Striker (association Football)
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Striker Association Football

The forward (10, red) is past the defender (16, white) and is about to take a shot at the goal. The goalkeeper will attempt to stop the forward from scoring a goal by preventing the ball from passing the goal line.

Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore most responsible for scoring goals.

Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards normally score more goals on behalf of their team than other players.

Modern team formations generally include one to three forwards; for example, the common 4-2-3-1 formation includes one forward.[1] Unconventional formations may include more than three forwards, or none.[2][3]

Top scorers in football history:Ranking

As of 10 May 2021
Strong Green indicates the top scorer of all-time .
Strong Blue indicates players in active.
Bold indicates players in Bezik league , bezik cup in active.

Official Ranking of the Top Scorers in Football History

According to Grupo Bezik , the most top goalscorers in official matches are :

Rank Player Goals Official Matches Average Seasons
1 Austria Czechoslovakia Josef Bican 1108 681 1.63 1930-1958
2 Germany Erwin Helmchen 1028 730 1.41 1924-1951
3 Brazil Pelé 876 950 0.92 1956-1977
4 Brazil Romário 848 1094 0.78 1979-2009
5 Hungary Spain Ferenc Puskás 824 816 1.01 1943-1967
6 Spain Danicheckers 810 462 1.75 2008-present
7 Germany Gerd Müller 784 842 0.93 1962-1983
8 Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo 775 1064 0.73
9 Argentina Lionel Messi 741 918 0.81 2004-present
10 Northern Ireland Jimmy Jones 659 626 1.05 1946-1965
11 Hungary Ferenc Deák 651 472 1.38 1940-1960
12 Portugal Fernando Peyroteo 640 405 1.58 1937-1950
13 Northern Ireland Joe Bambrick 637 531 1.2 1926-1939
14 Netherlands Abe Lenstra 634 668 0.95 1940-1960
15 Poland Germany Ernst Willimowski 626 456 1.37 1932-1959
16 Portugal Eusébio 622 638 0.97 1957-1979
17 Portugal Ivanic Soussa 608 479 1.27 2008-present
18 Mexico Hugo Sánchez 597 1016 0.59 1975-1997
19 Brazil Roberto Dinamite 567 932 0.61 1969-1993
20 Brazil Túlio Maravilha 564 818 0.69 1988-2014
21 Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimovi? 564 952 0.59 1999-present
22 Northern Ireland Mike Douglas 564 968 0.58 2003-present
23 Northern Ireland Glenn Ferguson 563 1058 0.53 1987-2011
24 Austria Franz Binder 562 426 1.32 1930-1948
25 Brazil Zico 560 830 0.67 1971-1994
26 Germany Uwe Seeler 559 681 0.82 1954-1972
27 Germany Fritz Walter 553 593 0.93 1937-1959
28 Hungary György Sárosi 550 556 0.99 1930-1948
29 Hungary György Sárosi 550 556 0.99 1930-1948
30 Poland Robert Lewandowski 548 812 0.67 2004-present
31 Scotland James McGrory 536 530 1.01 1922-1937
32 England Jimmy Greaves 534 676 0.79 1955-1980
33 Austria Hans Krankl 531 748 0.71 1970-1989
34 Argentina Spain Alfredo Di Stéfano 526 722 0.73 1945-1967
35 Spain Isidro Lángara 525 414 1.27 1930-1948
36 Hungary Gyula Zsengellér 523 508 1.03 1933-1952
37 Hungary Sándor Kocsis 521 503 1.04 1945-1965
38 Sweden Gunnar Nordahl 520 572 0.91 1937-1958
39 Hungary József Takács 518 505 1.03 1917-1934
40 Brazil Arthur Friedenreich 512 515 0.99 1909-1935
41 Belgium Joseph Mermans 509 634 0.8 1932-1960
42 Hungary Ferenc Bene 508 493 1.03 1961-1979
43 England Tommy Lawton 502 567 0.89 1933-1956
