Disclaimer: This list only features centre-forwards, of those who at least play there regularly, so the likes of Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah and Neymar weren’t considered. They have their own list…
10. MAURO ICARDI (INTER)
Icardi is still largely untested at the very highest level, having never appeared at a World Cup and only just complete his first (unsuccessful) season 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.
Before his untimely spat with manager Luciano Spalletti, Icardi had made the net bulge 15 times in 28 matches of 2018/19, after 29 and 26 in the two seasons prior. 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. Most likely this summer.
9. 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Firmino isn’t a striker in the mould of most players covered in this list, and would probably play a more withdrawn role under another manager, but he’s been used as the central attacker for the vast majority of Jurgen Klopp’s tenure at Anfield and therefore qualifies for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 – 38 in his last 90 games for Liverpool since the start of last season – 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.
8. 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; 111 goals in his last 124 outings for PSG is a remarkable record, and the former Napoli man also outshone compatriot Luis Suarez at the 2018 World Cup.
7. LUIS SUAREZ (BARCELONA)
Suarez turned 32 in January but remains one of the deadliest centre-forwards around. Only one player has scored more goals in La Liga this season (guess who?), which means the Barcelona frontman has scored 169 times in 232 appearances for the Catalan giants – a particularly impressive record when you consider that the Uruguayan offers plenty more besides goals.
Technically gifted and surprisingly strong, Suarez is the archetypal South American striker. He can drop deep or sprint in behind, is extremely well-rounded, and on his day virtually impossible to play against. Those days aren’t quite so frequent as they used to be, but rest assured: he’s still got it.
6. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BAYERN MUNICH)
Lewandowski endured a horrible World Cup as Poland crashed out in the group stage, but the striker bore 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, and his touch, movement and link-up play are still outstanding. If he can produce the goods in the Champions League – so far it’s eight goals in seven games for 2018/19 – then he could well retain his place higher up this list.
5. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Griezmann wants to be considered among the genuine contenders for the Ballon d’Or, but that feat is always going to be difficult to attain while he remains at Atletico Madrid. More often that not the individual prize goes to a winner of the Champions League, and Atleti fell short in the group stage – although they did attone somewhat by lifting the Europa League trophy aloft instead.
Still, on an individual level the 27-year-old is talismanic for Diego Simeone’s side. Griezmann has 18 goals for Atletico this season; the next-highest scorer is central midfielder Koke on just five. The Frenchman leads the line brilliantly in Madrid and was terrific as France won the World Cup too – but sadly for him, he might always be waiting for that elusive individual gong.
4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Bloody hell, 2018 was good wasn’t it? If Mbappe’s breakthrough season at Monaco in 2016/17 was special – the Ligue 1 title and Champions League semi-finals to show for it – then 2017/18 was even better. The top-flight title with PSG was a foregone conclusion after his €180m move, but the World Cup in Russia showed just what a special talent the 20-year-old is.
Mbappe was influential in France’s run to victory, tearing Argentina apart in the last 16 with a particularly scintillating display, and the young speedster has hit the ground running in 2018/19, too: 22 goals in 20 games in all competitions, including four in six Champions League matches. Manchester United didn’t get away unscathed.
3. 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 to climb back above Gabriel Jesus in the centre-forward pecking order.
The 30-year-old’s combination play and ability to press from the front have improved under Guardiola’s tutelage, and he has ultimately become more of an all-round – and better – striker for it. 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.
2. 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. A true all-rounder.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
OK, so we’re cheating a little bit here – Ronaldo has been playing off the left for Juventus after ending a nine-year association with Real Madrid to join the Bianconeri last summer, but he’s become a predatory striker by nature and another prolific campaign in Serie A is proving as much.
The Portuguese preener is 34 now but tops Italy’s goal chart in his debut season, though he has work ahead to land a fourth straight Champions League winner’s medal after Juve were humbled 2-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash. But if anyone can…