Since time immemorial, strikers have been the most noticed players on the football ground. And for this very reason, they are usually the most scrutinised as well.
Tasked with scoring goals, whether it be by classical poaching, aerial prowess or by scintillating build-up play, a striker's job is not always easy. However, here's a list of people who make it seem way to easy, effortlessly scoring goals day in and day out. Here's a list of the best 10 strikers in the world right now.
10. Mario Mandzukic | Bayern Munich
As Bayern marched to Champions League glory, it was their midfield which garnered much of the attention, with the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller gaining widespread praise.
Much less noticed was the contribution of their striker Mario Mandzukic, who was again a vital clog in the Bayern machinery. The highest scorer for free scoring Bayern in the Bundesliga, Croatian Mandzukic enjoyed a breakout season this year as he announced his arrival at the big stage.
A classical striker who is both good in the air as well as finishing with his feet, Mandzukic was a constant threat to opposition defenders as he scored 15 goals in just 22 starts for the Bavarians this season.
9. Sergio Aguero | Manchester City
Even though he could not match up to the insanely high levels he set in last season, Aguero was again an effective performer for the Eastlands club as they finished second in the Premier League. The Argentine is a terrific dribbler of the ball and is a fantastic finisher and has firmly established himself as a fan favourite in just two seasons at the club.
He has firmly established himself as a first choice starter in the club despite stiff competition for places with other world class players in Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez. He finished the season with 12 goals and 2 assists in 28 starts.
8. Wayne Rooney | Manchester United
The Manchester United frontman enjoyed yet another successful campaign this season, albeit one in which he was not the focal point of the team's attack.
Even though the arrival of Robin van Persie from Arsenal slightly dimmed the effect of the Englishman, Rooney still managed to impress, scoring 12 goals and providing 10 assists for his teammates to score. Often deployed in midfield by Sir Alex Ferguson this season, Rooney adapted seamlessly, and was easily one of the best players in the team.
One of the most versatile players on the pitch, Rooney is especially strong in holding on to the ball, acting as a pivot to help his teammates join the attack.
7. Luis Suarez | Liverpool
For much of last season, Luis Suarez was fighting a lone battle for Liverpool. Even though the club again disappointed last season, Suarez was at his brilliant best, as he almost single handedly kept Liverpool competitive.
An especially strong dribbler of the ball, Suarez is also an adept finisher. And last season, he added another facet to his game by developing a dangerous free-kick taking ability, which has seen him become one of the best dead ball specialists in the world right now.
However, the player's conduct has been an issue, with the forward earning himself a 10-match ban towards the end of the season for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
6. Robert Lewandowski | Borussia Dortmund
One of the most sought after strikers in Europe at the moment, Dortmund's Lewandowski underlined his stature as one of the world's leading strikers with yet another campaign full of guile, trickery and amazing goal-poaching.
Even though primarily an opportunistic striker, the Poland international has many more impressive aspects to his game, as is evidenced by his supreme showing against Real Madrid in the UEFA CHampions League semi-final first leg where he scored four goals.
A forward with great close control and impeccable finishing, Dortmund will find it hard to keep hold of their star man as Europe's big guns come knocking.
5. Edinson Cavani | Napoli
The 26-year-old Uruguayan has been another striker to consistently impress, and has been central to all that Napoli achieved over the the past few seasons.
This season, he scored 29 goals on his way to being the top scorer in Serie A, as Napoli finished second in the league. A striker who is good in the air as well as on the ground, Cavani's faultless finishing is his most impressive attribute.
However, Cavani stands out in this list because of his strong defensive contribution, which has often helped Napoli out of difficult situations this season. The striker has also formed an impressive partnership with Marek Hamsik, and the duo is currently one of the most feared in Europe.
4. Robin van Persie | Manchester United
Previously an unrealised talent, Van Persie has come into his own over the last two seasons. Last season, he won the PFA Player of the Year award playing for Arsenal, and was in the shortlist again this season as he enjoyed yet another excellent campaign, this time with Manchester United.
The top scorer in the Premier League with 26 goals, the Dutchman helped the Red Devils to their 20th league title as they were easily the best team in the league.
He also provided a eight assists for his teammates as Manchester United swept out all before them. A player who is good both at poaching goals as well as scoring breathtaking solo efforts, van Persie's form ensured that he usurped Rooney as United's main striker.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | Paris Saint Germain
The much travelled striker helped PSG win their first league title since 1992, as he led the goalscoring charts with 30 goals in his 33 starts for the club this season. And this season, Ibrahimovic surprisingly added another impressive aspect to his game as he provided 8 assists for his teammates.
One of the strongest players in the air, the Swede also has two good feet, and is capable of all kinds of goals - with the bicycle kick from way outside the penalty area (while playing for Sweden, against England in an international friendly in October) warranting special mention.
The summer signing from AC Milan showed just why he is considered one of the foremost strikers on the planet with another season full of high quality football.
2. Radamel Falcao | Atletico Madrid
A relative unknown until three years ago (when he broke the goalscoring record for the Europa League with FC Porto), Falcao has gone from strength to strength over the past few seasons.
And the Colombian was at it again this season, as he inspired Atletico to a third place finish in La Liga. He was the third highest scorer in the league, behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with 28 goals and was one of the players voted into UEFA's team of the year for 2012.
A chip off the old block, being a classical goal poacher, albeit with excellent close control and a fair amount of skills, he also helped them to a title in the Copa del Rey where they beat fierce rivals Real Madrid in the final.
His amazing displays for Atletico prompted newly rich AS Monaco to shell out more than 50 million to acquire his services ahead of the new season.
1. Lionel Messi | Barcelona
There can be no doubt as to who occupies first spot on the list - with Barcelona's Lionel Messi being head and shoulders above the rest.
The four time World Player of the Year winner had yet another hugely impressive season for the Blaugrana as they equalled Real Madrid's record total of 100 points in a season.
The Argentine also inspired Barcelona to the Champions League semifinal, where they lost to an impressive Bayern Munich side. The Argentine was once again the top scorer in the league and was the talisman of the Barcelona side as they eclipsed everyone else in the league.
An unconventional striker who often drops deeps to start attacks from deep within midfield, the Argentine is one of the best dribblers of a football in the game's history.
The Argentine's finishing is also immaculate, as is his buildup play. Putting it plainly, in every sense of the world, Messi is a complete player.
Notable Mentions: Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez (both Manchester City), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain (both Real Madrid), Roberto Soldado (Valencia), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Mario Balotelli (AC Milan), Antonio di Natale (Udinese), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Stefan Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen)
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