MORENO REIGNING IN SPAIN
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
2000-01 really has been a breakthrough campaign for Moreno. He featured strongly last season as Alaves surprised many by qualifying for the UEFA Cup, but his seven goals in 36 appearances hardly hinted at the glut of goals that he would fire this term.
Moreno has led La Liga's goalscoring charts for much of the season, and with just four games left, he is still leading the way tied with Rivaldo on 21 goals and is in line for the Pichichi.
The 26-year-old forward has bagged seven penalties this term - more than any other player in La Liga - and shown an aptitude for finding space in the opposition area. Indeed no player in Spain has scored more goals from inside the area than Moreno.
The former Barcelona reserve player has also scored freely in Alaves' UEFA Cup run, grabbing two goals in the space of five minutes to cancel out Liverpool's 3-1 half-time lead in the final. However, coach Mane shocked everyone by hauling Moreno off after 64 minutes, blunting the team's attacking edge and handing the initiative firmly back to Gerard Houllier's side.
It was a blunder that possibly cost Alaves the cup. No player at the club can match Moreno's incredible finishing skills, as he has scored with 24% of his efforts on goal this term - a better proportion than Spain's other top-scorers Raul, Rivaldo or Patrick Kluivert have managed. Who knows what sort of damage Moreno could have caused the Reds' defence if he had stayed on the pitch?
It is likely to be one of Moreno's last performances in an Alaves shirt. Despite the club's fine form over the last two years, Moreno feels that he needs to be performing at a top team if he wants to achieve the level of success that he desires.
Champions League finalists Valencia have already earmarked him to lead their front line next season, while a host of clubs across the continent look set to bid for his services once the current campaign comes to an end when Moreno sparks what could be the biggest transfer scramble this summer.