side Pumas UNAM and the San Diego Sockers of the long-extinct original North American SocceLeague. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to be one of the best forwards in soccer,” Hugo Sánchez told La Liga’s official YouTube channel in a recent interview, and that is precisely what he would go on to achieve in Spain.
After a slow start to life in Madrid, seeing him score a meager eight league goals in his first season, Sánchez soon found his feet and got acclimated to La Liga. For his four years at Atleti, the Mexican forward scored 54 league goals and won the prestigious Pichichi trophy, La Liga’s Golden Boot, in his final season.
Crossing Into Enemy Lines
Despite its long-standing rivalry against Atleti, Real Madrid came calling in 1985. Hugo Sánchez, foreseeing the opportunity to team up with a higher-quality team, jumped at the chance to represent Los Blancos. Real Madrid had gone six years without a La Liga title and, spurred on by a group of talented homegrown youngsters dubbed La Quinta del Buitre (the Vulture Squadron), was desperate to end its drought.
Sánchez elevated the youthful Real side and, through his 22 goals, catapulted them to the top of La Liga, winning his second Pichichi in the process. And then he went and did it again the following campaign and the season after that. Los Blancos with Sánchez upfront was unstoppable.
Hugo Sánchez – The Record Breaker
After becoming the first player to win four consecutive top-scorer honors in La Liga, Hugo Sánchez captured his fifth Pichichi in 1989/90, beaten to the award by Atlético’s Baltazar the previous year. As a result, the 89/90 season was one of the most impressive individual campaigns in soccer history.
Sánchez scored an incredible 38 league goals in 35 games, winning the Pichichi and the Golden Shoe as Europe’s highest scorer, and he led Real Madrid to its fifth consecutive La Liga trophy. A ridiculous statistic of all is that every one of his 38 strikes was a first-time finish. His technique allowed him to hit the ball so sweetly that he didn’t need many touches. The ability to sense an opportunity and finish it off expertly under pressure made him one of the greatest forwards of all time.
Hugo Sánchez made goalscoring look easy.
Main Image: IMDB