Ranking the 10 best forwards in 2020

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema
Shambhu Ajith

The ultimate objective of any footballing side is to score goals and win games. As such, no football team is complete without a proper striker who can find the back of the net on a regular basis.

When we rank the best forwards of 2020, we are not strictly looking at just their goalscoring rates. We're looking at centre-forwards or number 9s who have led from the front for their respective sides and been effective at their jobs.

It's a year where we haven't had the chance to see who gets the Ballon d'Or and as the year draws to a close, it is imperative that we honour the finest footballers from the calendar year. On that note, let's take a look at the 10 best forwards in 2020.

#10 Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland

The 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund sensation is surely one of the next big things in football. Viewed as a direct successor to the lion Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Erling Haaland is a relentless goalscoring machine.

It's a rare thing to see a 20-year-old striker who is so assured and sorted in his ways. He can physically dominate oppositions and his finishing is elite. It looks like he is having fun on the football pitch every time he breaks into the final third and has been nothing short of an inspired signing for Borussia Dortmund.

Ever since joining Dortmund in January, he has scored 23 goals in the Bundesliga alone. He has scored 10 goals from eight appearances so far in the league this term.

Haaland has been virtually unstoppable in the UEFA Champions League as well and has scored a total of 16 goals in the elite European competition over the last two seasons from across 10 appearances.

#9 Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is not for everyone. His blunt first touch is a turn-off for most and it was perhaps his biggest undoing at Manchester United. However, he silenced those people who had written him off when he secured the switch to Inter Milan by scoring more than 30 goals in his debut season for the Nerazzurri.

Lukaku has picked up from where he left off last season and he has 11 goals and 2 assists to his name from 13 appearances in the Serie A this so far. He has continued to be an absolute beast in front of goal for Belgium and scored five goals from five appearances in the UEFA Nations League.

He puts his physicality to good use and while he's not great at aerial duels, he more than makes up for it with his pace, movement and ability to physically dominate even the strongest of defenders.

#8 Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema

The Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is one of the most recognizable players in that storied white shirt of the Blancos now. Several big players have come and gone but Benzema has maintained base at the Santiago Bernabeu and though he is not alien to a rough patch, he has proved that he is a cut above the rest.

At 33, Benzema continues to be one of the finest marksmen on the planet. He is not just a fox-in-the-box. The Frenchman's overall game is well rounded and he is a menacing presence in the final third with his goalscoring as well as creativity.

The Real Madrid no. 9 has scored seven goals and provided five assists in the La Liga already this season from 12 appearances. He scored 21 goals and provided eight assists last season. Benzema still has a lot to offer to the world of football and it is evident from the way he continues to deliver on the big stage.

#7 Harry Kane

Harry Kane
Harry Kane

The Tottenham Hotspur hitman has been in brilliant form this season. The thing about Harry Kane is that he is not just a good poacher but an excellent overall footballer and he is the kind of player that his current club manager Jose Mourinho loves to have on his side.

Kane is an absolute machine in the final third, scoring and setting up goals in equal measure. He has scored nine goals and provided 10 assists in the Premier League so far this term from across 14 appearances.

He had hit a lean patch last season (by his own standards) but still managed to score 18 goals in the Premier League. He scored six more in the UEFA Champions League.

Harry Kane can shoot with either foot and is excellent at finding the back of the net from range. He is also excellent at aerial duels and is a threat from set-pieces. If he kicks on in the same kind of form he's shown in the first part of the new season, he will clock some incredible numbers by the time this season runs its course.

#6 Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr.

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar
Kylian Mbappe and Neymar

The Paris Saint-Germain duo of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar were the shining lights for Thomas Tuchel's side as they made it to the final of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League campaign. If they had just taken their chances against Bayern Munich in the first half of the final, they could have even been crowned European Champions.

Their numbers are not out of this world because the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mbappe still managed to score 18 goals in the Ligue but he did that from just 20 appearances. He scored a further five and assisted five more for PSG in the UEFA Champions League.

