The Best Strikers in the World in 2022

Mbappe | Haaland | Vlahovic | Benzema
Mbappe | Haaland | Vlahovic | Benzema
FootySamba

published 14:35, 12 December 2022

Who is the Best Striker in the World

Strikers are probably one of the most important players on the pitch and are quite often the most exciting too. The game of football has changed a lot over the years, and so too has the role of the striker. Still, their main responsibility has always been to put the ball into the back of the net. The best strikers are fast, strong, and have the technical ability to beat defenders and outwit the opposition goalkeeper.

Although some fans prefer playmaking midfielders, but there’s little doubt that the best strikers usually go down as the best players in the world too. Ranking strikers is difficult, as there are so many factors that go into making a great goal scorer. While looking at the number of goals they score is the simplest way to judge the ability of a striker, other aspects of the game shouldn’t be overlooked. If you want to find out who the best striker in the world is, it’s important to look at all of the details. Here’s our list of the top strikers right now.

Our Ranking of the World's Best Strikers

Mehdi Taremi

Mehdi Taremi in the FIFA World Cup 2022

Mehdi Taremi in the FIFA World Cup 2022 (source: IMAGO)

Taremi is the only Asian player on this list, and the Iranian has reached heights that few would have predicted when he first appeared on the football pitch. As a young player, Taremi was exceptionally talented but struggled to break through to the big leagues. He spent multiple seasons playing in Asia before signing for Rio Ave in Portugal. Since then, he’s joined Porto and become one of the best goal scorers in the league.

At 30 years old, the striker might be too old to set European football alight, but he’s still showing his talent on the biggest stage. Taremi was one of the top scorers in the 2022 Champions League group stage, with five goals and two assists in five games. Since joining the Portuguese giants in 2020, he’s scored a total of 62 goals in 115 games. Aside from the goals he scores, the Iranian center-forward is also adept at bringing his teammates into play and has 43 assists across all competitions.

It’s fair to say that Taremi is a hybrid between a traditional number 9 and a 10. While he plays as a lone striker, he often drops deep into the midfield and covers a wide area of the opposition’s half, creating space for others to attack. His passing is of excellent quality, and he has the vision to pick out his teammates when needed. Taremi might not be the biggest name on this list, but he definitely deserves to be here as much as anyone else.

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Borja Iglesias Quintas

Borja Iglesias Quintas

Borja Iglesias Quintas-Real Betis v HJK Helsinki, 03rd, November 2022. (source: IMAGO)

Borja Iglesias is a Spanish striker who has gone under the radar somewhat over the past few years. The 29-year-old has been playing at the top level for a number of seasons, performing well at clubs in La Liga. So far, he’s played for Celta Vigo, Espanyol, and Real Betis, and he most recently earned his first cap for the Spanish national side. Although few football fans outside of Spain may have heard of him, he’s been performing extremely well for clubs with limited resources, regularly scoring and working hard to earn his place for La Roja.

He had 76 goals in 146 appearances for Celta Vigo and 23 goals in 46 appearances for Espanyol. After moving to Real Betis in 2019, Iglesias has continued to score at a decent rate, with 43 goals in 147 appearances so far. However, scoring goals isn’t the only thing that this striker brings to the table. Iglesias is best described as a complete forward, with his technical skills in linking up with other players a key part of the tactics of the teams he plays for.

At Espanyol, Iglesias was used alongside a second striker and often dropped into midfield to help retain possession and link up with other players. This creates additional space behind opposition defenders and allows his team to score goals. At Betis, he plays a lone striker role but helps the other attackers get into the game, allowing his teammates to get forward. Even though he plays predominately as a creator, Iglesias still has excellent finishing ability that sets him apart from most other strikers.

Dusan Vlahovic

Dusan Vlahovic

Dusan Vlahovic-World Cup in Qatar, Serbia Switzerland at Stadium (source: IMAGO)

Dusan Vlahovic is one to watch for the future. At just 21 years old, he scored an impressive 21 goals in Serie A for the 2021-22 season and was named the league’s best young player. The Serbian striker has drawn a lot of comparisons with the likes of Lewandowski. He towers over most other players and is both strong and fast. However, he doesn’t play how you might expect from someone of his size. He’s incredibly technically gifted and is just as good at dribbling and playing passes as he is at holding off defenders with his strength.

