Here at 90min, we love the gas.
We talk football, we throw opinions out there and we love to generate debate.
Some people agree with what’s said, some people hate what they hear and read, some people find it funny and some people go out of their minds with incandescent rage.
But that’s all part and parcel of being a football fan – we’re a community brought together by the love of this great game, and the special thing is that we all want to have our say.
Now we’ve sold the concept of talking football to you, let’s get another hot topic on the go shall we?
Having already dissected the 25 best goalkeepers, full-backs, central defenders and defensive midfielders in the world, we can’t wait any longer to get to the strikers. For this, we’re upping the ante to 30 – basically because there’s so many top dogs knocking around.
For clarity, the players included on this list play the majority of their games from a central striking role. Hence, no Messi or Griezmann, no Salah or Mane, and no Allan Saint-Maximin, before you throw any nearby toys out of the pram.
So strap in – I know I have – and feast your eyes on the current 30 best strikers in the world…
We kick things off with a nod to some players who are still good, but not top 30 material right now.
These include Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the exceptionally well known pile, through to Erin Zahavi (check out his goal record in China by the way), Arkadiusz Milik, Odsonne Eduoard and Iago Aspas – all of whom score goals and contribute good things on a pretty regular basis.
There’s also the likes of Memphis Depay, Donyell Malen and Tammy Abraham to consider, but there time hasn’t come just yet.
30. Alexandre Lacazette
Lacazette’s goal return for Arsenal has actually been pretty ordinary of late, with his place in Mikel Arteta’s side far from assured.
But the Frenchman offers so much outside of goalscoring, dropping deep to link up play with midfield, as well as foraging down the channels to put pressure on opposition backlines. He also has a tremendous understanding with Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang, though it’s often the Gabon international’s goal tally that reaps the rewards.
29. Dusan Tadic
Back in the summer of 2018, Tadic departed Premier League mid-table lovers Southampton to experience a new challenge with Ajax.
What few of us would have expected was Tadic’s remarkable transformation into one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe. Granted, the Eredivisie standard perhaps leaves a little to be desired, but netting 38 goals in his debut season – in all competitions – was a bolt out of the blue.
No longer isolated out on the wing and out of possession, Tadic is showing what he can really do in a false nine position, showing pinpoint accuracy with his finishing to couple up with some intricate link-up play.
28. Carlos Vela
Another player whose career has reignited after moving onto pastures new is Mexico forward Vela.
Once a failed Arsenal academy graduate, he then spent five years at Real Sociedad confirming that he was actually talented before a return to the Americas beckoned.
There, a change of role has propelled Vela into MLS limelight and he’s now a prolific goalscorer. His wand of a left foot helped him score at a better than a goal per game during 2019, and he’s now regarded as one of the biggest stars across the Atlantic.
27. Gabriel Jesus
Playing second fiddle is never an easy job, but that’s what Gabriel Jesus has done for much of his career at Manchester City.
The Brazilian is undoubtedly a talent, evidenced by the faith placed him at such a young age by Pep Guardiola. Has his best years ahead of him, which should allow him to break out of Sergio Aguero’s shadow at some point – as well as helping him become Brazil’s leading light for many tournaments to come.
26. Dries Mertens
If you’re not familiar with S.S.C. Napoli, may I please point you in the direction of the 2019 Diego Maradona documentary film.
Once you’ve sampled some of that, you’ll realise what it means to play for Gli Azzurri and what it means to become a legend of such a passionate, well-supported club.
One such legend is Mertens, who during the 2019/20 season became the club’s all-time record goalscorer, surpassing another supremely popular figure, Marek Hamsik. The Belgian hasn’t been overly prolific of late, but is still a wonderful all-round player.
25. Duvan Zapata
Scoring goals was something of a pastime for Zapata, rather than a regular hobby before he joined Atalanta in 2018.
