The 5 Greatest strikers of all time

Marco Van Basten
Marco Van Basten
Subhadeep Roy

Scoring goals is the most important thing in football. A team would not be able to win a football match without scoring goals irrespective of how well they might otherwise have played. Therefore, strikers are very important to a team because they usually are the match-winners. They also provide the defining moments in a football match, which remain in the minds of football-lovers for a long time.

Football has been graced by a number of extraordinary strikers over the decades. Therefore, it is not easy to select the top five strikers from a plethora of greats. Let us have a look at the list now:

#5. Marco Van Basten

Van Basten was quite possibly the best player in the world during his prime. However, it remains a pity that his prime did not last long. He had recurrent injuries which shortened his career. Still, he would comfortably feature among the greatest strikers of all time by virtue of his string of excellent performances for both his club and country.

Van Basten gained prominence while playing for Ajax Amsterdam, but became a legend while playing for AC Milan. He was a very important part of the great Milan side of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which won every possible title in Europe and the world. He joined forces with fellow countrymen Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit to make Milan a tremendous side. He became a rage in Italy with his acrobatic volleys and opportunistic strikes. He also won three Ballon d’Ors, two European Cups and three Serie A titles for Milan.

Basten was very successful for his national team too, and won the European Championship with the Netherlands in 1988, scoring in the final against USSR in that tournament. Much was expected of him in the 1990 World Cup, but he could do little. He finished with a very impressive tally of 277 goals from 373 matches in his club career and 24 goals from 58 matches for his national team, retired from football in 1992, and would always remain among the finest footballers his country has ever produced.

#4. Romario de Souza Faria


With his dribbling and superb ball-control, Romario quite possibly is the most clinical and lethal player ever inside the penalty box. He also could shoot accurately and managed to be at goal-scoring positions most of the time. He won a world cup almost single-handedly for Brazil in 1994 and was a part of the very successful PSV Eindhoven and FC Barcelona teams of the 1990s.

Romario also played for a number of Brazilian teams such as Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama, and finished with 679 goals in 886 matches. He had an excellent scoring rate for the national team as well with 55 goals in 70 games. He was the top scorer in the Dutch league and scored 39 goals in 65 matches for Barcelona after joining them in 1993. He was also a member of the Copa America winning teams of 1989 and 1997, and won the FIFA player of the year in 1994. He also received of the Golden Ball in the 1994 World Cup.

#3. Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima


Ronaldo is one of the greatest strikers to have played the game. He set the Dutch League alight as a prodigious teenager with PSV Eindhoven and was called O Fenomeno or The Phenomenon.

Ronaldo joined Barcelona from PSV in 1996 and was with them for a season. He scored an astonishing 47 goals in 49 matches in the solitary season he played for Barca and won the Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with them.

He then joined Inter Milan in 1997, but his career got hampered by a terrible injury while playing for the Italian giants. He joined Real Madrid in 2002 and played there till 2007. Ronaldo scored a very impressive 352 goals from 518 matches in his club career and also won the Ballon d’Or twice. He also won two La Liga titles and one UEFA Cup Winners Cup title in his career.

He also won two World Cups with the Brazilian national team and finished runner-up once. He scored 15 goals in three World Cups and was the top goal-scorer in World Cups till Miroslav Klose broke his record in 2014. Ronaldo also scored a brace in the final of the World Cup in 2002 to win it for his country. He also remains one of the very few players to have won the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball in World Cups. He also won two Copa America titles for Brazil. He scored 62 goals in 98 matches for the Brazilian national team.

#2. Gerd Muller

Gerd Muller
Gerd Muller

Gerd Muller is the greatest goal-scorer in the history of football. His astounding tally of 68 goals in only 62 matches for West Germany is proof of his outstanding abilities as a striker. He was also very prolific for his club Bayern Munich and remains the highest scorer in the history of the Bundesliga with 615 goals in 636 matches.

Muller played in only two World Cups but scored an incredible 14 goals which makes him the third highest goal scorer in the history of the tournament. Muller was clinical and lethal inside the opposition penalty box. He scored 10 goals in the 1970 World Cup including two hat-tricks and won the prestigious Golden Boot, but Italy defeated West Germany in an epic semi-final clash.

In 1974 he helped his country win the World Cup as hosts, scoring four goals in the tournament including the match-winner against Netherland in the final. He also won four Bundesliga titles, three European Cups and one European Cup Winners' Cup for Bayern in the 13 seasons he spent with the club. He was duly named "Der Bomber" or " The Bomber".

#1. Edson Arantes do NascimentoPele


Pele quite possibly remains the finest footballer of all time and also the greatest striker ever. He scored more than 600 goals for his beloved club Santos and made them the best club in the world in the 1960s. He won the Intercontinental cup twice for Santos by beating Inter Milan and Benfica respectively. He also won the Brazilian league numerous times for Santos.

Pele also remains the only footballer to have won three World Cups. He became famous after the 1958 World Cup that Brazil won, as he had scored six goals in it including a brace in the final. He again made his mark in the 1970 World Cup by scoring four goals including one against Italy in the final. Pele finished with 77 goals from 92 international matches. He was also a complete footballer with no apparent weakness. He could shoot well with both his feet, was a brilliant dribbler and passer and great header. There has been none quite like him in the history of the game.

Edited by Nnanna Mba


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