Top five strikers in the world

Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich

The highly sought-after Polish international was snapped up on a free by Bayern when his contract at rivals Borussia Dortmund expired. He signed a pre-contractual agreement in January 2014 after much speculation about the clinical striker and his future and he was then presented to Munich fans in July of the same year. His world class forward play leading a phenomenally talented Dortmund front line earned him the move to the most successful team in German football and he hasn’t looked back.

His move garnered much controversy, as had his team-mate Mario Gotze’s move the year before. But Lewandowski’s attitude endeared him to the Dortmund fans meaning his departure didn’t leave them with as bitter of a taste in their mouth.

Lewandowski’s style of play can be seen as the ultimate striker. Using a combination of strength, speed and hard-work as well as his assured technical ability to cause havoc in opposition boxes. 

To date he has made 333 career club appearances, scoring 179 goals. He has played for Znicz Pruszkow, Lech Poznan, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. He has also made 66 appearances for the Polish national team, who he captains, scoring 23 goals.

He has won one Ekstraklasa, one Polish cup, one Polish SuperCup, two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal and one DFL-Supercup.

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

His name is forever etched in the mind of Premier League fans after that dramatic title win in 2012, City fans have even gone to the length of getting his name lengthened on the back of their shirt to commemorate Aguero’s (and Martin Tyler’s) contribution that day. 

The Argentine striker has made a reputation for himself since arriving at Manchester City in 2011 and that reputation is that he is one of the deadliest strikers the Premier League has ever seen. As of right now he has the highest goals per minute ratio in the history of the Premier League averaging a goal every 115 minutes.

Aguero’s diminutive stature is what allows him to utilise his agility and acceleration, but his stocky build makes him surprisingly hard to shake off the ball despite his lack of height. Combine his physical attributes with his close control and shooting ability and it’s hard not to see why City paid £35million for him and why he is one of the best strikers not just in the Premier League, but also the world.

To date, Aguero has made 435 club career appearances, scoring 221 goals. He has played for Independiente, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City. He has also made 59 appearances for the Argentina national team at senior level, scoring 22 goals.

He has won one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Intertoto Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, two Premier League titles, one Capital One Cup, one FA Comunity Shield and an Olympic Gold Medal. 

Lionel Messi – Barcelona

Best player in the world, best player of his generation, best player ever – these are just some of the opinions held of Lionel Messi by fans, pundits, professionals and coaches alike. What I can’t deny is that Messi is one of the most naturally talented footballers I have ever seen.

Ever since he burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old in 2005, the Argentine has set the world alight and on the date he made his debut I’m not sure many knew just how significant it would be for the footballing world as Messi has broken record after record since. He has broken 49 individual records including La Ligas highest ever goal scorer, Barcelonas highest scorer in their history, most goals in a calendar year and most FIFA Balon d’Or awards. All this and he is still only 27.

Messi has always been known for his pace, acceleration and dribbling but add onto that his incredible passing range and his unerring finishing ability and you have one of the most versatile attacking players ever seen. No matter where you go you will always hear the Ronaldo vs Messi debate as to who is better despite them having two contrasting styles of play , personally I’m just glad that we have the privilege of witnessing them both in our generation.

Messi has so far been a one club man, having been at Barcelona his entire career to date. He had made 495 club appearances for Barcelona, scoring 406 goals. He has also made 97 appearances for the Argentina national team, scoring 45 goals. He was named captain of Argentina in 2011.

He has won six La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, five Supercopa de Espanas three UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Supercups, two FIFA Club World Cups and one Olympic Gold Medal. 

Diego Costa – Chelsea

The Brazilian-born striker has set the Premier League alight since his £32million move last year. His physicality and lethal striking instincts have provided Chelsea with the striker they’ve needed since Didier Drogba departed, who ironically rejoined as Costa signed – although no longer at the peak of his powers.

After Falcao left Atleti in 2013 and Costa was made the main striker his strike rate improved after he was made the focal point of the attack. Before that he was very much a fringe player at Vicente Calderon, moving on loan to three different teams and even being sold and brought back again before his successful run in the first team.