Vlahovic came up through the youth system at Partizan Belgrade and became the club’s youngest-ever debutant at the age of just 16. He was widely seen as a prodigy and used his technical ability to beat players much bigger and stronger than himself. Although he only scored three senior goals in Serbia, he was quickly signed by Fiorentina in Serie A but spent his first season playing for the Primavera side, scoring 20 goals in 22 appearances.

Although it took a while for Vlahovic to get going in Italy, he soon had his breakthrough in 2020, scoring 33 league goals over the calendar year. In total, he scored 49 goals over 108 appearances for Fiorentina, even though the team was struggling in the league. He earned a move to Juventus off the back of this success, and while he hasn’t hit the same heights yet, he shows plenty of promise for a still-developing player.

Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez-Ghana v Uruguay 2022 FIFA World Cup, WM (source: IMAGO)

Uruguay has an excellent history of creating some of the world’s best strikers, such as Edison Cavani, Luis Suarez, and Diego Forlan. Now, Darwin Nunez is the latest Uruguayan to make the cut. Although he’s only 23 years old, there are already huge expectations for this striker, who recently made the move from Portugal to the Premier League. Nunez began his career at Peñarol in his home country, playing for two seasons that were mostly disrupted by injury. From there, he joined Almeria in Spain, where he scored 16 goals in 32 games, and joined Benfica the following season.

At Benfica, Nunez really started to show his talent, reaching five assists in his first four league games and scoring a hat-trick in a Europa League match. His first season was decent, but his second season was the breakout as he scored 26 goals in 28 games, winning the top scorer award as Benfica were narrowly beaten to the league by Porto. His performances attracted the attention of the biggest clubs in Europe, and he was signed by Liverpool for a fee worth up to £85 million.

The style of Nunez is best described as a poacher, with the striker normally relying on his quick runs in behind defenses to create openings. He has extremely intelligent runs and positioning, which means he often gets into the best possible space to score goals. While he hasn’t hit the ground running at Liverpool, his quality is obvious to anyone who knows football. Liverpool fans will be hoping he can become one of the league’s best ever players.

Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez of Argentina controls the ball during the FIFA World Cup (source: IMAGE)

Argentina has produced many of the world’s best players, and among them is Lautaro Martinez. The 25-year-old center-forward has been one of the world’s best strikers for a few years now but is entering the prime of his career. Most recently, he helped his club Inter Milan win the Serie A title, and is also a key player for his country when he’s used. Known for his exceptional speed, positioning, and finishing ability, he’s an incredibly exciting player to watch, and has been compared to Diego Maradona.

Martinez began his career at Racing Club in his home country, where he played for four seasons. During this time, he scored 27 goals in 63 appearances and drew the attention of many big European clubs. He was soon signed by Inter Milan in 2018 and quickly established himself as a first-team player, taking the place of Mauro Icardi. He helped Inter win the Serie A title in the 2020-21 season and the Coppa Italia the following season.

So far at Inter Milan, Martinez, or El Toro as he’s nicknamed, has scored 82 goals in 202 appearances. He also has 30 assists and is an integral part of the team. Aside from being an excellent goal scorer, Martinez helps out in all areas of the pitch, frequently pressing the opposition in their own half and dropping deep to make defensive contributions. He’s fast, tenacious, and surprisingly adept in the air despite his height.

Christopher Nkunku

Christopher Nkunku

Christopher Nkunku of France during the FIFA World Cup 2022 (source: IMAGO)

One of three French players on our list, Nkunku has quickly become one of the world’s most exciting attacking prospects in recent seasons. The 24-year-old came through the academy of Paris Saint-Germain and played for the senior squad for a few seasons before heading to RB Leipzig in search of more playing time. Since then, he’s quickly shown why he’s one of the best in the world, demonstrating incredible dribbling ability and great passing vision, as well as quality finishing.

While he struggled for game time at PSG, scoring 11 goals over 78 appearances, he’s been able to develop and improve remarkably in the Bundesliga at Leipzig. Nkunku plays as a second striker and sometimes as an attacking midfielder. However, his position is often very high up the pitch. As a second striker, he works hard to create opportunities for his team, and he’s racked up 39 assists in 109 appearances for Leipzig. This is alongside his 43 goals in all competitions, proving that he was right to move teams to get more time on the pitch.