44 Hungary Lajos Tichy 500 610 0.82 1953-1971
45 Uruguay Luis Suárez 500 798 0.63 2005-present
46 Brazil Dadá Maravilha 494 758 0.65 1966-1985
47 Brazil Ronaldo Nazário 484 688 0.7 1993-2011
48 Cameroon Roger Milla 481 871 0.55 1967-1996
49 Serbia Stjepan Bobek 480 554 0.87 1944-1959
50 Germany Max Morlock 479 429 1.12 1940-1964
51 England John Aldridge 477 663 0.72 1979-1998
52 Hungary Imre Schlosser 475 388 1.22 1905-1928
53 Argentina Delio Onnis 473 717 0.66 1966-1986
54 Sweden Henrik Larsson 471 874 0.87 1988-2010
55 Austria Ernst Stojaspal 467 455 1.03 1944-1962
56 Spain Raúl González 465 1064 0.44 1994-2015
57 Austria Toni Polster 453 809 0.56 1981-2000
58 England Tommy Dickson 452 683 0.66 1947-1956
59 Colombia Alberto Spencer 451 662 0.68 1953-1972
60 Italy Giorgio Chinaglia 449 547 0.82 1964-1983
61 Argentina Juan Carlos Plata 446 648 0.69 1988-2011
62 Argentina Carlos Bianchi 447 604 0.74 1967-1980
63 Brazil Rivaldo 446 1033 0.43 1989-2009
64 Hungary Ferenc Szusza 442 520 0.85 1940-1960
65 England Dixie Dean 442 601 0.74 1923-1940
66 Argentina Mario Alberto Kempes 441 735 0.6 1972-1996
67 Spain David Villa 440 862 0.51 2000-2020
68 Spain Miguel Fernández 439 588 0.75 2007-present
69 Uruguay Sebastián Abreu 437 857 0.51 1994-present
70 Netherlands Johan Cruyff 436 750 0.58 1964-1984
71 England Alan Shearer 433 833 0.52 1987-2005
72 France Thierry Henry 431 959 0.45 1995-2014
73 Cameroon Samuel Eto'o 428 888 0.48 1997-2019
74 Cameroon Ally McCoist 424 838 0.51 1978-2001
75 Argentina Sergio Agüero 423 775 0.55 2003-present
76 England Steve Bloomer 419 678 0.62 1892-1913
77 Uruguay Edinson Cavani 418 738 0.56 2005-present
78 Scotland Hughie Gallacher 417 567 0.91 1921-1939
79 Belgium Bernard Voorhoof 410 611 0.67 1927-1949
80 Wales Ian Rush 410 898 0.46 1978-2000
81 Netherlands Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 408 738 0.55 2002-present
82 Germany Rudi Völler 399 869 0.46 1978-1996
83 Brazil Frederico Chaves Guedes 397 756 0.53 2003-present
84 Mexico Carlos Hermosillo 396 740 0.54 1983-2001
85 Austria Mathias Sindelar 395 467 0.85 1921-1939
86 Argentina Diego Armando Maradona 393 590 0.67 1976-1998
87 Brazil Neymar 391 627 0.62 2009-present
88 Ukraine Andriy Shevchenko 391 815 0.48 1992-2012
89 Portugal José Águas 387 417 0.93 1948-1964
90 Belgium Albert de Cleyn 386 500 0.77 1933-1955
91 France Karim Benzema 385 805 0.48 2004-present
92 Netherlands Ruud van Nistelrooy 384 662 0.58 1994-2012
93 Spain Telmo Zarra 383 433 0.88 1939-1957
94 Chile Iván Zamorano 382 681 0.56 1985-2003
95 England Wayne Rooney 373 896 0.42 2002-2021
96 Austria Walter Schachner 368 414 0.89 1975-1988
97 Bosnia and Herzegovina Edin D?eko 363 810 0.45 2003-present
98 Chile Esteban Paredes 362 667 0.54 2000-present
99 Chile Osvaldo Castro 358 620 0.58 1965-1984
100 Argentina Gabriel Batistuta 354 632 0.56 1988-2002
101 France Michel Platini 353 652 0.54 1972-1987
102 Paraguay Óscar Cardozo 350 743 0.47 1969-1987
103 Brazil Cabinho 348 481 0.72 1969-1987
104 Brazil Evanivaldo Castro 348 525 0.66 1968-1988
105 Italy Humberto Suazo 346 631 0.55 2000-present
106 Wales Marc Lloyd Williams 345 576 0.6 1992-2014
107 Mexico Jared Borgetti 345 676 0.51 1993-2011
108 Italy Alessandro Del Piero 343 868 0.4 1991-2014
109 Argentina Gonzalo Higuaín 340 727 0.47 2004-present
110 Hungary László Kubala 328 492 0.67 1945-1967