Costa’s physical style of play has seen him make an excellent start to his career in England, scoring 17 goals in 27 games for Chelsea and making him a constant thorn in opposition sides. He gained a reputation at Atletico Madrid for his nasty streak but it was utilised by Diego Simeone who helped Costa enhance his discipline but without losing any of his aggression and determination. His attitude added to his excellent physical stature and pace, mixed with his scoring abilities make him an ideal target man for Chelsea, he could prove to be the main protagonist in Chelsea’s title hunt.

The Spanish striker has made 305 career club appearances, scoring 120 goals. He has played for Penafiel, Braga, Celta, Albacete, Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. He has made two appearances for the Brazilian national team, scoring no goals. But after his successful request to change his nationality to Spanish, he has made seven appearances for the Spanish national team, scoring one goal.

He has won one La Liga, two UEFA Super Cups, one Copa del Rey and one Capital One Cup.

Luis Suarez – Barcelona

Luis Suarez was the jewel in the Anfield crown during his time at Liverpool, although his time there was mired with controversy he will no doubt go down as one of the most loved strikers in the clubs history, as well as one of the most controversial. His form at Liverpool earned him a £75million move to Barcelona last summer where he endured a tough start but his form has since picked up.

The Uruguayan went from being the main man in Liverpool to being in Messi and Neymar’s shadow but it seems to be a role that Suarez has managed to adapt to. His assists and all-round play, added to his recent improved goal scoring form have meant he has slotted in well in the Barcelona front line, making the most fearsome attacking trio in world football.

Suarez’s style of play mixes his superb technical ability with speed and work-rate. A style of play which seems to be synonymous with South American footballers nowadays mixing flair and skill with an industrious, passionate work ethic.

To date Suarez has made 389 club career appearances, scoring 233 goals. He has played for Nacional, Groningen, Ajax, Liverpool and Barcelona. He has also made 82 appearances for the Uruguay national team, scoring 43 goals.

He has won one Primera Division, one Eredivisie, one KNVB Cup, one Johan Cruyff Shield, one Capital One Cup and one Copa America.

Advertisements

Top five wingers in the world

Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid

Since the Portuguese winger moved to the Spanish capital he has gone from World Class status to legendary. His goals to games ratio since his then record-breaking £80million move is greater than 1 in 1 standing at 290 goals in 281 games.

Ronaldo is the current Ballon d’Or holder after a historical 2013/2014 season with Real Madrid as he helped fire them to their much anticipated La Decima Champions League title. His scoring record in the Champions League campaign was record-breaking 17 goals in 11 games, making him the competitions top scorer for the second consecutive season, helping take his total number of goals in the season to 67 goals in all competitions – which was the fourth consecutive season he had scored over 50 goals in all competitions.

Ronaldo has been viewed by many players, coaches, pundits and legends as the complete attacker with his pace, strength, fitness, goal scoring ability, his ability to use either foot as well as his aerial prowess. He is also widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation and hailed as one of the best players ever.

He has made 604 career club appearances, scoring 413 goals, having played for Sporting CP, Manchester United and Real Madrid. He has also made 118 appearances for the Portuguese National Team, scoring 52 goals and he has been Portugal captain since 2008.

He has won three English Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two English League Cups, one FA Community Shield, two UEFA Champions League titles, two FIFA Club World Cups, one La Liga, two Copa del Rey, one Supercopa de Espana, one UEFA Super Cup and he is also the current holder of the Ballon d’Or.

Neymar – Barcelona

Neymar has been a superstar since the age of 18 when he rose to the attention of Brazil (and the world) by shining consistently for Santos. The skilful winger gained notoriety for his pace, skill and playmaking skills and was linked with Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid before eventually joining Barcelona in 2013.

Since breaking through as Brazil’s next big thing, a lot of pressure was put on the electric wingers shoulder’s but he has consistently shown he is up to the standard for both club and country. He is currently Brazil’s fifth highest goalscorer in their history despite only being 23.

Neymar is one of the first names on the Barcelona team sheet and has forged an excellent understanding with Lionel Messi and new arrival Luis Suarez, making one of the most fearsome attacking trios in world football.

Neymar has made 295 career club appearances, scoring 175 goals. He has played for Santos and Barcelona. He has also made 60 appearances for the Brazilian National Team, scoring 42 goals and being named vice-captain in 2013.

He has won three Campeonato Paulista titles, one Copa do Brasil, one Copa Libertadores, one Recopa Sudamericana, one Supercopa de Espana, three Supercopa de las Americas and one Confederations Cup.

