Friday, 28 September 2012

Top 5 Strikers in European Football

In modern European football, goals are no longer monopolised by Centre-Forwards as they have always been in the past. The arrival of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has caused the goalscoring charts to be utterly dominated by two players who are not technically strikers. Ronaldo likes to play on the left and cut in, and Messi... well Messi plays wherever he wants to play. Strikers may be feeling a little inadequate or under-appreciated, so in this article we give some love to the pure strikers who we believe are the best in Europe right now.

1. Radamel Falcao

Falcao is arguably the most complete Centre-Forward in the World. Ruthlessly accurate, quick and powerful, he scores goals with both feet and is devastating in the air. His goalscoring record in amazing. At Porto, Falcao scored 71 goals in 87 appearances, and since his €40 million move to Atletico Madrid the Colombian has scored 46 times in 56 matches. Falcao has won the Europa League two years in a row and has back to back awards for being the top scorer in the competition.

Last month he helped Atletico win the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco, where he scored a wonderful first half hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Chelsea. In La Liga this season, Falcao is top of the scoring charts, ahead of both Messi and Ronaldo. It is simple really, Radamel Falcao deals in goals, lots and lots of goals.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

He is Zlatan. Does anymore need to be said?

Bizarrely Ibrahimovic divides opinion somewhat in this country. On this blog however he does not. Ibrahimovic has played for Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan and PSG. He has scored goals everywhere he has gone, including 22 goals during his not so happy stay in Spain. He has won 6 Serie A titles with three different Italian clubs, 2 Eredivisie titles and 1 La Liga title. He scores big goals and is capable of carrying a team by himself at times. In the summer he was voted into the Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament, and so far in France this season he has scored 8 goals in 6 appearances for PSG.

Ibrahimovic possesses immense strength, majestic technique and is a clinical and powerful finisher. He is Zlatan.

3. Robin van Persie

Last season’s top scorer in the Premier League is again top of the scoring charts this season. His move to Manchester United is going well so far, and if he can remain fit van Persie will be expecting to match his 37 goals in all competitions last season for Arsenal. The Dutchman has always been an exquisite striker of the ball and a proven goalscorer, but many still worry whether he can steer clear of injury. In 8 seasons at Arsenal van Persie only once managed to play more than 30 games in the league, and that was his last season with the club. During the Netherlands’ terrible Euro 2012 campaign, RvP did manage to score in a 2-1 defeat to Germany and he has scored 30 goals for his country. A classy player, Robin van Persie is one of the best strikers in European football right now.

4. Sergio Aguero 

Sergio Aguero is yet to score this season for Manchester City, but his superb first year in England last season proved to everyone that Aguero can be relied upon when it counts. With seconds left of the 2011/12 Premier League season Aguero kept his composure to score the goal which won the league for Manchester City. In a devilishly difficult Champions League group this season, City will need their main striker to get more crucial goals if they hope to proceed to the knockouts.

5. Mario Gomez 

Mario Gomez is on his way back from ankle surgery and will have to fight his way back into the Bayern Munich team after Mandzukic’s excellent start to his Bayern career. Mandzukic has scored 7 goals in 7 appearances, and it will be interesting to see what happens upon Gomez’ return. Mario Gomez has scored 79 goals in his last two seasons at Bayern, he also scored 3 goals at Euro 2012. Gomez is a predator inside the box, always arriving at the right place at the right time. He is an excellent finisher who thrives off the service from Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Honourable mentions 

The season it will be interesting to see which strikers make the biggest impacts across European football. David Villa is fit again and is slowly being worked back into the Barcelona team. If he can get back to his best, Villa is arguably the best finisher in world football. How will Wayne Rooney perform this season alongside Robin van Persie? Will the two compliment each other or will they be unable to make a partnership work? Will Tevez or Balotelli shine at Man City? Will Higuain or Benzema contribute more at Madrid? Will Luis Suarez stop hitting the post at Liverpool? Will Fernando Torres ever be ‘back’? We shall see.

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