Top Five: Greatest strikers of all-time

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We have now reached the penultimate stage of deciding the world's greatest XI.

Of all the positions in the game, this is the most glorified with the majority of youngsters growing up dreaming of scoring the winning goal in a match - just like the centre-forwards they see on television.

However, the role of a striker has changed dramatically over the years, with teams like Barcelona and Spain advocating the reduced need for an out-and-out striker in the modern age. 

Although, with clubs such as Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich still favouring the striker, this is a position that should remain one of the most highly scrutinised positions of all.

That is what makes this list so difficult to narrow down to merely five individuals because of the sheer wealth of talent that has been exhibited over the last two centuries. 

1. Pele (Santos, New York Cosmos & Brazil)

How could the Greatest XI of all-time be compiled without the man who is widely regarded to be the most talented individual to ever play the beautiful game: Edson Arantes de Nascimento or Pele as he is known the world over. In official competitions 'the King' totalled 656 goals in 681 games for his two clubs, making him the greatest goal-scorer in history.

He was simply unrivalled when it came to football exhibiting grace, power, speed and precision in every game he ever played. Although he played most of his career in Brazil with Santos, they travelled a lot and played the great European teams of the time, in order to market Pele's excellence. 

His trophy list is also one to be greatly admired, with three World Cups, 16 Brazilian titles (of two different varieties), two Brazilian Cups, among many others, amassing 40 trophies in total. He is simply, the greatest striker ever and it is merely a question of who will partner him.

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)

Obviously many would disagree that Messi ranks above Diego Maradona - yet there is reasoning behind it. 

While Maradona was predominantly a second striker, he often seemed to play much deeper, resulting in fewer goals. In fact, Messi has already scored more goals in his nine year career at Barcelona, than the former Argentina boss scored in his entire 20 year career. 

It can also be said that Messi is playing at a time when the game is much more physical and advanced than it was in his predecessor's time. If he continues his remarkable scoring spree, the diminutive Argentinean could actually offer some challenge to Pele's status as greatest ever player. 

Messi also has a heavy collection of titles to his name with six La Liga titles, three Champions League titles, two Spanish Cups, five Spanish Super Cups and an Olympic Gold Medal with Argentina. He has also obtained the Ballon d'Or for four years running.

It's often said that it will take a World Cup win to solidify the young striker's reputation as one of the greatest ever, but he has already proven that he is already, with his incredible trickery, explosive pace and insatiable appetite for goals.

3. Diego Maradona (Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla & Argentina)

Considered by many to be one of the most talented stars ever, Maradona just misses out on the top two, which should give some recognition to the sheer quality of those above. 

The Argentinean’s low centre of gravity allowed him to do things that very few others players could manage. The fact that he was physically strong, allowed him to hold off his opponents, before setting up a team-mate or taking a shot himself. He will go down in history in the unforgiving hearts of England fans because of his 'Hand of God' goal and then his next goal. 

The latter saw him beat six players from the halfway line with just 11 touches, all of which were his left foot, despite being on the right hand side of the field. 

It has been voted as the greatest goal in World Cup history. In his career Maradona earned one Argentinean league title, a Spanish Cup, two Serie A titles, an Italian Cup and a UEFA Cup

4. Ferenc Puskas (Budapest Honved, Real Madrid & Hungary)

One of the focal points of the 'Magical Magyars' who are widely regarded as one of the most fluid and talented sides to have ever been created, Ferenc Puskas is considered one of the true icons of 20th century football. Alongside Di Stefano, he was near unstoppable, scoring 516 goals in only 520 appearances in Hungary and Spain. 

However, it was at Real Madrid where Puskas became a legend, winning the European Cup on three separate occasions and five La Liga titles in a row. He is officially ranked by the IFFHS as the top goal-scorer of the 20th century.

5. Eusebio (Sporting de Lourenco Marques, Benfica, etc & Portugal)

By far one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the history of football, the Portuguese superstar hit the net on copious occasions. In a career spanning over 23 years he managed 585 goals in 571 appearances.

Quite where Portuguese football would be without their most legendary talent is unthinkable as he was just a magical footballer. 

His primary assets were dynamic speed, stamina and devastatingly accurate right foot. The majority of Eusebio’s career was spent at Benfica, for whom he managed to win 11 Primeira Liga’s and five Portuguese Cups, also helping Portugal to finish third at the 1966 World Cup.


This is by far the hardest list that I have had to compile because of the other player’s that I was forced to miss out. 

Therefore, honourable mentions should go to Raul, Ronaldo, Gerd Muller, Marco Van Basten, Thierry Henry, Romario, Arthur Friedenreich, Fernando Peyroteo, Rivaldo and the list could easily go on.

If you feel I have missed anyone out, or you agree with my list, then feel free to leave a comment below.


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