Gareth Bale – Real Madrid

There was a fascinating stat for Bale when he was at Tottenham – he didn’t register a single win in his first 20 games for the club – fast forward to his final couple of seasons at Spurs and he was the reason for a lot of their wins and now he is rivalling Cristiano Ronaldo to be the main man at Real Madrid.

Now I won’t lie, when he first started to shine at Tottenham, I claimed he was over-rated. But he has proven time and time again that I was wrong – whether it be beating full backs for fun, drilling free-kicks in the top corner or lashing a shot into the back of the net. After a PFA Player & Young Player of the Year award, as well as the FWA Player of the Year award and an £86million move to Real Madrid in 2013, I think it’s safe to say he proved me wrong.

Bale’s outstanding attributes have always been his incredible pace, stamina and set piece ability, but when you add into that his efficiency in the final third with his passing and finishing which has consistently improved, you have one of the most lethal wingers in world football – not bad for someone who started out as a full-back.

The Welshman has made 326 career club appearances, scoring 96 goals. He has played for Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid. He has also made 45 appearances for Wales, scoring 14 goals.

Bale has won one UEFA Champions League, one Copa del Rey, one FIFA Club World Cup and one UEFA Super Cup.

Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal

Barcelona’s acquisition of Suarez and the heavy speculation around the time meant that they could afford to let Sanchez go for the right price – and Arsenal certainly came up with the right price at £35million and I’m glad they did, as I’m sure 100% of Arsenal fans are.

Sanchez’s final season in Barcelona was a pointer of things to come as he scored 21 goals in 54 games in all competitions, the best season tally in his career so far.

Sanchez’s style of play which mixes flair, technical skill and a determination which has become synonymous with South American players has become an instant hit at the Emirates, endearing him to team-mates, coaches and fans alike – not to mention his stat of 18 goals in 32 games helping him in his first season so far.

The Chilean forward has made 414 career club appearances so far, scoring 111 goals. He has played for Cobreloa, Colo-Colo, River Plate, Udinese, Barcelona and Arsenal. He has also made 77 appearances for the Chilean national team, scoring 26 goals.

He has won two Chilean league titles, one Argentinian league title, one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey, two Supercopa de Espana titles, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup and one FA community Shield.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

There was a huge transfer saga before the Belgian finally decided to move to Chelsea – and I mean one of the biggest transfer sagas I remember. But Hazard eventually revealed he would be moving to Chelsea and immediately made people question his ability –  by saying:” I hope I don’t become a big-money flop.” But Hazard has proved to be anything but a flop since his £32million move to London. 

Hazard has gone on to be one of the best players in the Premier League consistently since his move from Lille and last season his contribution at Chelsea was recognised as he was named  2013/2014 PFA Young Player of the Year and Chelsea’s Player of the Year.

Hazard’s style of play means he can play as an attacking midfielder or winger. He possesses excellent pace and acceleration which is coupled with his ability to pass or shoot with both feet making him one of the most unpredictable players in the league, meaning he can create goals and score them in abundance.

He has made 341 career club appearances, scoring 94 goals. He has played for Lille and Chelsea. He has also made 53 appearances for Belgium, scoring 6 goals.

He has won one Ligue 1 title, one Coupe de France and one UEFA Europa League.

Top five centre midfielders in the world.

Yaya Toure – Manchester City

The Ivorian powerhouse has been one of Manchester City’s most influential players since his arrival from Barcelona in 2010. His main attributes are his power and pace but that’s not all there is to his game with his excellent passing, ball control and shooting ability.

He never shirks from the defensive duties he has but his undoubted qualities in the attacking third have made him more of a box-to-box midfielder than the defensive midfield role he had in his Barcelona days.

His importance to Manchester City has never been made more apparent than when he hasn’t been in the team, such as their recent downturn in form since his trip to the African Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

To date he has made 494 career club appearances, scoring 83 goals having played for Beveren, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, Monaco, Barcelona and Manchester City. He has also made 95 appearances for the Ivory Coast national team, who he currently captains and has been since last year, scoring 19 goals.