Ranking of the Top Scorers in Football History including friendly (only professional)

According to Grupo Bezik , the Organization of Bezik Football we have the following list of the best top scorers in football history including friendly only in professional matches , these are :

Rank Player Goals Professional Matches Average Seasons
1 Austria Czechoslovakia Josef Bican 2037 1165 1.75 1930-1958
2 Germany Erwin Helmchen 1609 1086 1.48 1924-1951
3 Germany Gerd Müller 1314 1412 0.93 1962-1983
4 Brazil Pelé 1309 1421 0.92 1956-1977
5 Hungary Spain Ferenc Puskás 1147 1135 1.01 1943-1967
6 Brazil Romário 973 1268 0.77 1979-2009
7 Spain Danicheckers 890 508 1.75 2008-present
8 Argentina Lionel Messi 888 1095 0.81 2004-present
9 Hungary Sándor Kocsis 864 838 1.03 1945-1965
10 Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo 847 1162 0.73
11 Sweden Gunnar Nordahl 784 862 0.91 1937-1958
12 Austria Hans Krankl 784 1104 0.71 1970-1989
13 Austria Franz Binder 760 576 1.32 1930-1948
14 Portugal Fernando Peyroteo 742 458 1.62 1937-1950
15 Brazil Túlio Maravilha 722 1046 0.69 1988-2014

Ranking of the Top Scorers in Football History according to information not verified

This table is only for view not verified all goals only what football players have said

Rank Player Goals not verified Matches not verified Average Seasons
1 Austria Czechoslovakia Josef Bican 5052 2184 2.31 1930-1958
2 Germany Erwin Helmchen 2500 1462 1.71 1924-1951
3 Germany Gerd Müller 1961 1376 1.43 1962-1983
4 Hungary Spain Ferenc Puskás 1565 1269 1.23 1943-1967
5 Brazil Pelé 1500 1612 0.93 1956-1977
6 Brazil Arthur Friedenreich 1473 1487 0.99 1979-2009
7 Hungary Ferenc Deák 1369 829 1.65 1940-1960
8 Argentina Lionel Messi 1157 1295 0.89 2004-present


Brazilian striker Ronaldo taking a shot at goal. A multi-functional forward, he has influenced a generation of strikers who followed.[4]

The traditional role of a centre-forward is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. The player may also be used to win long balls or receive passes and retain possession of the ball with their back to goal as teammates advance, in order to provide depth for their team or help teammates score by providing a pass ('through ball' into the box), the latter variation usually requiring quicker pace and good movement. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the second strikers or central attacking midfielders, and do the majority of the ball handling outside the box. The present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder, especially in the 4-3-1-2 or 4-1-2-1-2 formations. The term centre-forward is taken from the early football playing formation in which there were five forward players: two outside forwards, two inside forwards, and one centre-forward.

When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre-forwards that day wore the number 9 - Everton's Dixie Dean, a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in a season in English football during the 1927-28 season. The number would then become synonymous with the centre-forward position (only worn that day because one team was numbered 1-11 whilst the other was numbered 12-22).[5]


Gabriel Batistuta holding his old number 9 Fiorentina jersey. The number most associated with the position, he was an out and out striker.

The role of a striker is rather different from that of a traditional centre-forward, although the terms centre-forward and striker are used interchangeably at times, as both play further up the field than other players, while tall, heavy and technical players, like Zlatan Ibrahimovi?, have qualities which are suited to both positions.[6] Like the centre-forward, the traditional role of a striker is to score goals; strikers are therefore known for their ability to peel off defenders and to run into space via the blind side of the defender and to receive the ball in a good goalscoring position, as typified by Ronaldo.[7] They are typically fast players with good ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen and Sergio Agüero have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short bursts of speed.