But since then, the Colombian has been transformed under the tutelage of Gian Piero Gasperini and is now what some would call ‘a goal machine’. 28 goals in his first full season at the club – aided by his electrifying pace and understanding of the Nerazzurri’s system – looks to be just the starting point of a wonderful few years ahead.
One man born to score goals was Gabigol – look no further than his nickname if you don’t believe me. Also, look no further than his goalscoring record in South America, which makes for pretty sensational reading.
Admittedly, he wasn’t been able to reproduce his form on the European stage, but his spell at Flamengo has shown many around the world that he’s got that little bit of x-factor about him.
23. Moussa Dembele
Some really, really special players have kickstarted their careers with Scottish Premiership heavyweights Celtic, and Dembele looks to be no different.
We all saw how good Henrik Larsson was in the past, we’re all seeing how good Virgil van Dijk is right now, so if Dembele can be anywhere near as good as they are, he’s going to be a pretty special player in the future.
A hive of Premier League interest is already swarming around a player who has scored well over 100 career goals in just over five seasons as a professional.
22. Wissam Ben Yedder
Breaking into France’s national team setup – particularly up front – is a pretty tricky thing to have ticked off the career accomplishments list, but that’s exactly what Ben Yedder did in 2018 after years of consistently scoring goals.
Standing just 5ft 7in tall, Ben Yedder’s main strengths lie in his ability to wriggle away from defenders and he loves taking people on before firing home. Has registered double digit goal seasons seven times in his career, flourishing in both La Liga and at home in Ligue 1.
21. Anthony Martial
?Manchester United are fast-tracking their way back to the promised land babies (note, this is wild speculation and pure conjecture) and all eyes are on Anth…..Bruno Fernandes.
In all seriousness, the Red Devils have been notably better since Fernandes arrived but you have to give some credit to Martial too. He’s operated both on the left wing and up front – not easy when you’re trying to find consistency – and continues to operate, on the whole, very well.
Though he’s yet to enter the prolific goalscorer category, he’s a hard grafter and looks to be taking his game in the right direction.
20. Raul Jimenez
Speaking of going in the right direction, that brings us nicely on to Wolves – and Mexican striker Raul Jimenez, who has brought his game on leaps and bounds since an ill-fated spell with Atletico Madrid.
Now, he’s one of the most reliable forwards in Europe, with his workload – and the pressure that goes with it – unparalleled across the ‘top five’ leagues. All areas of his game are strong, particularly his work rate and ability in the air, but they’ll be some who say his finishing must improve.
And they’re right – he’s not as consistent in front of goal as he could be.
19. Roberto Firmino
Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool – what a rollercoaster ride it’s been on Merseyside since Jurgen Klopp assumed the reins from Brendan Rodgers (remember he was there folks).
Initially there was some bad times, but my goodness me have there been some good ones – both domestically and in Europe. While the Reds’ team is equipped with superb players all over the shop, few have an effect on the side quite like Roberto Firmino.
The Brazilian is the glue that holds things together – no, he doesn’t score goals for fun like others, but he gets the best out of each and everyone of his teammates. An invaluable trait to have.
18. Paulo Dybala
Let’s rewind to a time when I was playing FIFA 13 career mode and Palermo was the team of choice.
Not only did I have Afriyie Acquah patrolling midfield – trust me, he was incredible – there were also two incredible talents getting better and better with each passing game – one was Josep Ilicic, and the other was Paulo Dybala.
Turns out, FIFA knew what they were doing – as the Argentine is now one of the most talked about footballers in the world, as well as being one of the most gifted. Courted throughout the majority of 2019, Dybala’s signature is one that everybody would want if given the chance – owing to his fast feet, creativity, dribbling skills and swashbuckling finishing ability.
He doesn’t score bucket loads but, boy, is he good.
17. Lautaro Martinez
When Barcelona are sniffing around a player’s coat tails aged just 22, you know that player is probably a bit special.
And that’s exactly what Martinez is – an exciting talent all set to blossom into one of the best strikers in the world. A lethal and powerful finisher with both feet, the Argentine is also tremendous in the air, where his exploits have helped revive Inter’s slowing Serie A pulse.
