Canadian men’s national team attacker Jonathan David helped secure the French Ligue 1 title for Lille OSC Sunday, scoring the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Angers – a title-clinching final matchday result. David scored the opener and drew the penalty that led to a second goal – as seen on OneSoccer – which ensured the club’s first title since 2011-12. It was no surprise David came up clutch for Lille on the final matchday. The 21-year-old played a pivotal role with 13 league goals for Les Dogues – a record among Canadians in the top five European leagues. David’s record-setting Ligue 1 title is just the latest silverware collected by a Canadian in Europe this 2020-21 season. This surge in European top-flight success has left us at CanPL.ca to ask: How does David's success stack up against other Canadians in Europe Of course, a few other players could have made this list: Milan Borjan's undefeated Serbian league season (and Champions League win over Liverpool) from 2018-19 with Red Star Belgrade, and Julian De Guzman's heroic 2007–08 campaign with Deportivo La Coruña come to mind. But, we've narrowed it down to just a few contenders. Here are six other great European seasons completed by Canadian players.
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Cyle Larin – 2020-21 (Besiktas)As mentioned, Cyle Larin's 19-goal output (second in the Turkish golden boot race) helped seal the Super Lig title for Besiktas on Saturday, taking their 16th top-flight championship by one goal after landing level on points with Istanbul rivals Galatasaray. Larin drew the penalty that led to the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Göztepe and completed the former Orlando City and Sigma FC standout's impressive turnaround with the Turkish giants. The former MLS SuperDraft first overall pick appeared out of favour at Besiktas before going on loan to Belgian side Zulte Waregem for the 2019-2020 season. Following an impressive seven-goal haul as a starter, the 26-year-old was given the keys with the Black Eagles and, well, the rest is history. No Canadian on this list has scored more than Larin's 19 in a European top-flight. Does that make it more impressive than David's total, considering it came outside of the "big five" European leagues? That's up for debate. Regardless, it's an incredible achievement – especially as it was done alongside fellow Canadian...
Atiba Hutchinson – 2016-17 (Besiktas)One of the greatest Les Rouges players of all time, Atiba Hutchinson has enjoyed great success playing in Europe, but we thought the 2016-17 season with Besiktas was the pick of the lot. The then-34-year-old made a staggering 41 appearances to help the Turkish giants to their last league title before 2021's crown, get to within a point from advancing the Champions League knockout rounds, and reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League. He played in all but one of the club’s 12 European ties – they only lost once. The following season saw Besiktas reach the Champions League knockout rounds. There's also 2009-10 with FC Copenhagen when he captured Danish player of the year honours en route to winning a league championship and a Round-of-32 in the Europa League.
Alphonso Davies – 2019-20 (Bayern Munich)We don't have to look far for the best season by a Canadian in Europe in terms of silverware. Alphonso Davies' iconic run with Bayern Munich last year netted him the treble: DFB-Pokal, Bundesliga, and all-important UEFA Champions League. Emerging as a starting left fullback with the Bavarian giants, Davies became one of the hottest young players in the world. He put in incredible performances against Chelsea, Schalke, and in the Champions League final against Paris Saint Germain, playing all 90 minutes to become the first Canadian men's national team player to win Europe's top footballing competition. The then-19-year-old picked up a Bundesliga rookie of the year award for his troubles and was, perhaps controversially, given the Lou Marsh Award as a joint winner alongside Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
Paul Stalteri – 2003/04 season (Werder Bremen)Paul Stalteri's greatest European season came in 2003-04 with Werder Bremen. Featuring 43 times in Bremen's once-in-a-lifetime lineup, Stalteri won the German double and captured Canadian Player of the Year honours. Stalteri played a bigger role in Bremen's double-winning season than Davies, though he wasn't expected to contribute as much offensively at the time, partly because of Ailton. Wow, remember Ailton?
Tomasz Radzinski – 2000/01 season (Anderlecht)An underrated choice. Radzinski scored 28 goals for Anderlecht in 2000-01, enough to win the Belgian scoring title, and he bagged another five in the Champions League. Radzinski scored twice in a win over Manchester United, a result that helped his side top the group. Anderlecht made the second group-stage phase before losing out to Leeds United and Real Madrid for a knockout round berth. It's one of the greatest seasons for a Belgian side ever – and Radzinski was their greatest asset. He would move on to Everton for 4.5 million pounds that off-season – the highest transfer fee paid for a Canadian player at the time.
Jonathan David – 2019/20 season (Gent)Ah, of course, we must mention David's previous career-best season that earned him that high-profile move to Lille. Joint-top goal scorer in the Belgian League (18), David helped Gent to a second-place finish and an impressive run in the Europa League. He scored five goals in Europa League action, including in the second leg of their Round-of-32 series against AS Roma.