It’s May 2012 and you’ve worked your socks off all season long to be in with a shot of the title but you’re about to hand it to your bitter rivals after failing to defeat a team struggling to keep their heads above water at the bottom.
The seconds tick away. Nails are in mouths. Heads are in hands. Then in the blink of a tear filling eye, Sergio Aguero drops his shoulder and BANG! Manchester City are Champions of England.
It’s arguably the most dramatic goal ever scored and it’s those moments that make football the game we love. Thankfully, we are blessed with a wealth of talented strikers producing goal after goal, moment after moment to keep us hooked. Here we look at the top 10 currently plying their trade.
10. Diego Costa
Okay, the first name on the list is probably the most controversial given the season he had last time out where he notched just two La Liga goals as Atletico Madrid finished second behind runaway Champions Barcelona but make no mistake, Costa is still a deadly striker.
Costa is a player who divides opinion; generally people hate him unless he’s on your team, then you love him. His physicality and ability to stretch the rules to their absolute limit are two of his biggest attributes but a career strike rate of one in every two and a half games is not to be sniffed at and proves he’s a lot more than a windup merchant.
Atletico have gone through a whirlwind of change over the summer and Costa could prove a key player in the coming campaign. Sure he plays on the edge but that’s what makes him so good and if you have any doubts about his ability just ask Real Madrid fans because he’s just torn them apart with four goals – and that was despite being sent off after just 65 minutes.
You might consider it a little harsh that the worlds most expensive player is ranked at number nine but there is more to being a top drawer player than talent alone.
The Brazilian dazzles and delights everywhere he goes with pace, nimble footwork and an incredible eye for goal but he’s also so much of what is wrong in today’s game. Cast your mind back to Russia 2018, the global stage of a World Cup and yet the biggest memory people have of Neymar is him rolling around feigning injury. He’s an outstanding star and should be up there with the greatest of all time but, at the moment, he’s simply not quite there.
Based on pure numbers and sheer skills Neymar would be near the top of this list, instead he’s here. Maybe next year when you’ve got that move you keep sulking about, hey Neymar?
8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang can operate through the middle or out wide and his blistering speed makes him a threat in either role. The Gabon forward is also a deceptively hard worker, which isn’t always guaranteed with your attacking player.
That said is more than a speed demon who puts in the hard yards though; he netted 141 goals in 213 for Borussia Dortmund before his big-money move to Arsenal and his impressive form has continued.
With the Gunners Aubameyang has shared his time upfront with Alexandre Lacazette, who sits narrowly outside our top 10, and his movement and preference to play on the shoulder of the last defender has paid dividend with 41 goals in just 65 matches. The rumours circulating about a move to Manchester United would be footballing suicide for Arsenal – surely it won’t happen.
7. Luka Jovic
Some readers might be surprised at the inclusion of Jovic but fast forward 12 months and it’s quite likely that opinion will have changed, although his team need to buck their ideas up too.
The world’s next wonderkid has just arrived at Real Madrid for a sum of £54m and the fans won’t wait long before they start expecting a return on investment and they will undoubtedly get one. Jovic was one of the standout performers in German football last season and his goals, 27 in 48, were just part of the reason.
Jovic is two-footed and strong in the air as well as being rapid over short distances. When you throw in his youthful eagerness to pressurise defences then you have a real handful.
6. Luis Suárez
Now here is a striker with ‘bite’. The Barcelona attacker has posted impressive stats everywhere he’s been but really made his name at Liverpool making the net bulge 82 times and laying on another 47 goals in 133 – that’s almost a goal involvement in every match.
Suarez suffers from the red mist but his tenacity is one of his most endearing qualities, combine that with his link up play and predatory instincts and not many can measure up.
He’s now at Barcelona and not even Lionel Messi’s shadow weighs on his shoulders. 177 goals and 96 assists in 247 appearances is a phenomenal return by anyone’s standards.
5. Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is a dying breed; the Polish captain is a striker who delivers exactly what it says on the tin – he scores goals.
It’s near impossible to believe but as a youngster, Lewandowski was told he was unlikely to make it as a pro but that rejection only fuelled his hunger to work harder and now he is one of the most lethal finishers in the world. Lewandowski is a tidy footballer who is capable of hold up play but he’s at his best in the box getting on the end of crosses or instinctively burying any chance that comes his way.
Although he’s now at the age of 30 you can expect someone of his physical conditioning to be bullying centre backs for a while longer yet.
4. Antoine Griezmann
Newly unveiled Barcelona man Griezmann has proven during his time with Atletico that he’ll be one of the most dangerous men in La Liga next year but he was actually a wide player when he played for Real Sociedad before converting into one of the top strikers in the world in Madrid.
He possesses a quick thinking footballing brain and his willingness to drop deep to link up the play makes him a difficult opponent to mark out of a game. In addition to his creative contributions Griezmann is never far away from the goal scoring and his positioning means that, more often than not, he’ll be the one to strike the final blow.
Barca have forked out a large sum of money to get Griezmann (although perhaps not enough if you believe Atletico) and there is no doubt he’ll be worth every penny.
3. Sergio Aguero
When you consider that Pep Guardiola didn’t seem to fancy Aguero when he first arrived at the Etihad it’s both unbelievable and a resounding display of the mentality of Aguero to not only force his way into Guardiola’s plans but to become a key aspect of them.
Aguero has shown himself to be a striking sensation who delivers in the biggest of moments time and time again. He possesses a low centre of gravity, has a razor sharp brain and can beat a defender by going either way, which makes him tough to play against and in a tight game he is the man you’re willing a half chance to fall to because, chances are, he’ll find a way of getting it over the line.
Man City are widely regarded as one of, if not the best, sides in the world and Aguero is a huge part of that. He’s already the clubs all time leading scorer and shows no signs of letting up – don’t be surprised to see a Champions League medal added to his personal haul in the near future.
2. Kylian Mbappé
At the age of just 20, this lad has got the world at his feet and a honours list that would be the envy of the most seasoned pro. He arrived on the scene with a bang as part of a golden generation at Monaco where 27 goals in 60 games earned him a move to fellow Ligue 1 team PSG.
Mbappe starred in Russia last summer as France won the World Cup and, if anything, his lightning speed with and without the ball somewhat causes you to overlook the other aspects of his game, which are so strong. He can play anywhere across the front, scores with both feet and has incredible composure both in front of goal and when laying on chances to teammates.
If you were being critical you could say he’s only delivered consistently in France but make no doubt about it, this kid will fill the void left by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when they hang their boots up and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him become the most expensive player in history when he inevitably leaves PSG.
1. Harry Kane
That’s right, the number one striker in the world is Tottenham and England’s Harry Kane.
Kane is as close as you come to an old school forward and has proven a reliable 20 goal a season man – that’s in spite of suffering a few injuries as well. There is no goal this man can’t score; left foot, right foot, headers, long range, tap in – his recent halfway friendly strike against Juventus proves exactly what he has in his locker, which is the ability to score at any minute.
He’s already got a World Cup Golden Boot to his name and is strongly tipped to leave his mark in the history books as England’s record scorer and the Premier League’s leading marksman. That would be some legacy.
There you have it, our top 10 strikers in the world right now. Do you agree? Who shouldn’t be in the top 10, or more to the point, who should? Share your comments below.