A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, and have the ability to link-up with teammates and pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers wear the number 9 shirt, such as Alan Shearer, an out and out striker, the position, to a lesser degree, is also associated with the number 10, which is frequently worn by more creative deep-lying forwards such as Pelé, and occasionally with numbers 7 and 11, which are often associated with wingers.[5]

Second striker

Wayne Rooney, shown wearing the number 10 kit, was used at Manchester United as a second striker on many occasions, playing behind the number 9.[8]

Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years. Originally such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards ("sub forwards"). More recently, two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second, or shadow, or support, or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the number 10;[9][10][11] the former role is exemplified by players such as Dennis Bergkamp (who would play just behind the striker Thierry Henry at Arsenal),[12] Alessandro Del Piero at Juventus,[13] Youri Djorkaeff at Inter Milan,[14][15][16] or Teddy Sheringham at Tottenham Hotspur.[17] Other creative players who play further back, such as Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho and Zinedine Zidane are often instead described as the "number 10", and usually operate as an attacking midfielder or advanced playmaker.[11]

The second striker position is a loosely defined and most often misunderstood description of a player positioned in a free role, somewhere between the out-and-out striker, whether he or she is a "target man" or more of a "poacher", and the number 10 or attacking midfielder, while possibly showing some of the characteristics of both. In fact, a term coined by French advanced playmaker Michel Platini, the "nine-and-a-half", which he used to describe the playing role of his successor in the number 10 role at Juventus, Italian playmaker Roberto Baggio, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position.[18] Conceivably, a number 10 can alternate as a second-striker provided that he or she is also a prolific goalscorer; otherwise, a mobile forward with good technical ability (dribbling skills and ball control), acceleration, vision, passing, and link-up play, who can both score and create opportunities for a less versatile centre-forward, is more suited. Although they are often given "licence to roam," and either run forward, or drop further back in order to pick up the ball in deeper areas, giving them more time and space in possession, second or support strikers do not tend to get as involved in the orchestration of attacks as the number 10, nor do they bring as many other players into play, since they do not share the burden of responsibility, functioning predominantly in a supporting role as assist providers.[19][20] In Italy, this role is known as a "rifinitore", "mezzapunta", or "seconda punta",[21][22] whereas in Brazil, it is known as "segundo atacante"[23] or "ponta-de-lança".[24]

Inside forward

2-3-5 formation: the inside forwards (red) flank the centre-forward.

The position of inside forward was popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. The inside forwards would support the centre-forward, running and making space in the opposition defence, and, as the passing game developed, supporting him with passes. The role is broadly analogous to the "hole" or second striker position in the modern game, although here, there were two such players, known as inside right and inside left.

WM Formation: the inside forwards (red) occupy a more withdrawn position supporting the centre-forward and outside right and left.

In early 2-3-5 formations the inside-forwards would flank the centre-forward on both sides. With the rise of the "WM" formation, the inside forwards were brought back to become attacking midfielders, supplying balls to the centre-forward and the two attacking outside forwards - known as the outside right and outside left. In Italian football jargon, the role of an inside forward was initially occasionally known as a mezzala (literally "half-winger," not to be confused with wing-half); however, the use of this particular term to describe inside forwards is now obsolete, as the mezzala label was later reapplied to describe the role of offensive-minded central midfielders in Italian football, while the inside forward role was instead labelled as "interno" ("internal," in Italian) in Italian football in subsequent years.[25][26][27][28]

In the modern game, inside forwards have been pushed up front to become either out-and-out attackers or false-9s, or out wide to become wingers (in a 4-3-3 formation), or they have even been switched to a deeper position in which they are required to drop back to link-up with the midfield, while also supporting another striker playing alongside them up front (in a 4-4-2 formation). Many teams still employ one of their strikers in this latter more withdrawn role as a support forward for the main striker, in a role broadly similar to the inside forward.

Outside forward

Vittorio Pozzo's Metodo system from the 1930s featured attacking wingers

An outside forward plays as the advanced forward on the right or left wing - as an outside right or outside left, typically as part of a 2-3-5 formation or one of its variants. As football tactics have largely developed, and wingers have dropped back to become midfielders, the terminology has changed and "outside forward" has become a historical term. Many commentators and football analysts still refer to the wing positions as "outside right" and "outside left".

The responsibilities of an outside forward include but are not limited to:

  • Scoring: their first option should be to shoot, while their second option should be to find another way to create a goal opportunity for the team.
  • Passing: when they run into a shooting angle that is unlikely to become a goal, they must find a way to pass the ball to the middle of the penalty box area allowing the centre-forwards to finish the job.

