Didier Drogba join an elite list of Premier League players on 100 goals or more this weekend, notching the winner against Stoke at Stamford Bridge to bring-up the milestone.
The Ivorian international striker became the 22nd player to reach three figures since the division’s inception 20 years ago.
In that time, Alan Shearer created a benchmark of 260 during spells at Blackburn and Newcastle, and no player at the current time looks likely to get close. Andy Cole (187), Thierry Henry (176) and Robbie Fowler (163) are next on the list, before Chelsea midfielder and highest current player Frank Lampard arrives in fifth (150).
Michael Owen is one goal behind, tied with Les Ferdinand, before Teddy Sherringham (147), Wayne Rooney (137) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (127) complete the top ten.
Other names on the list going down include Robbie Keane, Nicolas Anelka, Dwight Yorke, Ian Wright and Jermain Defoe, whilst Manchester United veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both make the grade with 107 and 104 respectively.
And, at the bottom of the list comes the two newest graduates, with Darren Bent and Drogba both sitting on 100 goals exactly. It’s a figure not to be sneered at either, but a great achievement for any individual in a team sport.
"All these goals are for the fans, for the club and I am really happy now. To share this moment with the club I really love, I'm really happy. I always took the right decisions and I'm still here. I love it. It was a nice goal for 100," Drogba told Chelsea TV post-match.
Bent was also suitably delighted to join the club when he scored against QPR back on February 1st, and the prolific English marksman has set his sights on adding to the tally – although injury might prevent him from doing that this season.
"I knew I was getting close to it and obviously I'm absolutely delighted to be in that 100-goal club. I've studied the list ever since I was getting close to it, so for me to be among those names is a fantastic feeling,” said Bent on the landmark.
Where Drogba differs from Bent, and the vast majority on the list, is that he’s achieved such a mark with only one club. Only Henry, Giggs, Scholes and Matthew Le Tissier (Southampton) can boast such a record. That said, Shearer struck over 100 goals for both of his clubs.
And another one-club man close to the mark – in England at least – is Robin Van Persie. The Dutch destroyer has been in sensational form at the Emirates Stadium, and has a personal Premier League tally of 91. And, a staggering 42 of those goals from the Gunners have come in the last season-and-a-half.
He isn’t the closest to the century of players still in action though, with Blackburn Rovers striker Yakubu just eight goals away from the three figures.
The Nigerian international has been prolific throughout his time in England, scoring goals for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and now Rovers in the top flight.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is sat on 86, and will join that special list of one-club players to reach the landmark if he can stay fit over the next two years. You can only imagine how many goals the talismanic midfielder would have if he’d managed to avoid injury in recent seasons.
A couple of veterans are also hunting down the magic number, with Kevin Davies (84) and Louis Saha (83) within a good season of the record. With Davies out-of-favour at Bolton, you’d have to back Saha as the man more likely to reach a century following his loan switch to Tottenham.
Another old hand is sat on 79, with Craig Bellamy’s 11 seasons in the English top flight proving fruitful. Whether the 32-year-old will be able to reach the landmark under Kenny Dalglish at Anfield remains to be seen.
Three more strikers in the 70s include Dimitar Berbatov (76), Emmanuel Adebayor (73) and Peter Crouch (71). At 28, the Togolese international has a few years advantage on the older pair, who at 31 may not have time to reach the milestone.
Additional doubts over Berbatov’s long-term future at United, as well as a lack of game-time, means the Bulgarian is unlikely to get the chance under Sir Alex Ferguson. If he leaves England, the dream would be over.
A special mention to two players just behind, with Carlos Tevez sat on 69 and Fernando Torres on 68.
The Argentine hitman is back in-favour at the Etihad Stadium, but is yet to make a first-team appearance since the self-imposed exile following a bust-up with Roberto Mancini in Munich. But, having proved he can score at West Ham, United and City, the figure isn’t a million miles away – if Tevez stays in England.
For Torres, life has been really tough at Chelsea, not scoring in almost 24 hours of domestic league football for the Blues. His last goal came in October, and a massive improvement will be needed to score those 31 goals that could lead to the magic 100.
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