Ranked: The top 10 centre forwards in European football right now
Though defences are meant to form the foundation on which titles are won, the standout players in league-winning sides are often star strikers whose goals – and assists – blow opponents aside.
As football evolves, centre forwards are now expected to be more than just goals, with aerial ability and link up play vital to the way teams function.
Europe’s top five leagues are currently blessed with an abundance of exciting strikers, ranging from young blood to seasoned-veterans.
Taking into consideration performances this season, Squawka has ranked the top ten in Europe’s top five leagues.
For the purpose of this article, Paulo Dybala, for instance, does not count as a centre forward due to playing as a second striker behind Gonzalo Higuain at Juventus.
10. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Despite various minor injury problems, Aguero has still hit 20 goals or more in each of the past three seasons. When on the pitch, Aguero always proves himself to be a threat and has risen to the challenge set by Gabriel Jesus.
Averaging 1.16 goals per 90 minutes and having made three assists in the Premier League this season, Aguero remains a world-class forward.
9. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
Bundesliga’s top scorer last season, Aubameyang has picked up from where he left off with 10 goals in his opening ten games from 39 shots. A healthy rivalry with Robert Lewandowski over the past few seasons has pushed the Gabon international to great heights.
Aubameyang has 10 Bundesliga goals overall but it’s the fact he has scored in six games that leaves him lower than certain other entries on this list.
8. Simone Zaza (Valencia)
Scoring eight goals in six league games is the kind of feat that’ll make people forget about a particularly embarrassing penalty miss, or failed West Ham loan spell.
Simone Zaza has nine overall, a tally only Leo Messi can beat in the Spanish top flight this season, and that has seen Valencia – who spent last season flirting with relegation – up in second place behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.
He’s become something of a talisman, too. Zaza has a 50% shot conversion rate in the league this season and Valencia have won every game in which he’s scored.
7. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Fighting with Aubameyang to be Bundesliga top scorer, Lewandowski has scored 30 goals in each of the past two seasons.
Though predominantly right-footed, three of Lewandowski’s league goals this season have come via his left foot while he has also scored once with his head.
As ever, Lewandowski’s conversion rate is up there with the very best as he finished off over one-third of his chances in the Bundesliga (35.7%) so far this season.
6. Mauro Icardi (Inter)
The past few years have been pretty barren for Inter and things would’ve been far worse for the famous Milanese club had Mauro Icardi not been scoring goals at a regular rate.
Icardi was Serie A’s leading marksman in 2014-15 with 22 goals and he bettered it last term with 24 goals in 34 matches. He looks destined to be in the running for the golden boot this year too with 11 goals in as many matches.
Impressively, Icardi virtually always forces the goalkeeper into a save as is shown by his 76% shot accuracy rate this season.
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Dubbed a one-season wonder by opposition fans, Kane has now been Premier League top scorer for two consecutive years and looks likely to make it three in a row.
Despite not scoring in August, Kane is the Premier League’s top scorer and no player has taken more shots than the Englishman’s 56 this season.
How Spurs missed him in their recent defeat to Manchester United.
4. Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)
Since Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure, Cavani has been allowed to play as a striker at PSG and both player and club have benefitted.
49 goals in all competitions last season has been complemented with 15 in Ligue 1 and Champions League this season and his brilliant free-kick in the dying moments against Marseille recently showed he is far more than just a penalty box poacher.
3. Dries Mertens (Napoli)
Converted from left-wing to centre-forward following Arkadiusz Milik’s season-ending knee injury, Mertens’ stock has risen astronomically with 34 Serie A goals since his switch to the centre.
This season, the Belgian has shown he hasn’t lost his creative side by winning 49% of his take-ons and registering two assists from 12 chances created.
2. Radamel Falcao (Monaco)
After two poor seasons in the Premier League with Manchester United and Chelsea in a return from a cruciate ligament injury, many had decided that Falcao’s career was up.
However, on his return to Monaco, the Colombian has proven any doubters wrong with 21 goals last season to help his side to the Ligue 1 title.
The Monaco captain has also failed to score in just one league game this season – a 4-0 defeat to Nice. Winning 46% of his aerial duels in Ligue 1 this season, four of Falcao’s 13 goals have been scored with his head.
1. Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
Since returning to Serie A, Immobile has found form once again and this season has already contributed to 20 goals for Lazio with six assists to add to his 14 goals.
With eight goals in his last six games, including two in a 2-1 win over Juventus, Immobile is Serie A’s top goalscorer. The Italian also has an impressive shot accuracy of 70%, while converting 32.6% of his chances.