It's a golden age for frontmen right now, but these 10 have proved themselves the cream of the crop... in our opinion, at least
: This list only features centre-forwards, so the likes of Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Mohamed Salah and Neymar weren’t considered. We'll be featuring them in their own list...
10. KARIM BENZEMA (REAL MADRID)
Despite often bearing the brunt of Real Madrid fans’ criticism during his time at the club, Benzema remains a regular starter at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus has seen the former France international return to the spotlight at the start of 2018/19, and Benzema has duly responded with five goals in his first four games.
His strike rate was disappointing last term – 12 in 47 matches – but even then the former Lyon man was helping Ronaldo to shine. Benzema has always stood out for his intelligent movement and link-up play, qualities which are essential to any team but often result in other players taking the limelight.
9. ROMELU LUKAKU (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Lukaku bettered last season’s tally of 16 Premier League goals twice with Everton and once with West Brom, but 2017/18 brought evidence that the Belgium international has added facets to his game which he had previously been accused of lacking.
Indeed, his touch and contributions outside the box have improved significantly, and it was notable that he was one of a very small group of players who escaped Jose Mourinho’s criticism for the entire campaign. Still only 25, Lukaku has plenty of time to develop further.
8. MAURO ICARDI (INTER)
Icardi is still largely untested at the very highest level, having never appeared at a World Cup or in the Champions League. The Argentine will have the chance to end his absence from the latter competition this season following Inter’s qualification, which owed much to his contributions in front of goal.
Icardi made the net bulge 29 times in Serie A in 2017/18, having struck 24 league goals the season before. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the ex-Sampdoria sharp-shooter has carried the Nerazzurri at times in recent years, and he wouldn’t be short of offers if he ever called time on his employment at San Siro.
7. ROBERTO FIRMINO (LIVERPOOL)
Firmino isn’t a striker in the mould of most players covered in this list, and would probably play a more withdrawn role under another manager, but he’s been used as the central attacker for the vast majority of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure at Anfield and therefore qualifies for selection.
Firmino’s goal record – 40 in his last 99 games for Liverpool – is good rather than great, but it’s his ability as a facilitator which really sets him apart. Intelligent, dynamic and technically gifted, the selfless Brazilian invariably brings out the best in those around him.
6. EDINSON CAVANI (PSG)
Cavani seems to have shaken off his unfortunate habit of missing clear-cut chances in high-profile matches, but his prior reputation as an unreliable striker was always a little unfair. The Uruguayan has proven his class since being shifted to his favoured centre-forward role in 2016, having previously spent large chunks of his PSG career out on the flank to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Cavani’s willingness to fulfil such a role says plenty about his work ethic and attitude, but he’s also a genuine superstar on his day. Ninety-one goals in his last 99 outings for PSG is a record any marksman would be proud of, and the former Napoli man also outshone compatriot Luis Suarez at the 2018 World Cup.
5. SERGIO AGUERO (MANCHESTER CITY)
Aguero’s days at Manchester City looked to be numbered early on in Pep Guardiola’s tenure, but the Argentina international has demonstrated his enduring quality in the last year to climb back above Gabriel Jesus in the centre-forward pecking order.
Aguero’s combination play and ability to press from the front have improved under Guardiola’s tutelage, and the 30-year-old has ultimately become more of an all-round striker. Sticking the ball in the back of the net remains his forte, though, and there are few players more clinical than City’s record goalscorer.
4. HARRY KANE (TOTTENHAM)
Winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Russia capped a remarkable few years for Kane, who has soared from Tottenham reserve to becoming one of the best strikers on the planet since 2014. The England captain scored 30 Premier League goals for the first time in his career last term, adding to the 29 he plundered in 2016/17 and the 25 he managed the season before that.
Finishing is Kane’s standout attribute, but he’s also a brilliant passer who often drifts into deeper areas to pick up possession and bring team-mates into play. And although the 25-year-old isn’t the quickest, he’s an expert at finding half a yard of space in and around the penalty area.
3. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BAYERN MUNICH)
Lewandowski had a disappointing World Cup as Poland crashed out in the group stage, but the striker bears little responsibility after being afforded scant service in his country’s crunch games against Senegal and Colombia.
The 30-year-old remains one of the greatest strikers in the game, as he continues to demonstrate at Bayern Munich. Lewandowski has broken the 40-goal barrier in all competitions in each of the last three full seasons, while the Pole's touch, movement and link-up play are still outstanding.
2. LUIS SUAREZ (BARCELONA)
Suarez turns 32 in January but remains one of the foremost centre-forwards around. The Barcelona man has scored 154 times in 202 appearances for the Catalan giants, which is a particularly impressive record when you consider that the Uruguayan offers plenty more besides goals.
Technically gifted and physically strong, Suarez is the archetypal South American frontman. Able to both drop deep and sprint in behind, the former Liverpool man is extremely well-rounded and, on his day, impossible to play against.
1. CRISTIANO RONALDO (JUVENTUS)
Ronaldo is yet to score a goal for his new club after ending a nine-year association with Real Madrid to join Juventus in the summer, but there’s no doubt he’ll be firing once the business end of the campaign rolls around. The Portugal international also started last season slowly, before scoring 15 goals to help los Blancos win the Champions League for the third season on the bounce.
Still occasionally deployed on the left but now mostly used at centre-forward, Ronaldo has completed his transformation from flying winger to penalty-box predator – all while remaining one of the two best players on the planet.
Information is Power