10 of the Best Strikers in the World

Soccer's Best Strikers

Soccer (Football) is one of the most popular sports in the world. Take a look at the sport's 10 best strikers.

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Lionel Messi (Argentina & Barcelona)

Lionel Messi faces Brazil
Lionel Messi is one of the best players ever. Feng Li / Getty Images

Four-times World Player of the Year, Messi is already Barcelona's record goalscorer. Although not an out-and-out striker, he operates in Barcelona's front three and in the 2011-12 campaign he set a new world record by scoring 73 times in a single season. Messi also dovetails beautifully with his Barca team-mates, and is a hard worker to boot. However, his indifferent form for Argentina means he has often borne the brunt of criticism from the fans and media. He went some way towards mending the relationship with some inspired displays at the 2014 World Cup, but fell just short of leading his country to glory.

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Luis Suarez (Uruguay & Barcelona)

Luis Saurez against England
Luis Suarez is a true street fighter on the field. Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

The controversial Barcelona frontman is one of world soccer’s most technically gifted strikers. Blessed with a fine first touch and tremendous all-round technique, the Uruguayan's form for Liverpool persuaded Barca to spend US$130 million on the player in 2014. After seeing out a ban for biting, Suarez took time to settle but hit his stride after Christmas, helping the club to the Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble where he scored in the final against Juventus.

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Sergio Aguero (Argentina & Manchester City)

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero is a handful for defenses. Elsa/Getty Images

The Manchester City man gives away plenty in height and weight to most other strikers, but deserves to be recognized for his many other qualities, not least his predatory Romario-like finishing. The latest in a string of Argentineans to be dubbed the 'new Maradona,' Aguero has found scoring goals in Spain and England to be little more than child's play. El Kun earned his nickname because of a Japanese anime character with the same name and similar hair. He outgrew Atletico Madrid and moved to City in the summer of 2011, scoring the winning goal against QPR to seal the title in 2012.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris-Saint Germain & Sweden)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Portugal
Expect the unexpected where Zlatan is concerned. Martin Rose / Getty Images

The always controversial Ibrahimovic does as much talking off the field as he does on it. With the exception of a disappointing season at Barcelona where he fell out with Pep Guardiola, Ibra has been a success wherever he has been, winning titles in Holland, Italy, Spain, and France. The Champions League is still missing from an impressive CV, but in the final years of his career, the Swede will no doubt be doing his best to rectify that with his impressive repertoire of skills in the final third.

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Neymar (Brazil & Barcelona)

Robert Cianflon / Getty Images

Brazil’s biggest star joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013, scoring 14 goals in his debut season in Catalonia. Neymar was a revelation at the 2014 World Cup, before being ruled out of the tournament in the quarter-final stage after a high challenge from Colombia’s Juan Zuniga in the Battle of Fortaleza. The striker is blessed with sublime technique, an unerring finish, and pace to burn. He has been compared to Pele but claims that his style is closer to Garrincha.

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Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina & Napoli)

Gonzalo Higuain
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Higuain was a sure-fire guarantee of goals when Napoli signed him from Real Madrid in 2013, and that's exactly how it's turned out. Part of that mesmerizing Argentina frontline featuring Messi, Aguero and Angel Di Maria, Higuain gets no shortage of chances at both international and club level. He tucks most of them away although can occasionally be wasteful when it really matters, such as in the 2014 World Cup final against Germany. Still, 49 goals in his first two seasons at Napoli means any potential suitors will have to pay a hefty transfer fee.

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Karim Benzema (France & Real Madrid)

Karim Benzema
France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. Catherine Steenkeste / Getty Images

The 2014-15 season was the best of Benzema's Real Madrid career. In a team where Cristiano Ronaldo is a dominant and overbearing force, Benzema still managed to score 21 goals in La Liga and the Champions League before his season was curtailed by injury. Benzema has pace to burn and is one of the best all-round strikers on this list. Should be entering the peak years of his career.

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Diego Costa (Spain & Chelsea)

Diego Costa
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

A breakthrough 2012-13 season triggered a tug-of-war between Spain and Brazil for Costa's services. Spain won and in doing so secured themselves a striker capable of frightening international defenses with his impressive range of finishing, strong hold-up play and never-say-die spirit. After several loan moves, Costa, who has never played in his homeland of Brazil, quickly made the Atletico fans forget Radamel Falcao, sold to Monaco in the summer of 2013. But like Falcao, Costa would move on and in the summer of 2014 he joined Chelsea, finishing top club scorer in his first season.

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Wayne Rooney (England & Manchester United)

Wayne Rooney
Ian Walton / Getty Images

If there were question marks over Rooney's goalscoring abilities, they were well and truly answered in the 2009/10 season. Now that he has added more goals to his game, Rooney is the all-round player. Superb awareness, long-range passing, hold-up play, and dribbling combine to make a precious asset for club and country. He often flirts with the Old Trafford exit door, but signed a new long-term contract in February 2014 to all but ensure that the best years of his career will be seen out at United.

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Robert Lewandowski (Poland & Bayern Munich)

Robert Lewandowski
Adam Nurkiewicz / Getty Images

A serial scorer for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Lewandowski had long been on Bayern Munich’s radar before they completed the free transfer in 2014. He helped Dortmund to successive titles in 2011 and 2012, but his transfer tilted the balance of power further in a league that Bayern have dominated in recent seasons. Lewandowski, a pacy, hard working striker, followed Mario Goetze who joined Bayern a year earlier as Dortmund parted with two of their biggest assets.