Goals define the outcome of football matches, you only have to score more than your opponent to beat him. Strikers are the lots saddled with the unique responsibility of planting the ball in the opponents’ net.
Europe has seen the finest of that breed in the last couple of decades or so.
Ronaldo ‘El fenomenon’ was probably the best of the best. Dutch delight Marco van Basten was a class act of no mean repute. Who would ever forget Alan Shearer, the master goalscorer? Or the Liberian George ‘Opong’ Weah, who was so good even the whites wish he was white.
But that generation is slowly drifting into distant memories and fabled tales that football-loving fathers feed their sons on dry, boring nights. In their stead, the football wind has swept upon European coasts a new bunch of goalscorers who, nearly on a daily basis, bless our days and fill our nights with simple goals and golazos.
Too numerous to list here, GoalDig shares only the very best of them all.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not out and out strikers yet when it comes to the goal scoring business, it’s nigh impossible to find another player worthy to be mentioned in the same breathe.
PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the world’s highest paid players and the reasons for that are not so far-fetched: he scores goals for fun. A monstrous specimen of a human being, Zlatan can strike the ball so hard even goaltenders fear trying to stop his shots might break their wrists.
Uruguay’s Edison Cavani has proven his worth in front of goal in Italy and in France, now he has suitors in England, Spain and every other team that can afford his salary. When you want goals regularly, he gets them for you.
Chelsea fans were quick to vote Didier Drogba the best player ever in the club’s history. Why? No other player in blue has scored more important goals than the retired Ivorian international.
Monaco’s Radamel Falcao is more than just a fox in the box, he is a guaranteed goal banger. In Colombia, Argentina, Portugal, Spain and France, Falcao is the cause of many a defender’s nightmare.
Miroslav Klose is one German many won’t forget in a hurry. The top fox in the box- not one of his record 16 World Cup goals came from outside the eighteen yard box- Klose could plant the ball in the back of the net nine times out of ten with his eyes closed.
There are a few who are not just strikers but also warriors, fighters and leaders. Manchester United and England’s Wayne Rooney tops the class of this selected few. He had been a terrific terror from his teens.
There existed for a while a duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona in La Liga, Spain. Athletico Madrid under Diego Simeone broke those two’s stronghold on the league last season using a weapon of mass destruction- Diego Costa.
Manchester City’s ultimate ace in the pack is Sergio Aguero. The Argentine will score goal with ease even with his two legs tied together. His City teammate Edin Dzeko is the apt definition of sharp eye for goal, perfect positioning and clinical finishing. Together they ripped apart Premier League defences times without number.
Long before Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski smashed four past Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas in a single night, he had been viewed as one of Europe’s top marksmen. That fateful night, he cemented his place as the best in the business.
Arsenal fans are beginning to see the best of their French import, Olivier Giroud. They will gladly embrace him even if he’ll only become half as good as their former idol, Robin van Persie. Robin when fit is invisible, untouchable and a scorer of unbelievable goals. The Dutchman is one of the most feared strikers in the world.
And there’s Benzema. In a Real Madrid side stuffed with numerous superstars like Bale, C Ronaldo and co., the talented Frenchman has nailed down his spot as Le Merengues’ undisputed Number 9 with his collection of great goals.
Romelu Lukaku has a lot of potential to be developed and Everton, under Roberto Martinez, is the best place for his development. The same can also be said of Daniel Sturridge under Rodgers at Liverpool. Together with AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli, the world has three fantastic young strikers who are capable of taking over from the ageing guard.
While the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Diego Milito, Fernando Torres, Mario Mandzukic deserve more than just a mention, it is with Thierry Henry that we close this discourse.
The ex-Arsenal legend may have taken his scoring boots to the Americas, it is his scoring exploits in Europe that marked his name as one of the game’s greats.
Strikers come and strikers go. But goalscorers will remain for as long as football lives.