Where have all the world-class strikers gone?

73892138.jpgAs we told you yesterday, Man Utd boss Alex Ferguson is on the look-out for three players to strengthen his squad this summer. Striker is one position he needs some more quality, but where are the world-class strikers? It’s a question that Fergie has been asking himself: ‘You look through the world and say to yourself: “where are all the strikers?” There are not a lot of them going around, believe me.’
This got me thinking – why are there no great strikers around right now? Is it a cyclical thing or is it, as I suspect, indicative of the way in which football at the highest level has changed, making it harder for forwards to succeed (players are so well schooled and organised now – see Mourinho & Benitez, who have been accused by Jorge Valdano of ‘ruining football’) and perhaps easier for attacking midfielders to strike from deep: Man Utd’s top scorer in the league this season is Cristiano Ronaldo. As far as I’m aware, that’s the first time in the history of the Premiership that the leading scorer for the champions has not been a striker. Okay, Wayne Rooney may yet overtake Ronaldo, but I doubt it.

If Fergie is looking for a world-class striker, where will he turn? Didier Drogba is probably the best in the world right now, but who else is there? Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Inter is mercurial but inconsistent, whilst city rivals Milan have reached the Champions League final this season without a world-class striker (Liverpool did the same). And Italy won the 2006 World Cup without a world-class striker in their ranks.
Who else is there? Dimitar Berbatov looks classy but is still unproven at the highest level. When fit, Thierry Henry is the best striker on the planet, but he’s not getting any younger and may never reach that peak again. Samuel Eto’o dazzles on occasion, but is hardly any more consistent than Zlatan.
The Spanish pair of Fernando Torres and David Villa are very talented and in demand but talk of transfer figures in excess of £40m is a joke. Neither player is worth more than £20m in my book.
Indeed, if asked to name the best three players in the world, you’d hear ‘Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka’ from many experts – not one is a striker.
So where have all the world-class strikers gone? Any ideas…

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  1. gamblegamble says:

    I dont think Eto’o is far off. I’d take him above any other striker.

  2. Adam says:

    I think it’s mostly an indication of the way the game is played now. The standard formations are either 4-5-1 or 4-4-2, and that tends to include a defensive midfielder.
    There’s no room at the back for strikers to operate, making the best strikers the ones who are most likely to beat the offside trap and get a ‘free’ run on goal or catch a good cross. Just look at Sheva, he’s got unbelievable ball control skills, but he’s been shutdown all season.
    I’m not 100% sure of this, since I just started following football recently (couple of years), but I seem to remember hearing somewhere (I think in an interview with Pele) that typical formations used to be 3-4-3 or something like that. With that much more room in front, strikers can really show their stuff

  3. Sheps says:

    Striker is no longer the position kids want to play – all the heroes play in the “hole” aka Bergkamp, Ronaldinho, Kaka and it’s where Ronaldo runs to when he has the ball.
    Simply because managers have realised this is where to play your best players. Good strikers are, I’d say, just as equally abundant as good wingers or good full backs, just they used to be many more of them.

  4. Robbie says:

    Kids still want to play upfront, like rooney, van nistelrooy, owen, and henry, but i feel no-one wants to play in goal anymore because they dont score goals, like everyone wants to

  5. Anonymous says:

    Villa, Torres, Drogba, Sheva, Van Nistelrooy, Henry, Toni, Even no-as-fat-as-he-looks-like Ronaldo are class betters strikers than overrated eto`o tbh, the quality of passing in FCB is overwhelming any other team on the globe

  6. ze says:

    and dont forget Kanoute who`s together with Dani Alves running great Sevilla

  7. the manu fan says:

    its somehow true that we dont see much great classic strikers anymore. someone in the same class with the likes of henry, van nistelrooy, etoo, drogba, ronaldo etc.. i cant imagine any of them moving to manu, considering the price tag they carry. the trend nowadays is that midfielders produce a fair amount of the goals anyways, like kaka, lampard, c. ronaldo, ronaldinho, gerrard etc.. except ronaldo, i cant imagine any of them would reckon a move to manu right? i bet manu will play wit 1 striker next season (rooney, smith, saha?), strenghten their defense + midfield and that shud be it

  8. Clasher says:

    Yeah, all those talks about kids not playing as strikers, what for?
    Drogs is the best one at the moment, he’s massive, untouchable, it seems that noone is capable of winnig the header with him when he’s on the run.. Eto’o is a bit off that standart cause imho he’s best in barcas tactics where they keep the ball down, i don’t remember if he ever touched a high ball.. Berbatov is also a quite nice egzample for the striker, with great techniqe, heading and shooting.. Somesay that dutchguy Huntelaar is a candidate to make those best ones step down. I guess every season will introduce somebody else, like that one gave us Didier (he wasn’t playing that well last two years!).. Just wait and see which gaffer will choose the best one!
    PS. Zlatan has got the techniqe but where’s his character? That’s why he IS NOT on the top and probably will stay in Italy for the rest of his days.

  9. Derek says:

    If we’re talking about classic predatory finishers, Van Nistelrooy is still up there, and Huntelaar is coming along quite nicely.
    I think the prototype of a striker has changed over time, though. Much more in terms of creativity and contributing outside the box is required of a striker nowadays. Classic poachers like Lineker and Muller are definitely a dying breed.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Van nestelrooy, zlatan is consistent if i may argue, Ronaldo? just adapted to milan and bagged 8 goals? hernan crespo? success in Chelsea Milan Inter and is 31 years onld..
    but many dont have the chance to shine, For instance Toni is at Fiorentina, Cassano is on Madrid’s bench, huntelar is in ajax, david villa, and again berbatov is bigger than tottenham,
    but still you are correct, Olympic marseille is run by 2 extrordinary midfeilders, Frank Ribery and Samir Nasri …

  11. Joe says:

    OK, you don’t see too many talented Brit strikers in the prem right now (Bent & Johnson are apparently the best we can do), but the Championship’s positively brimming with them: Nugent, Chopra, Earnshaw, McSheffrey etc are all doing very well, so I reckon in a few years it might be ok again.

  12. nasiphi says:

    OK y’all i’ve been reading your trash about this kid.I say
    KAKA is the new it plus lionel messi(my role model,my idol)
    robinho has been given a thumbs down by the ISH a.k.a

  13. nasiphi says:

    children don’t talk s**t,your strikers are in the building

  14. Spursboi says:

    Not one of you guys has mentioned Fillipo Inzhagi!(If i spelt that right). This guy has been baggign many goals lately, and his 2 against liverpool in the CL. :) Whatcha think?