Here’s my take on the best central forwards in the world right now.
Before you get into the list, do remember that there is a myriad of reasons – many unquantifiable – that go into determining lists like these. Most of these entries might even reflect upon my subjectivity, meaning you might agree with some of my mentions, or none at all. Either way, we’d love to hear from you!
Well then, here we go.
10- Roberto Firmino
Age – 29 (2 October 1991)
Country – Brazil
Current club – Liverpool (Premier League)
Roberto Firmino has often been criticised for his lack of contribution upfront via goals, but he is absolutely pertinent for the Liverpool frontline to fully function. The link-up play offered by the Brazilian allows Sadio Mané and Mo Salah to act as direct wide forwards, and his absence in the side proves his importance furthermore. Despite his reputation, he’s the highest goalscoring Brazilian in the Premier League history with 63 goals (and 40 assists).
9- Zlatan Ibrahimović
Age – 39 (3 October 1981)
Country – Sweden
Current club – AC Milan (Serie A TIM)
It was widely believed that the sun had begun setting on Zlatan’s glittering career once he moved to the MLS after a long-term knee injury. But given the Swede has little regard for common narratives, he returned to Europe to prove everyone wrong (yet again) and boy if he hasn’t done just that!
The 39-year-old was initially signed by AC Milan in January last year to bring some experience to a young yet exciting side. Zlatan then decided to tear up the script straight away and not only established himself as a senior figure in the Milan side but has also become one of the best strikers in Serie A. In his 38 matches since returning to Italy, Zlatan has scored 27 goals and made 7 assists. He currently sits second in Serie A’s scoring charts with 14 goals.
The lesson here is simple – never question Zlatan. Ever.
8- Erling Braut Haaland
Age – 20 (21 July 2000)
Country – Norway
Current club – Borussia Dortmund (1. Bundesliga)
The Norwegian was touted to be the next big thing before the start of last season after he tore defences apart during the FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup. Haaland, though, just didn’t stop scoring and ended the season with Dortmund as one of the deadliest strikers in Europe after leaving Red Bull Salzburg last January.
Since the beginning of last season, Haaland has played 63 matches in all competitions, scoring 67 goals, and making 16 assists. An instinctive finisher, Haaland is not only strong but ridiculously fast for someone his height (6 ft 4 in) – a scary prospect. If latest reports are to be believed, Haaland is already on his way out of Dortmund.
7- Romelu Lukaku
The banter surrounding Lukaku’s first touch (which isn’t really that bad) always distracted people’s minds away from his prolific goalscoring acuity, who managed to bag in 113 Premier League goals during his time in England.
After joining Inter Milan and coach Antonio Conte, though, Lukaku quickly reinvigorated himself as an elite performer. Having scored 54 goals in 79 appearances for Inter thus far, Lukaku looks sharper, quicker, and near unstoppable. He’s now a reliable senior figure at Inter, forming a formidable partnership with Lautaro Martínez.
6- Harry Kane
‘One season wonder’ Harry Kane still continues to be a prolific forward, for some reason. The captain of the England Men’s National Team seems to have added another string to his bow, showing his incredible passing range by playing in a deeper position this season for Spurs. While the Lilywhites’ hyper-reliance on his presence on the pitch continues to be an issue, England fans would be praying for his ankles to stay intact ahead of the impending Euros in the summer.
5- Luis Suárez
Age – 34 (24 January 1987)
Country – Uruguay
Current club – Atlético Madrid (LaLiga Santander)
While Barça were not totally wrong in wishing Suárez off their wage bill, allowing him to leave for next to nothing, that too to a direct rival and not realising that until the very end is the kind of oversight we have become accustomed to from the Blaugranas.
Like any good aging footballer, Suárez has had to tweak his a little, but continues to be rampant in front of goal, leading the LaLiga scoring charts with 16 goals and spearheading Atléti’s march to the league title.
4- Kylian Mbappé
Unsurprisingly, Kylian Mbappé can play anywhere across the front line, but is now settling down in the number nine role. Since his breakthrough, the 2018 Men’s World Cup winner has shown a lot of maturity to go with his undeniable talent, assuring everyone that he indeed is the next great generational superstar to match the Messi-Ronaldo numbers.
While still at PSG, Mbappé looks destined to move to his beloved Real Madrid; it’s only a matter of when instead of if.
3- Karim Benzema
Age – 33 (19 December 1987)
Country – France
Current club – Real Madrid (LaLiga Santander)
After Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid, there was much doubt about where the goals would come from. As it turned out, Benzema is not just excellent with his link-up play, he’s a brilliant goalscoring forward in his own right. The Frenchman has directly contributed to 100 goals (73 goals and 27 assists in 128 matches) since Ronaldo’s departure in 2018. He might not be a long-term option, but he certainly is one of the very best strikers at the moment.
2- Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is not only going to play past the age of 40, he is also going to be one of the very best, just because he wants to.
The Portuguese has learned to adapt his game as his career has progressed, now playing as an out-and-out number nine who is allowed to roam freely. He doesn’t make long lung-bursting runs anymore, but still has short bursts of pace that can take on anyone even at 36. He might not have won the Champions League with Juve yet, but there are other mitigating factors dictating that. As far as he is considered, he has been nothing short of scintillating, scoring 88 goals and making 21 assists in 115 appearances for Juve in his two-and-a-half years. He has also scored all of Juve’s goals in Champions League knockout stages so far, and currently leads the Serie A topscoring charts with 16 goals.
1- Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is currently the perfect blend of athleticism, skill, grit and experience. The 32-year-old was easily the best men’s player last season after leading Bayern to their second Treble in seven years. Be it link-up play, physicality, movement, passing, or shooting, Lewandowski is converting everything to gold right now, and there no signs in sight indicating any immediate risk of him going down the hill.
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Sergio Agüero (Man City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Timo Werner (Chelsea), Danny Ings (Southampton), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Lautaro Martínez (Inter Milan), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Mauro Icardi (PSG), Memphis Depay (Olympique Lyonnais).
Do you agree with this list? Who would you rather have in your top 10?