Giroud, Benzema, Morata: Who are football's most underappreciated strikers?

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France striker Oliver Giroud departed Chelsea last month without a great deal of fanfare. The 34-year-old reportedly cost AC Milan just £2 million - an absolute bargain when you look at his performance in recent years.

During a two-and-a-half stint at Stamford Bridge, Giroud notched 39 goals in 119 appearances for the club. He also bagged 14 assists in the same time period.

His roll call of honours in West London isn't bad either, having lifted two FA Cups, the Europa League and the Champions League. Prior to his time with Chelsea, Giroud had success for Arsenal, grabbing 73 league goals for the Gunners across seven-and-a-half years at the Emirates.

A 2018 World Cup winner, Giroud ranks as his country's second-highest goalscorer of all time with 46 - just five behind record-holder Thierry Henry.

For all of his accomplishments, though, Giroud never seems to receive the recognition among pundits and fans that his raw numbers suggest he deserves. Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated case, as several very accomplished frontmen in modern times have suffered the same treatment.

Here, per ESPN.co.uk, is a look at a number of similar cases. Not everyone can be Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo but these boys deserve better than to be completely overlooked.

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Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, 279 goals in 599 games)

Giroud's France colleague has an astonishing strike rate for Los Blancos, despite being overshadowed for much of his time at the Bernabeu by Ronaldo.

Ciro Immobile (Lazio, 150 goals in 219 games)

Immobile has been a sensation since joining Lazio from Sevilla in 2016. The 31-year-old showed glimpses of his quality for Italy during Euro 2020 but has not managed to fully cement his reputation on a wider scale as of yet.

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Edin Dzeko (AS Roma, 119 goals in 260 games)

A Premier League winner with Manchester City, Dzeko really found his scoring boots when making the move to Rome - and has been his club's top scorer for four of the last five seasons.

Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo, 166 goals in 380 games)

It's fair to say that things didn't go to plan for Aspas during his spell at Liverpool between 2013 and 2015. However, since moving to Celta, the 34-year-old hasn't looked back. The club's top scorer for six consecutive seasons, Aspas was deemed unlucky to miss out on a place in Spain's Euro 2020 squad.

Gerard Moreno (Villarreal, 82 goals in 185 games)

Another La Liga success story that he flown mostly under the radar, Moreno's tally of 29 goals and 19 assists last term saw him only a certain L. Messi involved in more goals than him in the competition. 

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Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan, 64 goals in 95 games)

His impressive form at the San Siro since a 2019 move from Manchester United is a major reason why Chelsea are believed to be willing to part with £100m this summer to re-sign their former striker. The Belgian powerhouse could once again be a Premier League player shortly. 

Alvaro Morata (Juventus, 20 goals in 40 games)

Although he's not always been a hit whenever he's travelled, Morata's physical attributes will always make him a handful for any defence. His goalscoring ratio in Turin is evidence of this.

Danny Ings (Southampton, 46 goals in 100 games)

A man who saw much of his early promise ravaged by injuries, Ings has shown during his time at Southampton that he is more than capable of delivering the goods when fit.

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Chris Wood (Burnley, 50 goals in 144 games)

He's not the most fashionable of strikers but Wood has been invaluable to Burnley over the last few seasons, with his goal contribution a big factor in the Lancashire side retaining their Premier League status. The New Zealander might be underappreciated by the masses but he is beloved at Turf Moor.

Mario Mandzukic 

A free agent at present, Mandzukic has amassed 228 goals in 582 games while representing the likes of Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich. A former Champions League winner with four Serie A titles under his belt, the 35-year-old Croatian has had a career many would be envious of.

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