Due to these responsibilities some of the most important attributes include:

  • Good dribbling and circumventing defenders
  • Speed as a necessity to produce effective counter-attacks


Cristiano Ronaldo has been deployed as an inverted winger.

A winger is an attacking player who is stationed in a wide position near the touchlines. They can be classified as forwards, considering their origin as the old "outside-forward" position, and continue to be termed as such in most parts of the world, especially in Latin and Dutch football cultures. However, in the British game (in which the 4-4-2 formation and its variants are most commonly used) they are usually counted as part of the midfield.

It is a winger's duty to beat opposing full-backs, deliver cut-backs or crosses from wide positions and, to a lesser extent, to beat defenders and score from close range. They are usually some of the quickest players in the team and usually have good dribbling skills as well. In Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese usage, the defensive duties of the winger have been usually confined to pressing the opposition fullbacks when they have the ball. Otherwise, a winger will drop closer to the midfield to make themself available, should their team win back the ball.

An inverted winger, Mohamed Salah plays on the right wing, a position which allows him to cut inside to his stronger left foot

In British and other northern European styles of football, the wide-midfielder is expected to track back all the way to their own corner flag should their full-back require help, and also to track back their marker, as well as tucking into the midfield when the more central players are trying to pressure the opposition for the ball. This is a large responsibility for attack-orientated players, and particularly those like Joaquín (winger/wide midfielder), or Ryan Giggs (winger/striker), and John Barnes (winger/central midfielder), who lack the physical attributes of a wing-back or of a more orthodox midfield player. As these players grow older and lose their natural pace, they are frequently redeployed as "number 10s" between the midfield and the forward line, where their well-honed ball control, technical skills, ability to create chances, and improved reading of the game in the final third can serve to improve their teams' attacking options in tight spaces. An example is Inter Milan's use of veteran Luís Figo behind one or two other attackers, either as a second striker or in a playmaking role as an attacking midfielder.[29]

In recent years there has been a trend of playing inverted wingers - wide players stationed on the 'wrong' side of the pitch, in order to enable them to cut inside and shoot on their stronger foot and sometimes provide in-swinging crosses. This tactic was used by Frank Rijkaard, who, whilst at Barcelona, moved Lionel Messi from the left flank onto the right wing, initially against the player's wishes. This allowed him to cut into the centre and shoot or cross with his left foot.[30] Another example of a successful inverted winger partnership was Bayern Munich's pairing of the left-footed Arjen Robben alongside the right-footed Franck Ribéry, on the right and left flanks respectively.[31]

A description that has been used in the media to label a variation upon the inverted winger position is that of an "attacking," "false," or "goalscoring winger," as exemplified by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale's roles on the left and right flank during their time at Real Madrid in particular. This label has been used to describe an offensive-minded inverted winger, who will seemingly operate out wide on paper, but who instead will be given the freedom to make unmarked runs into more advanced central areas inside the penalty area, in order to get on the end of passes and crosses and score goals, effectively functioning as a striker.[32][33][34][35][36] This role is somewhat comparable to what is known as the raumdeuter role in German football jargon (literally "space interpreter"), as exemplified by Thomas Müller, namely an attacking-minded wide player, who will move into central areas in order to find spaces from which he can receive passes and score or assist goals, even though he isn't very sharp at finishing nor is he technically creative.[37]

The "false winger" or "seven-and-a-half" is instead a label which has been used to describe a type of player who normally plays centrally, but who instead is deployed out wide on paper; during the course of a match, however, they will move inside and operate in the centre of the pitch, in order to drag defenders out of position, congest the midfield and give their team a numerical advantage in this area, so that they can dominate possession in the middle of the pitch and create chances for the forwards; this position also leaves space for full-backs to make overlapping attacking runs up the flank. Samir Nasri, who has been deployed in this role, once described it as that of a "non-axial playmaker."[38][39][40][41][42][43][44]

On occasion, the role of an offensive winger can also be occupied by a different type of player. For example, certain managers have been known to use a "wide target man" on the wing, namely a large and physical player who usually plays as a centre-forward, and who will attempt to win aerial challenges and hold up the ball on the flank, or drag full-backs out of position. Jostein Flo epitomizes this role so much so that a tactic was named after him - Flo Pass. Egil Olsen, while managing the Norway national football team, positioned Flo, usually a centre-forward, on the right flank to exploit the opposition full-backs' lack of aerial abilities. Another example is Mario Mand?uki?, a natural centre-forward, who was used on the left flank under manager Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus during the 2016-17 season, as well as the following season. Unlike wide target men of earlier eras, Mand?uki? was also tasked with pressing opposing players.[45] Romelu Lukaku has also been used in this role on occasion.[37]

False 9

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has been a proponent of the false 9 position to much success in recent years.