He has won one Ivory Coast Premier Division, one Greek league title and one Greek cup, two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one Supercopa de Espana, one Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, two English Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one Football League Cup, one FA Community Shield, one African Cup of Nations and he has also been named African Footballer of the Year four times.

Toni Kroos – Real Madrid

In Toni Kroos’ career so far he has become one of the most successful and well recognised centre midfielders in the world, not to mention one of the best.

His efficiency in the dominant Bayern Munich midfield of recent years, as well as his ever-presence in the all conquering German national team at the World Cup earned him a £25million move to European champions Real Madrid.

His playmaking skills in a deeper role have made Kroos one of the best passing playmakers in the world and before he went to Real Madrid he was one of the most sought after too.

He has made 306 club career appearances so far in his career, scoring 40 goals and playing for Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. He has also made 57 appearances for the German national team, scoring 9 goals.

In his career so far he has won one Champions League, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups, three Bundesliga titled, three DFB-Pokal, one DFB-LigaPokal, one DFL-Supercup and one World Cup.

Luka Modric – Real Madrid

I love footballers who make playing football look easy. Luka Modric certainly falls into the category of players who do that. After an initial tough start to life in Madrid after his move from Tottenham, he has flourished into one of the best box-to-box playmakers in world football, enhancing the reputation he had built at Tottenham.

His recent ability to sit deep and break up play since his move to Madrid is matched by his passing ability and skills as a playmaker making the Croatian one of the most complete midfielders in the world.

He was pivotal in the clubs La Decima Champions League campaign – playing all but two games – and in the La Liga title race where he was the team’s most efficient passer with 90%, also winning the LFP award for best midfielder in La Liga. He started off the 2014/15 season in fine form but unfortunately his progress was halted when he picked up an injury which kept him out for three months.

He has made 448 career club appearances, scoring 69 goals. He has played for Zrinjski Mostar, Inter Zapresic, Dinamo Zagreb, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid. He has also made 83 appearances for the Croatian National Team, scoring 10 goals.

He has won three Croatian league titles, two Croatian cups and one Croatian Supercup, one Champions League, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, one Copa del Rey and one Supercopa de Espana.

Nemanja Matic – Chelsea

Despite initially being sold to Benfica as part of the deal which saw David Luiz make his way to London, Matic was brought back to Chelsea after three years in Portugal due to his ability as a defensive shield which Chelsea so desperately needed.

Matic has grown into one of the best out-and-out defensive midfielders in the world, shielding Chelsea’s back four and acting as the perfect foil for the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa – his ball playing skills aren’t too shabby either having initially been a playmaker before his conversion to defensive midfield under Jorge Jesus at Benfica.

Matic has proved vital thus far in Chelsea’s Premier League campaign, as well as their Champions League run. He was also set to feature in Chelsea’s upcoming Capital One Cup final against Tottenham but after picking up a red card after reacting to a bad challenge against Burnley he will be suspended.

The big Serbian has played in 271 career club appearances so far in his career, scoring 18 goals – having played for Jedinstvo Ub, MFK Kosice, Chelsea, Vitesse and Benfica. He has made 18 appearances for the Serbian national team, scoring no goals.

He has won one Slovak cup, one FA Cup, one Premeira Liga, one Taca de Portugal and one Taca de Liga. He is also the reigning Serbian Player of the Year.

Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea

Being an Arsenal fan it still pains me to see Fabregas in a Chelsea shirt but you can’t doubt the class of the Spanish playmaker.

The arrival of Fabregas for £25million signalled a huge intention for the 2014/2015 season from Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as he looked to plug any gap in his team and cater to any need. Arsenal fans will still feel aggrieved by the fact they could have seen their former club captain return to the Emirates Stadium but Fabregas’ impact in a Chelsea shirt has been excellent.

Providing fluid passing and link-up play with his midfield counterparts, as well as forging a deadly partnership with Diego Costa is seeing him rack up assists game by game. He has become the first player to get 15 Premier League assists in two separate seasons, he is also closing in on former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in one Premier League season.

Fabregas has made 486 career club appearances, scoring 103 goals. He has made appearances for Asenal, Barcelona and Chelsea. He has also made 94 appearances for Spain’s National Team, scoring 13 goals.

He has won one FA Cup, one Community shield, one La Liga, one Copa del Rey, two Supercopa de Espana, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, one FIFA World Cup and two UEFA European Championships.