18 of the most unlikely individual goalscoring seasons ever

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3. Gaizka Mendieta (19, 1999/00)

  • Previous best: 12 (Valencia, 1998/99)
  • Best since: 13 (Valencia, 2000/01)

From Valencia to Teesside, via Barcelona and Rome – at the turn of the millennium Mendieta was regarded as one of Europe's top midfield playmakers. He became more of a deep-lying general but showed terrific threat in various midfield roles with Valencia; in his penultimate year the Spaniard netted 19 in all competitions, helping los Che finish third and reach the 2000 Champions League Final.

It was enough to see him crowned European Midfielder of the Season and, a year later, earn him a €48million move to Lazio to replace Juan Seba Veron. But it didn't go to plan – after a year in Rome he left for Barcelona, then Middlesbrough, who he helped to League Cup glory in 2004. 

2. Phil Edwards (13, 2010/11)

  • Previous best: 9 (Accrington, 2009/10) 
  • Best since: 6 (Burton Albion, 2014/15)

Current Oxford United right-back Edwards had a Midas touch for Accrington Stanley in 2010/11, when he managed 13 league goals. Nine of those came from the penalty spot, mind, but in context the defender (or part-time defensive midfielder) has mustered only eight goals in the following six seasons combined at Stevenage, Rochdale, Burton and Oxford. 

1. Jose Luis Chilavert (12, 1997/98)

  • Previous best: 11 (Velez Sarsfield, 1996/97)
  • Best since: 8 (Velez Sarsfield, 1999/2000)

Maverick Paraguayan Chilavert was nicknamed 'The Bulldog' throughout his career, and often played with one printed on the front of his shirt. The goalkeeper racked up 67 goals for club and country in a 22-year career that featured spells in his home nation, Argentina, France and Uruguay.

Chilavert enjoyed his most prolific season with Velez Sarsfield in 1997/98, hitting 12 goals for El Fortin, and then starred for Paraguay in the 1998 World Cup which earned him a place in the tournament's all-star squad. He remains the only goalkeeper ever to score a hat trick, a feat he achieved when he netted a treble of penalties against Ferro Oeste in 1999. 

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