Great things are expected of a player wanted by some of the games very best – and richest – clubs.
16. Marcus Rashford
When a fresh faced 18-year-old Rashford burst onto the scene with four goals in his first two Manchester United games, the Red Devils took a deep breath.
Was a new local talent ready to take on the mantle of the ageing Wayne Rooney, leading United back to the very top of English football? Well, not quite yet, but Rashford is certainly looking the part and hasn’t really looked back since that whirlwind first week.
Playing as either a left winger or central striker, he’s elevated his game year on year and is now a fearsome Premier League goal threat.
15. Mauro Icardi
Few players in the world of football have captured the media’s attention like Mauro Icardi has. Though, unfortunately for him, it’s his wife – and agent – Wanda Nara who steals the limelight most of the time.
But despite kerfuffle and controversy that seems to follow Icardi around, there’s one side to his actual game that is very clean – his finishing. Clinical, deadly and unerringly accurate, the Argentine was born to score goals, evidenced by his 100+ strikes in the colours of Inter.
14. Josep Ilicic
Remember that FIFA story I was telling you about? Time for part two!
No, don’t worry, I won’t really get into that – but what I will get into is Ilicic’s astonishing improvement over the past few years, especially since he joined Atalanta.
With an absolute cannon of a left foot, a penchant for finding space and a goal record that most out-and-out strikers would kill for, Ilicic is hot property when deployed in the false nine role.
13. Romelu Lukaku
Back in February 2019, ?a piece was penned (by yours truly, shameless plug) about Romelu Lukaku still having a bright future at Manchester United.
While my sentiments of his impending improvement were right, what I didn’t know at the time is that the best thing for Lukaku to do was to get out of England – and the scrutiny and ridiculous over-analysis of his game – to find his confidence again.
At Inter, he’s just done that – and is pounding goals in for fun again in Serie A. Lukaku looks happy, fit and ready to conquer, with plenty of years at the top ahead of him yet.
12. Jamie Vardy
The rise and rise and rise of Jamie Vardy – from non-league football to ?Premier League winner and golden boot contender – really is one of football’s feel good stories.
Furthermore, the fact that Vardy has achieved so much at Leicester, who are a good side but can hardly compare with big clubs financially, is testament to just how hard he has worked over the years.
Pace, a never-say-die attitude and a willingness to give 100% each and every time he steps on to the pitch are some of his best qualities; as his crisp finishing ability.
11. Luis Suarez
Pushing the top 10 ten boundary – but missing out by the length of an incisor – is Uruguayan gnasher Luis Suarez.
He may be entering the latter stages of his career, but Barcelona’s lead marksman still has one of the sharpest tool kits in the trade. At his peak, Suarez was among the very best in the world, and perhaps was even the best striker for a time.
He’s still very good now, scoring goals at a decent lick in Catalonia – it’s just a shame he’s been laid low by injury problems.
10. Timo Werner
Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale and Timo Werner – what do they all have in common? Yep, they’re the three most talked about transfer targets in recent memory.
In Werner’s case, it’s still very much a case of is he really worth it? Playing up front for RB Leipzig, the German’s not really had the chance to show that he can deliver – regularly at least – at the absolute highest level. But in the glimpses we have seen, he’s shown he’s more than up to the task, scoring goals and leading the line with aplomb.
Die Roten Bullen are a genuine threat in Germany because of how good Werner is, and it may not be too long before he’s adorning Liverpool red.
9. Harry Kane
There have been few England strikers – ever I’d imagine – who made as much of a splash as Harry Kane did when he broke onto the scene.
It was all a bit weird to be honest, because before he went goal crazy, Kane had endured some pretty ordinary loan spells away from Tottenham. Now, though, he’s one of the most clinical finishers around, with two feet capable of firing home from all angles.
