Written by Jack Bryant Sub-edited by Ciaran Coyle
In the 2010’s we witnessed some incredible strikers. Different strikers were at their best at certain clubs and in certain competitions but overall, who was the best between 2010 and 2020?
This analysis will only include out-and-out strikers. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will not be included as they have not played in the striker position for most of their careers. All statistics are courtesy of Transfermarkt.
More is expected from strikers these days than just goals, but they are still the most important aspect of a striker’s game. This table shows the top five goal scorers in Europe’s top five leagues (La Liga, Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1) for club and country from the start of 2010 to the end of 2019, along with the number of games they played and their goal to game ratio.
|Goal to Game Ratio
Robert Lewandowski scored the most goals in the decade with 409, 57 more than second place. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has the best goal to game ratio with 0.73. The difference between first and second in goal to game ratios is only 0.09, showing how close they all are in goal scoring ability. Does Ibrahimovic come out on top or does Lewandowski’s extra 170 games make his ratio more impressive?
As I briefly mentioned above, strikers nowadays are expected to contribute more to the team than just scoring goals. Creating goals is usually the primary role of a winger or an attacking midfielder; however some of the best strikers are also very good creators. This table shows the number of assists each of the five strikers managed between the beginning of 2010 and the end of 2019.
|Assist to Game Ratio
Luis Suarez is by far and away the best creator out of the five, having set up 61 more goals than Lewandowski in second. Cavani is comfortably the worst creator in the group with a measly 0.11 assist to game ratio.
Best in the Champions League
Football players play most of their career games in domestic leagues, while that makes it the easiest way to compare players, some leagues are easier to score in than others. I feel as though their performances in the UEFA Champions League show whether they could replicate their domestic form in any league. This table will compare their goals + assists and G/A ratios in the Champions League throughout the 2010’s.
|Goals + Assists
|G/A to Game Ratio
Robert Lewandowski tops the list with a 0.92 G/A to game ratio. The 32-year-old has also played over 25 games more than any other striker in the table. The 32-year-old along with Luis Suarez are also the only two strikers in the table who have won the Champions League.
Best for Country
There have been some legendary players at club level who did not perform to the same standard for their countries. With the five strikers so close in ability, their performances for country could prove to be a defining factor. This final table will compare their goals + assists and G/A to game ratios for their respective national teams.
|Goals + Assists
|G/A to Game Ratio
Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a brilliant record for Sweden in the last decade, boasting a 1.0 G/A per game ratio. Cavani and Aguero both have the worst records for their respective countries, while Suarez and Lewandowski both managed 80 goal contributions.
I have scored the players in each table out of five, one being the worst ranked and five being the best ranked, to make an overall standing of who the best striker of the last decade is. If you topped all four tables, you would have a score of 20. The results are in the table below.
|Luis Suarez/Robert Lewandowski
The analysis shows that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come out on top. The stats could not separate Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski as they are both joint second. Sergio Aguero and Edinson Cavani are way behind the pace, neither of whom ranked higher than fourth in any category. They all came out with exceptional numbers and with the current decade already looking exciting in the world of football, it will be interesting to see who tops this list by the end of 2029.