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Ranking the five best out-and-out strikers in European Football right now

European football is home to some brilliant goalscorers right now, with each of the continent’s major leagues containing centre-forwards of the highest standard.

Erling Haaland underlined his status as one of the game’s great goalscorers with a five-goal destruction of RB Leipzig this week, a performance which continued his absurd record in the Champions League and booked Manchester City’s place in the quarter-finals.

The Norwegian is enjoying a record-breaking debut season in English football and in celebration of his goal-laden exploits, we’ve attempted to rank the five best out-and-out number nines in the game right now.

5. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski brought an end to his time with Bayern Munich last summer, departing for Barcelona in search of a new challenge.

Having scored 312 goals in the Bundesliga, Lewandowski arrived as one of the greatest goalscorers of all time and enjoyed a blistering start to his career in Catalonia. The Polish veteran scored 13 goals across his first 12 league appearances for Barcelona and while that return has slowed during a period of mixed form, suspension and injury, he is La Liga’s leading goalscorer.

Lewandowski might be coming towards the final seasons of his remarkable career, but he remains one of Europe’s elite finishers and could become the first player in history to win Golden Boot accolades in Germany and Spain this season.

He has averaged a goal every 112 minutes for Barcelona this season, with Xavi’s side nine points clear of Real Madrid in the race for a first La Liga crown since 2018/19.

4. Victor Osimhen

Napoli have been arguably the most exciting team in Europe this season with the club’s charge towards a first Scudetto in 33 years spearheaded by the brilliant Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen. The devastating duo have scored 30 league goals between them this season with Osimhen the leading scorer in Serie A after another impressive campaign.

The Nigeria international was named as Serie A’s Best Young Player in 2021/22, but has since elevated his game up a level to emerge as one of Europe’s top forwards. Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are said to be tracking the 24-year-old, who has 19 goals in just 21 starts for Luciano Spalletti’s league leaders.

Blessed with raw pace, power and a ruthless streak when presented with goalscoring chances, Osimhen boasts a complete centre-forward package. He is five goals ahead of Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez in the race to win the Capocannoniere award as the league’s leading scorer, having bullied the division’s backlines with his athleticism and aerial ability.

Napoli spent a club record €70m to sign the forward from Lille in 2020, a valuation which has risen further across the past two campaigns. Europe’s wealthiest sides might have a keen interest in Osimhen, but will have to pay a premium to prise him from the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

3. Harry Kane

Harry Kane continues to hunt down the Premier League’s all-time goal record, with another fantastic season from the Tottenham star having seen him become just the third player to reach 200 goals in the division.

Having levelled Wayne Rooney’s record for England and moved past Jimmy Greaves’ club total for Spurs, the divisional landmark is one Kane will have firmly in his sights with the 29-year-old now just 57 goals behind Alan Shearer.

Kane scored his 20th league goal of the season last weekend to become just the third player to reach that haul in six separate Premier League campaigns. The goalscoring exploits of Erling Haaland might have overshadowed his achievements somewhat this season, but Kane is capable of breaking his personal Premier League record (30 – 2017/18) with a strong end to the campaign.

Then will come a major decision.

Tottenham’s record goalscorer will enter the final season of his deal in north London and as another season passes without silverware may feel now is the time to move on. Manchester United have been linked with testing Spurs’ resolve, for a footballer who could turn the Red Devils into genuine contenders once again. Kane’s game has evolved in recent seasons with his creative talents having developed to an elite standard, but it is goals which remain his trademark and few provide them with greater regularity.

2. Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema might not quite have reached the sparkling levels of last season this time around, but he remains arguably the best centre-forward in the game.

Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 appearances for Real Madrid during the 2021/22 season, a return which inspired the Spanish champions to La Liga and Champions League success. His performances in Europe were outstanding, with knockout round hat-tricks against PSG and Chelsea ensuring a 14th European crown – and fifth for Benzema – headed to the Bernabeu.

The Frenchman’s finest football has come in recent seasons, as he has aged like a fine wine into his thirties. There is perhaps no number nine as complete as Benzema, a footballer who combines the vision and deftness of a number ten with the power and clinical streak of a traditional centre-forward.

The 34-year-old has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season, including a double as Real Madrid thrashed Liverpool at Anfield last month. He is approaching 20+ goals in all competitions for the 12th time in the past 14 seasons, a measure of his quality and consistency.

1. Erling Haaland

Statistics might just be one factor considered when assessing Europe’s best, but it is difficult to argue with the numbers Erling Haaland has posted this season.

The Norwegian has been a goal machine since bursting onto the scene at Red Bull Salzburg, with a rate of production that has shown no sign of slowing as he has stepped up the levels. His debut season with Manchester City has been one that has seen records regularly fall, as Haaland has added a ruthless focal point to Pep Guardiola’s side.

The 22-year-old leads the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 28 league goals to date, the highest total in Europe’s top five leagues this season. He needs just five more to break the record for a 38-game season, while he is the leading scorer in the Champions League after hitting FIVE in City’s 7-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig this month.

At his current rate there’s no record that appears off limits to Haaland, with his achievements to date coming despite a view (from some) that Manchester City are yet to truly get the best from him as Guardiola’s side adapt to an out-and-out forward. That must be a scary thought for Europe’s defences.

Read – Mind-boggling stats from Erling Haaland’s Champions League career

Read Also – Five high-profile Premier League players whose form has dipped in 2022/23

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