A look at 10 of the best strikers in the world.
Sir Alex Ferguson swooped to sign the Dutch striker after his best ever club season. Van Persie scored 30 league goals with the Gunners before announcing that he would not be renewing a contract that was due to expire in 2014. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was loath to let his star striker leave. And no wonder; Van Persie possesses a howitzer of a left foot, can link play beautifully and learned to hold the ball up more effectively under the tutelage of the Gunners manager. He was the top Premier League scorer in his first season with United.
The controversial Liverpool striker is one of world soccer’s most technically gifted strikers. Blessed with a fine first touch and tremendous all-round technique, the Uruguayan could add a few more goals to his game but is consistently Liverpool’s most dangerous attacking player and one of the first names on the team sheet for club and country. Was banned for eight matches in 2012 after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
The Manchester City man gives away plenty in height and weight to most other strikers, but deserves to be recognized for his many other qualities, not least his predatory Romario-like finishing. The latest in a string of Argentineans to be dubbed the 'new Maradona,' El Kun’s claim is more substantial than most, given that he is married to the great man's daughter. Earned his nickname because of a Japanese anime character with the same name and similar hair. Outgrew Atletico Madrid and moved to City in the summer of 2011, scoring the winning goal against QPR to seal the title in 2012.
5. Radamel Falcao (Colombia & Monaco)
Replacing Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan in the summer of 2011 would have felt like an unenviable task for any number of the game’s top strikers but after moving to Atletico Madrid goals flowed freely from the boots of Falcao. The Colombian propelled Porto and Atletico to Europa League titles and his form in Spain persuaded cash-rich Monaco to shell out a reported US$80 million in May 2013.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris-Saint Germain & Sweden)
The always controversial Ibrahimovic does as much talking off the field as he does on it. With the exception of a disappointing season at Barcelona where he fell out with Pep Guardiola, Ibra has been a success wherever he has been, winning titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France. The Champions League is still missing from an impressive CV, but in the final years of his career, the Swede will no doubt be doing his best to rectify that with his impressive repertoire of skills in the final third.
7. Carlos Tevez (Argentina & Juventus)
When he played for Manchester United, Tevez was a terrier, snapping at defenders’ heels. At neighbors Manchester City, who he joined in 2009, the Argentinean turned into a pitbull. Tevez deserves his place among the great strikers of the modern game because he is arguably the hardest working player on this list. His time in England came to an end in June 2013 when he made the switch to Italian Champions Juventus.
8. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay & Paris Saint-Germain)
The Danubio youth product enjoyed three phenomenal seasons at Napoli after joining from Palermo in 2010. Cavani scored 78 Serie A goals in three seasons and his consistent performances earned him a big-money move to cash rich Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, much to the frustration of Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis who was loath to see him leave. The most expensive signing in French history at a reported US$84 million, Cavani is a regular for his country with whom he won the 2011 Copa America.
If there were question marks over Rooney's goalscoring abilities, they were well and truly answered in the 2009/10 season. Now that he has added more goals to his game, Rooney is the all-round player. Superb awareness, long-range passing, hold-up play and dribbling combine to make a precious asset for club and country. Often flirts with the Old Trafford exit door, but signed a new long-term contract in February 2014 to all but ensure that the best years of his career will be seen out at United.
10. Diego Costa (Spain & Atletico Madrid)
A breakthrough 2012-13 season triggered a tug-of war between Spain and Brazil for the Atletico striker’s services. Spain won and in doing so secured themselves a striker capable of frightening international defenses with his impressive range of finishing, strong hold-up play and never-say-die spirit. After several loan moves, Costa, who has never played in his homeland of Brazil, quickly made the Atletico fans forget Radamel Falcao, sold to Monaco in the summer of 2013.