When Nkunku moved to Leipzig in 2019, he soon became an important player for the German side, and fit perfectly into the high-intensity attacking style. In 2021, he became the first player in the cub’s history to score a hat-trick in the Champions League as he helped his side beat Manchester City 6-3. This was to be his breakout season, as he scored 20 goals and 13 assists and was named the Bundesliga’s player of the season.

Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match

Victor Osimhen of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match (source: IMAGO)

The only African footballer on this last, Osimhen’s career got off to a slow start but has recently exploded after finding form in Serie A. The 23-year-old Nigerian began his senior career at Wolfsburg after being noticed at the U-17 World Cup. He spent two seasons there but suffered from several injuries that kept him out of the team, only making 12 league appearances and failing to score. He then spent some time in Belgium on loan at Charleroi, where he started scoring and was signed for a small fee before getting injured again and being sold to Lille.

At Lille, Osimhen finally hit the ground running, finishing as the club’s top scorer and the fan’s player of the season. He was signed by Napoli for a cub record fee of €70 million in 2020. Injuries and a Covid infection hampered his first season, but he still scored ten goals in 24 appearances. His second season was similar, scoring 14 in 27 appearances, but his third season has so far been far more successful. Osimhen has helped Napoli top the Serie A table so far in the 2022-23 season, scoring nine times in 11 games.

Although the injury record might be a problem for Osimhen, he’s shown his value as one of the best strikers in the world. He’s an extremely strong and physical presence in the opposition box and has a natural goal-scoring instinct. If he continues to develop and avoids any more serious injuries, he could become a huge star for his club and country.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane ENG. World Cup, 2022, Qatar (source: IMAGO)

Harry Kane has become one of the faces of the Premier League and will go down as one of the best players in the history of Tottenham Hotspur. The 29-year-old took a while to break into the senior side at Spurs, failing to impress on loans to Norwich and Leicester City. However, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands when given a chance to play in the Premier League, named the PFA Young Player of the Year in his first full season.

Offering a deceptive turn of pace, exceptional finishing abilities, and a high footballing IQ, Kane has all the qualities of a fantastic striker. Since his first season in the Premier League, he’s won three Premier League top scorer awards and also won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup. His total tally of goals for Spurs is now at 261, and he’ll be in the running to break the all-time Premier League top scorer record if he stays in the league.

Despite his talent, Kane hasn’t won any major trophies with Spurs, and his career could be considered disappointing considering his age. Still, he’s shown he’s definitely one of the best in the world right now and has leveled up his game in recent seasons. Rather than playing deep in the opposition half, Kane often plays a major role in the build-up of his team’s goals, acting as a creator as well as a goal scorer. He’s unlikely to become one of the UK’s Balon d’Or winners but he has a chance if he helps England win the World Cup.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe- as fast as lightning (Image: Dreamstime.com)

Despite being only 23 years old, Mbappe has been regarded as one of the best strikers in the world for several seasons now. The France international, who currently plays for Paris Saint Germain in Ligue Un, has won a number of personal and team awards during his relatively short career and continues to improve with each passing season. He began his cub career playing for Monaco, where his fast, high-energy style drew comparisons with Thierry Henry. He helped Monaco win the Ligue 1 title and, at 18, became the most expensive teenage player when PSG signed him for €180 million.

Mbappe’s main strength is his speed, but he’s also an exceptionally talented finisher and dribbler. Although he’s still young, he’s already PSG’s second-highest all-time goalscorer, with 190 goals in 237 appearances. He’s also made an impressive 93 assists, showing he’s capable of helping his teammates score too. Some might disregard his cub statistics, pointing to the fact that he plays for a side significantly stronger than the rest of the league.

It’s true that it’s easy to look good when you have the likes of Messi and Neymar to assist you. However, Mbappe has proven himself in the Champions League and at the World Cup and Euros for France. Playing for France, Mbappe has 28 goals in 59 appearances so far and helped his country to win the World Cup in 2018. So far, he hasn’t managed to drag PSG to the Champions League final, but his goals in the competition are still impressive. He recently turned down a move to Real Madrid to stay in France and still has a long career ahead of him to become the best in the world.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski World Cup 2022 (source: IMAGO)

Lewandowski has been one of the best strikers in the world for a long time, and despite being 34 years old, he’s still performing at the highest level. The Polish international has had a long and illustrious career, spending most of his playing days in the Bundesliga. He started his career in Poland, playing at Znicz Pruszków, before earning a move to Lech Poznan after helping them achieve promotion. From here, he drew the attention of a number of teams around Europe but ended up at Borussia Dortmund in 2010.

At Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski soon became an instrumental player, helping the German side win two league titles and finish runners-up in the Champions League. This was a huge accomplishment for the club, which was mostly getting by with limited resources compared to its rivals. He finished his career in Dortmund with 103 goals in 187 games before moving to Bayern Munich. At Munich, he showed another level to his game, scoring an incredible 344 goals in 375 games and winning eight league titles and a Champions League.

Lewandowski’s playstyle is complete, with the striker able to do just about everything on the pitch. He has fantastic hold-up play and technical ability, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best finishers in the world. His goal-scoring record speaks for itself, but even without goals, he does a lot for his team. Since joining Barcelona in La Liga, he’s helped turn the Spanish side into title contenders once again and has bailed them out a few times with match-winning goals.

Erling Haaland

Although he hasn’t had a full season in the Premier League yet, Haaland was already considered one of the best strikers in the world during his time at Borussia Dortmund. Over 89 games for the Bundesliga club, the Norwegian striker scored an incredible 86 goals. Known for his speed, strength, and excellent finishing ability, he has all the attributes to be the best in the world and was coveted by the world’s biggest clubs including Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The £51 million deal that took him to Manchester City was already looking like great value, although some doubted if he could have the same effect in the UK. He quickly proved them wrong, however, scoring an impressive 23 goals in his first 18 games for the club and showing why he’s ranked so highly. Not only has he been great in the Premier League, but Haaland has also scored regularly in the Champions League against some of the world’s best football teams.

Haaland no doubt has his sights set on the Premier League goal-scoring records, and at just 22 years old, there’s no reason why he couldn’t become one of the league’s best ever if he continues this form. The only thing that might hold him back is his injury record, with his size and strength possibly a contributing factor. His style is that of a classic center-forward, and he uses his pace and strength to push past defenders and create chances. Although he’s not often involved in the build-up for goals, he’s an extremely clinical finisher who rarely wastes chances.

The World's Best Striker in 2022

Karim Benzema

Benzema Ballon d Or winner 2022

Benzema Ballon d Or winner 2022 (source: IMAGO)

After most recently winning the Balon d’Or in 2022, few could argue that Benzema is currently the best striker on the planet. The French international might be getting on in years, but he seems to just get better with every passing season. He started out at Olympique Lyon, progressing through the youth ranks before making his senior debut at 17, and quickly became an established star in a side that already contained a lot of talent.

His time at Lyon saw him score 66 goals in 148 appearances while winning an impressive four Ligue Un titles. He became the talisman of the French club but left to join the Galacticos of Real Madrid in 2009, the same year that saw Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka join Los Blancos. At Real Madrid, Benzema has cemented his place as one of the most legendary players in the club’s history. He’s played over 600 games and scored more than 300 goals, all while helping his team win four league titles and an incredible five Champions League trophies.

His part in Real Madrid’s most recent Champions League win was a major part of the reason why he won the Balon d’Or. Known for his excellent finishing and technical ability throughout his career, Benzema has improved his game in recent seasons. He’s become a more complete striker and using his experience and understanding of the game to outwit the opposition. He’s also a proven match-winner, scoring goals when they matter the most, and is an inspiring leader for his club, showing why he deserves the number one spot.

The Best Striker of the Future

It’s hard to say whether Benzema will be able to keep performing at this level for much longer. In recent years, footballer’s careers have gotten longer thanks to improvements in sports science and nutrition. However, at 34 years old he’s definitely reaching the twilight years. He has to be happy with what he’s achieved over his career, but it will soon be time for a younger and better striker on this list to replace him.

Right now, Haaland looks to be on track to be the best striker of the future. But players like Mbappe, Nkunku, Osimhen and Vlahovic could eclipse him if they keep improving. Maybe another player who hasn’t made our list will breakout over the next few seasons. It’s impossible to predict the future, but we do know that strikers will continue to be some of the most exciting players on the pitch.