Not too many strikers of a relegated team like Mallorca are among the top ten highest goalscorers in the La Liga. However, Ante Budimir’s 13 goals in the 19/20 La Liga season puts him in 8th position on the table of top La Liga goalscorers. Although they got relegated, the 29-year old Croatian was instrumental to the fight against the drop.
In a team that created the least number of big chances bar Real Valladolid, finishing amongst the league’s best scorers is a testimony to the goal-scoring exploits of Ante Budimir.
A striker who plays for a team who creates little chances but scores a decent number of goals has to able to finish his chances. Ante Budimir has used his ability to finish to capitalize on the few chances created. From his ball-striking ability, composure in from of goal, heading accuracy and penalty-taking prowess, he’s able to capitalise of the few chances created for him.
Statistically, Ante Budimir has ranked fifth on the non-penalty goals chart only behind Real Madrid‘s Benzema(16), Villareal’s Gerard Moreno(17), and Barcelona’s duo of Luis Suarez(15) and Lionel Messi(20). He overperformed his npXG (non-penalty XG) by 2.7.
Budimir’s ability to strike the ball with pace and precision gives him an edge in terms of his finishing ability. Apart from this, Budimir places his shots around the left or right corner of the goalpost which makes it difficult for goalkeepers to deal with.
Here, he receives a cutback from Takefusa Kubo and controls it perfectly with his strong foot. As play progresses, his touch takes the ball up to an elevated level. Ante Budimir creates a shooting angle by twisting his body, then he places a well-timed finish into the top corner with a right-footed powerful shot. Ante Budimir’s ability to use his weak foot comfortable coupled with his shooting technique aided him in scoring the goal.
Apart from his shooting technique, his composure in front of goal is quite impressive as it aids him in providing deft finishes. Here, he combines his ball-striking ability and composure in front of goal. He receives a well-timed and accurate pass from Salva Sevilla. He takes a nice touch which takes it away from his marker.
However, the defender tries to recover and stop any potential shot by making a sliding tackle but Budimir maintains his cool and guides the ball away from the defender with a beautiful touch before he places a powerful left-footed shot in the top right corner.
Apart from opening-play finishing ability, the 29-year-old Croatian is also an adept penalty taker. He has only missed one penalty in the last 5 years. He slow and composed run-up when taking penalty gives him more reaction time which allows him to properly pick his spot in relation to the position the goalkeeper dives.
Apart from his composure and technique, he’s also an astute header of the ball. Due to his height, he’s able to compete for floated crosses. For elevated crosses, his jumping power enables him to get an end of crosses. He’s also able to guide his header in any direction he wants as he mostly uses the side of this head.
Here, he shows his heading accuracy and power. He uses the side of this head of the guide the ball towards the bottom left corner of the goalpost while still generate enough power to beat the goalkeeper. To put this goal into context, take a look at the distance between Budimir and the goalkeeper when he heads the ball. It shows you the amount of power, pace and accuracy of the header.
In the image below, it shows Budimir’s jumping power. He rises above everyone else including a 6ft+ Pique to guide in perfectly placed header.
He uses his forehead to generate more power on the header which makes it easier to beat Ter Stegen.
Apart from this finishing ability that contributes to his goalscoring exploits, Budimir’s off-the-ball movement, and the reaction is also a significant factor in how he scores. Budimir’s constant movement in and around the box makes it hard for defenders to mark him. He easily dismarks himself from this marker.
The 29-year old Croatian’s off-ball-movement allows him to get into good positions and take high-quality shots. He has a 0.20 goal/shot stat which ranks joint sixth amongst other La Liga players but first when taking players with over 2700 minutes. His 0.17 npXG/sh(non-penalty XG per shot) which ranks eighth amongst other La Liga players and second amongst players with over 2700 minutes in the league.
To put these stats into context, Budimir has taken 76% (38/50) of his shot in the penalty area excluding penalty shots. Also, 11 of his goals are from the penalty area which is his non-penalty goals. His movements in and around the box are also indicated by the five goals scored from crosses which account for about 45% of his non-penalty goals. All these indicate how much he positions himself and moves in order to latch on to chances from his teammates.
Apart from goalscoring opportunities, Budimir uses his movement to create passing lanes for teammates especially the ball. This aids the ball progression of his team.
Here, he shows his off-the-ball movement to create a passing lane and score a goal against Celta Vigo. He recognises that the ball-carrier is in a tight situation after scanning his environment. He moves a yard towards the ball-carrier and provides the passing lane which the ball-carrier utilises as the plays a pass to Budimir.
Budimir and Takefusa Kubo make exchanges that draws out the Celta defender. Kubo makes a pass to Salva Sevilla. As the ball travels to the foot of Salva Sevilla, Budimir recognises the space vacated by the defender and attacks the space by making a diagonal run in-behind. Salva Sevilla notices the run Budimir and makes a touch deflected pass to Budimir who puts into the back of the net.
His movement in and around the box and his reaction is also shown in this image below. Here, he’s positioned around the penalty spot and marked by a Getafe defender. Budimir focuses on the wing play of his teammates. As the ball-carrier receives the ball and turns towards the right channel, Budimir dismarks himself from the marker and moves towards the near post in order to latch to a potential cross. As the ball comes in, the defender tries to intercept it but deflects it into Budimir’s path who makes a deft finish at the near post.
Another example of his movement here shows how creates a passing lane which leads to a sequence of action that creates a chance for his teammate. Here, he sees the ball-carrier and drops deep in order to open a passing lane for the ball carrier. As you drop deep, Ramos follows him which creates a yard of space on the right channel. As the pass comes in, Budimir his aware of Ramos’ pressuring him which mean he left his space. Budimir flicks on the pass to Kubo who attacks the vacated space.
Although Budimir offers himself in progression by dropping in space and holding up the ball, he’s passing ability isn’t quite good for a top six striker. He tends to make inaccurate passes which will likely hamper the team’s play
Here, he manages to skip away from a defenders challenge. He recovers the ball and turns and opens up his body. He then makes a poor pass which is easily intercepted by the defender.
Apart from this, he isn’t quite good at blocking passing lanes while in a settled defensive shape. Here, he notices the ball-carrier try to play a pass through a player in between the lines. Budimir could have shifted his body position to block the passing lane to the opposition player or anticipated the pace but he didn’t.
Also, he isn’t quite fast, therefore he can’t run which makes a poor transitional player. Although, he mitigates by his aerial ability and strength which allows him to hold up the ball and bring other teammates into play.
After a stellar season in the La Liga, the 29-year-old goes to the Segunda Division as Malaga are relegated. As it shows in this scout report, the quality of Ante Budimir is still very much useful in La Liga. That’s clubs might look to poach him from Mallorca especially newly promoted clubs or the top 6 clubs who might need a back-up striker. He would fit into teams who use crosses as their main chance creation tactics.