On Tuesday evening we saw Bayern Munich show a lack of discipline by letting an under performing Manchester City side come from 2-1 down to earn a vital 3-2 win against the Bundesliga champions and improve their chances of qualification that little bit more.
City were 1-0 up on the 20 minute mark after Bayern’s Moroccan centre-half Benatia brought down Sergio Aguero in the area, earning himself a red card in the process. The Argentine calmly slotted away the resulting penalty past Neuer. Goals from Alonso and Lewandowski put the Germans in front before half-time but two late goals from Aguero, with the winner coming in the 92nd minute, sealed victory for City and also triggered the debate – just how good is the Kun Aguero?
Many, myself included, believe that Aguero is among the top 10, if not top 5 players in the world. Comparing overall players is a lot harder than comparing strikers, as you have simple categories for the strikers to fill; pace, power, finishing, movement.
I’m going to list my top 5 strikers in the world at the moment; starting with number 5.
5.) Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich & Poland
The 26 year-old is partaking in his first season for the German giants, currently racking up 6 goals from 11 appearances. In past seasons for Dortmund and Poland he has shown his quality; scoring 4 against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
I’m a big fan of the big Polish striker. He’s an excellent target man. He’s strong, has an exquisite touch and leads the line extremely well. He makes smart runs off the ball and can be lethal in front of goal. With 3-4 years left in his prime he will only improve and develop further into one of the best strikers in the world.
4.) Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Paris Saint-Germain & Sweden
There’s not much I can say about Ibrahimovic that you won’t know. He’s enjoyed an illustrious career playing at the top clubs in Europe; Barcelona, Milan and Juventus to name a few.
Calling Zlatan extremely confident is an understatement also, but he has reason to be confident and the game needs characters like him. He’s proven himself as one of the best strikers of a ball in the world. Standing at 6ft 5 inches the Swede is extremely strong and a handful for any defender. However, he does not score as many headers as you would expect; he likes to do his talking with his feet.
Everyone knows the prolific Swedish forward finds the back of the net regularly, but he has scored some outstanding one at that – karate kicks, 35-yard bicycle kicks. He does it all.
A few years ago Ibrahimovic would be near the top but the 33 year-old has started to pick up injuries, something that has affected his performances on the pitch.
3.) Luis Suarez – Barcelona & Uruguay
Controversy has surrounded Luis for the past 2-3 years; biting, racism, more biting. Some of this shadows the extraordinary talent he is. Suarez is skilful in an unconventional way. He can take it past a player without 16 step-overs, his work-rate on and off the ball is unmatched by any and he’s constantly on the move and always wanting the ball.
In the last 2 years of his career at Liverpool it was evident how vital he was to the team. The Uruguayan showed all his qualities last season; although not the fastest player his movement is exceptional and his finishing is up there with the best.
Now surrounded by top class players at Barcelona with the likes of Messi, Neymar and Iniesta; there’s no doubt in my mind that he will play a big part in Barca’s season, tallying up the goals as he goes along.
2.) Lionel Messi – Barcelona & Argentina
Now before everyone loses their heads and starts accusing me of saying my number 1 is better than Messi, I’m not saying they’re a better player; just that they are a better striker in terms of what is required to be a striker.
Just to make that clear.
Lionel Messi: four time Ballon D’or winner, all time La Liga goal scorer and all time Champions League goal scorer. Already a legend at 27. He has lethal finishing and dribbling and can do things that half of us couldn’t even imagine. There’s no doubt he is the most gifted player in the world. However, when you ask yourself what is needed to be the best striker in the world, can you honestly say Messi ticks all the boxes?
It’s all well and good to say that only goals matter for a striker, but in that case surely Ronaldo (who was exempt from this 5 because he is naturally a winger) would be classed as the best striker? That’s not the case though.
A striker in my eyes ideally needs to have 7 factors to be considered the greatest, they are (not in order):
- Shooting ability
- Heading ability
- Link-up play
For me, Messi is exceptional at 5 out of 7 of these factors, but not all 7. There one player who meets all this criteria, and he’s up next.
1.) Sergio Aguero – Manchester City & Argentina
Sergio Aguero, Man City’s hero this season. For me, he’s the best striker in the world at the moment.
The little Argentine has been injury prone for the past few seasons which might rule him out as the best for some but when fit his ability is hard to match. When looking at his statistics it is nothing short of spectacular for a Premier League striker; 64 goals in 99 games (90 in 138 for all competitions). The fact Aguero has proven his ability in La Liga and the Premier League, arguably the best two leagues in the world, speaks volumes.
As listed before, there are 7 factors I think a striker needs to be great and ‘Kun’ has them all. His strength and power is often not recognised, but his upper body strength goes a long way in holding off those big centre-halves. He is not known for his heading but certainly has the ability to score headers as his movement is exceptional. As for the other five bits of criteria that Messi was exceptional in – Aguero is just as good. At this moment in time, Manchester City’s goal machine is hard to beat.
Do you agree with me?
By Sean McPolin – @