Goalscorers often grab the headlines and command the biggest transfer fees, and with good reason. Sticking the ball in the back of the net is the hardest part of football, not that this lot struggle with that task.
We’ve attempted to rank the five best strikers in world football.
Ranking the five best strikers in the world right now:
5. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Victor Osimhen fired himself to cult status in Naples last season as the forward’s goals led Napoli to a drought-breaking league title. Osimhen ended the campaign as the league’s leading scorer to win the Capocannoniere award in Serie A, with his 26 goals propelling Napoli to a first Scudetto in 33 years.
For his efforts, the forward won the Serie A Footballer of the Year and African Footballer of the Year awards, becoming the first Nigerian to win the latter award this century. An all-round centre-forward package, the 25-year-old is dynamic and direct, boasts instinctive finishing off either foot and a terrific leap to get above defenders aerially.
Napoli are aware Osimhen’s time with the club might be approaching its conclusion, with several of Europe’s elite considering activating a release clause in the region of £111m this summer. First, the focus is on success with club and country. Nigeria take on host nation Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday, as Osimhen and the Super Eagles target a first continental triumph in over a decade.
4. Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Lautaro Martinez has been in sensational form during the current campaign with the Argentine elevating himself into the conversation surrounding Europe’s top centre-forward.
Martinez has scored 19 goals in 19 league starts for Inter Milan this season and is seven clear of nearest challenger Dusan Vlahovic in the race for the Capocannoniere award in Serie A.
The 26-year-old has now scored 115 goals across the last four-and-a-half seasons for the Nerazzurri and recently passed Christian Vieri in Inter’s all-time leading scorers list. Martinez is writing his chapter in the tale of great Argentine strikers in Italy’s top flight, following compatriots such as Gabriel Batistuta, Hernan Crespo and Gonzalo Higuain in thriving in the division.
No player in Europe’s top five leagues has greater over-performed their Expected Goals (xG) this season.
Lautaro Martinez is exceeding his expected goals tally more than any other player in Europe’s big 5 leagues. He has scored 19 Serie A goals with an xG of 11.9xG, exceeding his xG by 7.1xG.
Doing numbers. 📈 pic.twitter.com/FxM7ENeMMM
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 7, 2024
3. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Erling Haaland would have no doubt commanded the top spot on this list last season, following a debut campaign of obliterating records in a Manchester City shirt. Haaland scored 52 goals in all competitions, a record for a Premier League player, and set a new benchmark of 36 goals in a single Premier League campaign.
The Norwegian’s prolific record fired Pep Guardiola’s side to treble success and he has continued in fine form again this time around, scoring 19 goals in 24 games despite a recent period sidelined with a foot issue.
Haaland is a goalscoring machine and perhaps the ideal focal point for a Manchester City team that carves out chances better than any side in Europe. The cast of creatives in the City side allows Haaland to focus his attention on events inside the box, an area in which the 23-year-old comes alive.
He might be less well-rounded than other names on this list, but he’s a force of nature when chances arrive.
2. Harry Kane (Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich broke their transfer record by signing Harry Kane from Tottenham last summer, and the 30-year-old has lived up to the price tag with a record-breaking Bundesliga start.
Kane has set a new record for the most ever Bundesliga goals scored after 20 games in the division (24) and has 28 goals and eight assists in all competitions this season.
Already the highest-scoring Englishman in a Bundesliga season, eclipsing Kevin Keegan and Jadon Sancho, his return has included three hat-tricks and a treble against Borussia Dortmund on his Der Klassiker debut.
Most goals scored in their first Bundesliga season for Bayern:
◎ 24 – Luca Toni (2007/08)
◉ 24 – Harry Kane (2023/24)
Harry equals another record. 💪 pic.twitter.com/vLf5KkAgVl
— Squawka (@Squawka) February 3, 2024
Kane’s goalscoring has headlined his time in Germany, though his ability to link the game and pick passes has also been evident. In a Bayern side with wide players capable of devastating runs into central areas, Kane has been the perfect focal point to knit together the Bavarian’s attack.
After making the move to Munich in search of elusive silverware, Kane will be focused on overhauling Bayer Leverkusen in the title race and Euro 2024 success with England, in Germany, this summer.
1. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
The caveat to declaring Kylian Mbappe the best striker in the world is the lower level of competition in Ligue 1.
Mbappe has, however, proven himself on the biggest stage with his electric performances for France underlining his status as arguably the world’s finest footballer.
The 25-year-old has conquered French football and this summer appears the right time to move on, having scored 242 goals in 289 games for Paris Saint-Germain and won Ligue 1’s leading scorer accolade in five consecutive campaigns.
3️⃣0️⃣ season goals for Kylian Mbappé! ⚽🔥 pic.twitter.com/RWI21ldgrK
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) February 7, 2024
Real Madrid appears the obvious destination for Mbappe, who will be available for free in July. He appears the perfect fit for the demands of the Spanish giants, who will provide the platform for the forward to claim Champions League success.
Mbappe can do things others on this list can not and, above all, possesses the attribute defenders most fear – unstoppable pace. It will be fascinating to watch how he adapts to change if, as expected, he leaves Paris this summer.