Over the years, as football fans, we have been treated to some truly special moments. We have grown so accustomed to players scoring 40, 50 goals a season, that we have set that as a standard to measure the impact of forwards on their teams. Football over the years has changed from the defensive, tactical, physical sport that it once was, to a more attacking, possession, and fast-paced sport.
Football has changed with time. Gone are the days of defenders like Paolo Maldini, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Japp Stam, defenders who would give their lives before conceding goals. Gone are the days when the midfield would be filled with warriors like Roy Keane, Patrick Viera, Gennaro Gattuso, who would always come to games, ready for battle.
Football in the 21st century has become more fluid, more attacking, and more goal-oriented. Scoring goals is the only way teams can win football matches. Modern-day greats like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski, and so on have gone to show that goals truly are everything.
Since the beginning of the century an attacker has won the Ballon D'or 16 out of a possible 19 times. Forwards have the ability to change games. Forwards have the capacity, to produce that one moment of magic, that can define, a game, a season, or a tournament.
Mbappe's solo run against Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo's bicycle kick against Juventus, Gareht Bale's burst of speed against Marc Bartra in the Copa Del Rey final, Messi's run past four helpless Real Madrid defenders in the Champions League semi final, Ronaldinho's standing ovation at the Bernabeu for his two goal performance. The list can go on and on.
We will now take a look at the:
Top 10 fowards of the 21st century
#10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic - AC Milan and Sweden
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has always described himself as 'a lion amongst men'. His goal-scoring record and trophy cabinet only reiterates his statement. In a career spanning 21 years and counting,the Swedish maverick, has scored over 550 goals at club level, and 62 goals in 116 appearances for Sweden at the International level.
Zlatan has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, like Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and been the top goal-scorer and marquee player at all of these clubs. He went on to win 9 league titles in three different countries during his career.
At 38, Zlatan is still banging in the goals for AC Milan in the Serie A, with 10 league goals in 18 appearances for the club in his second stint. Zlatan has been a model of consistency, goal scoring, strength and determination throughout his career.
#9 Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich and Poland
There is not much that needs to be said about Robert Lewandowski. His sheer number of goals speaks for itself. Lewandowski has just come off a season where he scored 56 goals in all competitions.
Lewandowski was the top goal scorer, in all three competitions that Bayern won last season. Many fans and pundits believe that if the Ballon D'or award was not cancelled this year, Robert Lewandowski would have won it.
Lewandowski has scored 236 Bundesliga goals in 321 appearances, for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. He is the Bundesliga's all-time leading foreign goal scorer. With 61 international goals, Lewandowski is the all-time top scorer for Poland. He has been named the Polish Player of the Year a record eight times.
In his 10 years with Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the Polish striker has won 8 league titles, a Champions League and four DFB Pokals.