Meanwhile, Neymar has grown in maturity and scored 13 goals and provided six assists from across 15 appearances in the Ligue 1 last season as he missed out on a chunk of the season due to an injury.

He was a class apart in the Champions League as well, scoring thrice and assisting four times. Mbappe has been in great form in the new season and has taken his goal tally to double figures already, scoring 11 goals from 12 appearances in the league.

Meanwhile, Neymar Jr. is on three goals and three assists from seven appearances. When the deadly duo are in top form, they are nothing short of a nightmare to any defensive line on the continent.

#5 Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah

The Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been one of the most vital cogs in Jurgen Klopp's side and has been a standout performer ever since joining from AS Roma in the 2017-18 season.

Salah has been in sublime form this season and has already scored 13 goals in the Premier League from as many appearances. He has also provided three assists in the meantime.

The Egyptian has played a crucial role in ensuring that the mounting injury concerns do not affect Liverpool's title challenge and they remain at the top in short part owing to his exploits in the final third.

Salah had an excellent 2019-20 season as well, scoring 23 goals and providing 12 assists across the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

#4 Ciro Immobile

Benevento Calcio v SS Lazio - Serie A
Benevento Calcio v SS Lazio - Serie A

The winner of the European Golden shoe for the 2019/20 season, Ciro Immobile outscored all the elite attackers in Europe by netting 36 times in the Italian top flight from 37 appearances.

Immobile is a late bloomer and finally found his home at Lazio after being a journeyman for the early part of his career. At 30-years-old, Immobile has quite a few years of football left in him and he seems to be showing no signs of slowing down either.

The Italian has scored 13 goals and provided three assists from across 16 appearances in the Serie A and UEFA Champions League combined so far this season.

One of the best finishers on the continent, Ciro Immobile has excellent vision as well and can pick some killer passes which makes him a valuable asset and that's why his teammates love playing alongside him.

#3 Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi broke the record for the most number of goals for a single club last night by netting the 644th goal of his Barcelona career against Real Valladolid. He broke a record that had stood for close to five decades and it looks a near impossible record to be broken.

Sure, Messi has not been at his best this season but his mediocre is game enough to stand him in good stead to finish in the top three of the FIFA Best Men's Player Awards. Messi enjoyed an excellent 2019-20 season, where he scored 25 goals and provided 21 assists in the La Liga alone.

He has already scored 10 goals and provided three assists from across 18 games in the La Liga and UEFA Champions League this season and that's before he has even hit his stride properly.

#2 Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is 35-years-old and at a point where most footballers decide to call it a day after seeing their abilities wane, the Portuguese supremo is still looking to push himself and improve. And boy, his hard work is paying dividends and then some.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in incredible form this season despite having endured a bout of the coronavirus and has been Andrea Pirlo's main man this season. He has scored 12 goals from 10 appearances in the Serie A and has scored four goals in the Champions League from four appearances.

He enjoyed incredible returns last season as well and led from the front as Juventus won their ninth consecutive Scudetto. He scored 31 goals in the Serie A and provided five assists from across 33 appearances.

#1 Robert Lewandowski

FC Bayern Muenchen Players And Staff Watch FIFA The BEST Awards
FC Bayern Muenchen Players And Staff Watch FIFA The BEST Awards

The man who would have undoubtedly won the Ballon d'Or this year had the award not been cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Robert Lewandowski is in a different class of his own.

He scored 55 goals for Bayern Munich across various competitions in the 2019-20 season and was an unstoppable force in attack for the Bavarians as they won the continental treble.

Lewandowski is hands down the best number 9 in the world and he continues to make goalscoring look like a walk in the park. He has been in sublime form this season as well and has scored a whopping 17 goals in addition to providing four assists from across 12 appearances in the Bundesliga so far.

He is on his way to having yet another incredible season and the way he's going, the FIFA Best Men's Player of the Year will stake a claim for the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy when the award returns next year.

Edited by Shambhu Ajith


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