Not only that, Kane is a penalty specialist and also loves a long shot or ten. The cherry on the top of his icing is his link up play – which club and international supporters of him will tell you is really rather good.
8. Karim Benzema
Underappreciated, undervalued and the equivalent of a footballing Formula 1 car – three very appropriate ways that you could describe Benzema.
That last reference, of course, follows his spat with international teammate Olivier Giroud, but that’s a story for another time. Instead, we’re here to talk about his Real Madrid greatness and the fact that he’s scored – and continues to score – bucket loads of goals for the club.
There’s very few flaws to report in the Frenchman’s game, so long as you don’t scour Twitter for a video showing some absolutely abysmal misses during his career to date.
7. Erling Braut Haaland
Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Samassi Abou* – three generational talents who, in their respective times, took each and every collective breath away.
Now, that feeling is likely to happen again as we watch on with admiration at the emerging talents of Haaland. A youngster who can, quite literally, do it all, it’s frightening to think that the Norwegian has a good 15 years of kicking ass ahead of him.
Sit up and take notice, this boy is the future.
6. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Haaland may be the future of the game, but he’s also Borussia Dortmund’s future – unlike Aubameyang, who left the German giants in his rear view mirror back in 2018.
When he did so, he set ?Arsenal back a cool £56m – a fee that he’s, probably, repaid already. Scoring goals is what Aubameyang does and terrorising defenders with his blistering pace is what he’ll continue to do for years to come.
With a terrific goal record safely tucked under his belt, there’s no disputing that he’s one of the very best – but his toes will be twitching to show that on the biggest stages going.
5. Sergio Aguero
Manchester City’s rise to the top of the English game has relied on heavy investment, we all know that.
But to win things, consistently, you need to buy exceptional players who are willing to stick around and lay the ground work for something special in the future. You also need players who will put their hand up in the big moments, shouldering the burden of expectation and leading their team to victory.
For City, Aguero has done that for almost a decade – and is rightly regarded as the club’s best ever up top. Not only that, he’s one of Europe’s – and the world’s – finest, still scoring goals for fun on a regular basis.
4. Ciro Immobile
When Immobile’s venture to the Bundesliga in 2014 went south pretty rapidly, you would have been forgiven for thinking that he wouldn’t make it at the top level.
After all, he’d only had one exceptional season of scoring at Torino before Borussia Dortmund took a punt on him.
What we now know is that Immobile is one of the most natural finishers of the modern era, capable of carrying a side on his back. Two great feet, a superb leap in the air and the versatility to play anywhere across the front three makes him a real handful for any defence in the world.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
For almost a decade and a half, we’ve all wagged our chins at our respective office desks and asked which of Messi or ?Ronaldo is really the greatest of all time?
That question will never be answered, but what can be answered is that the Portuguese phenom – sorry The Undertaker – is the third best front man going right now.
Yes, Ronaldo is still scoring a pile load of goals and yes, he contributes most for current club Juventus – but sometimes you have to recognise greatness, move with the times and hand the mantle over to youth.
2. Kylian Mbappé
And the youth in this case is Kylian Mbappé, whom we all expect to dominate the footballing landscape for many, many years to come.
He may barely be out of nappies, but Mbappé is already at the very top of the game, striking fear into anybody who comes up against him.
Good points: Two footed, powerful shot, direct runner, unbelievably quick, agile, well balanced, intelligent, creative, unselfishness, willing to learn, goal machine.
Bad points: N/A.
Say no more.
?1. Robert Lewandowski
So how on earth is Mbappé not the best striker in the world? Well, that would be because of the existence of Robert Lewandowski.
A complete forward, who epitomises everything and anything you’d want from a striker in your side, the Pole is insanely consistent. He bags goals, goals and more goals, goes on crushing scoring rampages and also acts as the perfect foil to bring his teammates into play.
Furthermore, his abilities have seen Bayern become serial winners during his tenure in Munich – and the unnerving thing is that he still has many years left at the top.
For more from Toby Cudworth, follow him on Twitter!