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10 greatest strike partnerships in football history

Football has seen great strike partnerships
Football has seen great strike partnerships
ANALYST
Modified 24 Feb 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

In a footballing world dominated by tactical nuance, the average manager's favourite 4-4-2 formation is starting to become a thing of the past. The innate geometrics of the beautiful game have persistently evolved over decades of trial and error and orthodox strike partnerships are harder to come by in the modern footballing diaspora.

While today's managers often prefer more dynamic formations, the efficacy of a powerful strike partnership has often yielded exceptional results in the past. Some of history's best strikers have often thrived in tandem with an attacking teammate by their side and several European giants have benefitted as a result.

Footballing greats often have a transformative impact on their teams but their legendary exploits have often overshadowed a support system that is critical to the success of any team. The likes of Pele and Gerd Muller have been lauded for their impeccable records but owe a significant part of their success to their seldom-mentioned strike partners.

The role of a support striker has often gone unnoticed in history but the position has often been occupied by football's most creative talents. The strike partnerships mentioned in this list possess some illustrious names that thrived primarily because of the relationships they shared with their equally talented partners-in-crime.


#10 Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke (Manchester United)

Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke created history with Manchester United
Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke created history with Manchester United

Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were a match made in heaven. The two Red Devils often had to share their playing time with numerous other strikers under Sir Alex Ferguson but their telepathic relationship and exceptional record made the duo a hallmark of one of the best Manchester United sides in history.

Widely regarded as one of the most formidable partnerships of all time in the Premier League, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke played instrumental roles in Manchester United's treble-winning season in 1999. The duo scored an impressive 53 goals in all competitions and thrived in each other's company as Manchester United stormed past their opponents on the domestic and European front.

Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole seemed to bring the best out of each other and scored crucial goals for Manchester United against some of the best teams in the world at the time. The synergy between the two strikers made Manchester United a deadly counter-attacking force and made the 1998/99 side one of the best Premier League teams in history.


#9 Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit (AC Milan, Netherlands)

AC Milan built one of the best teams of all time
AC Milan built one of the best teams of all time

The Serie A has seen its fair share of magicians over the years but may never witness a player as talented as Marco van Basten again. The Dutch maestro was capable of spectacular moments on the pitch and his unique ability to create history on the pitch made him one of the greatest strikers of his era.

Van Basten plied his trade with AC Milan and the Netherlands and his compatriot Ruud Gullit offered him the ideal foil. Gullit's versatility and tenacity in the final third gave Serie A's formidable defences a run for their money and the magical Van Basten often took full toll of the impending chaos.

With Frank Rijkaard dominated the midfield and the likes of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini forming an unreachable wall in defence, Arrigo Sacchi's AC Milan won two European Cups and two Scudettos. The duo reached its peak in 1989, with AC Milan dismantling Real Madrid and Steaua Bucharest on their way to a European crown.


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Published 24 Feb 2021
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