In a gathering of football enthusiast, discussing and debating over football issues; some relevant and some others irrelevant. A few about individual players and others about teams with great exploits, teams that have defiled all odds to achieve extra ordinary success, the debate got hotter, and the tempo was raised, then propped up this topic; “Who is the best striker in Europe”?
Silence there was, each sinking into himself. It was a topic that made me ponder, but there is another side to this controversy; what really makes a striker? What are the qualities of a striker? How do we distinguish strikers from strikers?
Pondering over the interesting topic, ideas sprung up; views of mine came alive. The fundamental question as stated above needed urgent answers to put the debate to rest. First, who is a striker? A striker is a front man in team football, whom the whole team look up to produce goals, that will bring victory, he’s that man who bangs the net with goals
Let’s review what really makes a striker?
Some of the qualities, which I can deduce of a competent striker, are: height, speed, skills, strength, wits, calculation and the ability to tear apart opposing defenses single-handedly and most important of all, good finishing.
The rave making strikers in Europe presently, do possess some, if not all, of the above-mentioned qualities of a striker. Possessing of all the above-mentioned qualities makes a striker formidable. The greatest strikers in the footballing history possess all the qualities; the likes of Delima Ronaldo, The great Pele, Roberto Baggio, Romario, etc. which made them famous and deadly during their peak years, in the days of old.
Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Milito, Gonzalo Higuain, and the likes, are all proven goal scorers, who will bury any chance they get and will punish any defensive line up.
Analyzing each of the a fore-mentioned players, will bring to the fore the fact that all these are formidable strikers, who score on a regular basis. England has always being blessed with intelligent and proven strikers at different points in time. There was a time it was Andy Cole, one of the best players that ever wore the red and white England jersey, the first player in the history of Premier League to net five goals in a single match, amazing isn’t it? Well his time is past now, but really he mesmerized fans of the then EPL with his exceptional skills and goal scoring prowess.
There was Alan shearer, what do I have to say about this exceptionally good striker? He equaled Andy Cole’s record of five goals in a single match; he scored goals from different angles of the pitch, from different match situations: set pieces, counter-attack, open play and from even unlikely and remote angle of the pitch, as a result of his forceful style of play, some section s of the fans were not friendly with him, same made him one of the most-feared during his time in the Premier League. Although he has not been successful as a manager, failing to save Newcastle UTD from the relegation troubles, which caused its fall.
The English Footballing world woke to the 2009/2010 season to experience something different, an experience of goal banging, an all-round action experience; The Wayne Rooney Experience. Wayne Rooney as a player has grown to be very matured and confident. Watching the Rooney of five seasons ago in comparison to this season’s, one would clearly notice the improvement in his style of play, his conduct on the pitch, team coordinating brilliance and the likes. All these improvements in Wayne Rooney have made him to be a very formidable and fearful striker in the world football. One of the talents which Rooney possess that endeared him to me and the football fans in general, is his ability to terrorize opposing defenses single-handedly with sheer brilliance. Rooney has scored 38 goals so far this season, and most of them have through his individual brilliance, although with the help of team mates, who have mastered his play in recent games.
Team work is another of his talent which he puts on display in each match, he with his powerful and brilliant, has been able to foster unity in the team in terms of field play, he distributes accurate passes, he doesn’t hold on to the ball meaninglessly, positions himself in the best possible position to be spotted for pass release which on a good day results to goal.
Away from England, and unto the European scene, there is this player, who some have wrongly compared to a great football legend, the player who single-handedly destroy opposing teams, not only with his goals, but also with his passes, dribbles, speed, strength and all the rest.
The player, who is the current World Player of the Year, the most dangerous player on the planet presently; Lionel Messi! Some regard him as the “merciless”, some others say he’s the greatest player to walk the earth surface, but I strongly disagree to this notion. You run out of adjectives trying to describe him, no doubt he’s a good player, proven goal-scorer, intelligent destroyer of opposing teams and worst of all he causes night mare to defenders, especially in the Spanish La Liga and also the Champions League, the two competitions which he plays his best football.
The “merciless” truly shows no mercy to teams and players that stands on his way to victory. He has scored 40 goals this season; his finishing and goal build-up play clearly spells out his superiority in Europe. He is being criticized for not excelling in big games with high expectation from him; he silenced his critics against Arsenal, after his well taken four goals to send Arsenal crashing out of Europe’s elite club competition.
Resting the debate, I’ll say strikers should be rated with different stats, the inability of a striker to score plenty goals does not mean he’s not a good striker. Fernando Torres is a brilliant striker, but he has not been able to score lots of goals doesn’t mean he’s not a complete striker. A complete striker is one who scores goals, has the ability to turn the game around with individual skill, spaces himself in the right positions to be given the ball and buries it at the back of the net. A striker is a playmaker.