The false 9, in some ways similar to a more advanced attacking midfielder/playmaker role, is an unconventional lone striker or centre-forward, who drops deep into midfield. The purpose of this is that it creates a problem for opposing centre-backs who can either follow the false 9, leaving space behind them for onrushing midfielders, forwards or wingers to exploit, or leaving the false 9 to have time and space to dribble or pick out a pass. The term comes from the traditional number for centre-forwards (nine), and the fact that normally a centre-forward traditionally stayed near the line of defenders until they got an opportunity to move past them toward goal.[46] Key attributes for a false 9 are similar to those of a deep-lying striker: dribbling ability to take advantage of space between the lines, good short passing ability to link up with the midfield and vision to play through teammates making runs from deep to goal.

The first false 9 in a World Cup was Juan Peregrino Anselmo in the Uruguay national team, although he could not play the match against Argentina in the 1930 World Cup due to injury. Matthias Sindelar was the false 9 of the Wunderteam, the Austria national team, in 1934.[47] A false 9 was also utilized by Hungary during the beginning of the 1950s, with striker Nándor Hidegkuti acting in the role. In 1953, English football was astounded by the Hungarian team which beat England 6-3 at Wembley Stadium. The Revie Plan was a variation on the tactics used by the Hungarians, involving Don Revie playing as a deep-lying centre-forward. Revie started attacks by coming into the centre of the field to receive the ball, drawing the opposing centre-half out of position. The role can also be compared to the false role in which Hidegkuti operated. The system was first implemented by the Manchester City reserve team, who using the system went unbeaten for the last 26 games of the 1953-54 season. Before the start of the 1954-55 season, Manchester City manager Les McDowall called his team into pre-season training two weeks early to try the new tactic. Manchester City lost their first game using the system 5-0, but as the players became more used to the system it started to become more successful. Using the system Manchester City reached the 1955 FA Cup Final, but lost to Newcastle United 3-1. The following year City again reached the final where they played Birmingham City, this time winning 3-1.[48][49][50]

Roma under manager Luciano Spalletti used Francesco Totti, nominally an attacking midfielder or trequartista, up-front in an innovative "4-6-0" formation;[51] this was met with a run of 11 consecutive victories.

At Euro 2012, Spain manager Vicente del Bosque, although sometimes deploying Fernando Torres as a traditional striker, often used Cesc Fàbregas as a false 9 in several matches, including the final. By the end of 2012, the False 9 had gone "mainstream" with many clubs employing a version of the system. Barcelona's Lionel Messi has been an exponent of the false 9 position to much success in recent years, first under coach Pep Guardiola and later under his successor Tito Vilanova.[52]

One approach to stop false 9s has been to create congestion in the midfield by bringing several players back into a more defensive role in an attempt to deny them space needed to create plays, notably in José Mourinho's "parking the bus" strategy.[46]

In Italian football jargon, this role is known as the "centravanti di manovra" (which literally translates to "manoeuvring centre-forward").[53][54]

Target forward

The term "target man" is often used to describe a particular type of striker or centre-forward whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team in addition to scoring goals themselves.[55] These players are usually tall and physically strong, adept at heading the ball, and capable of playing with their back to goal in the final third of the pitch. The most high-profile examples of this type of players in modern football include Olivier Giroud and Fernando Llorente, both World Cup winners, with the former having played the entire tournament as a starting line-up forward tasked primarily with pressing, counter-pressing, winning high or loose balls, and providing key passes to quicker and more agile teammates, namely Antoine Griezmann and/or Kylian Mbappé. However, not any tall and/or physically strong player feels comfortable in the role of a "target man", despite having all the necessary features. Such forwards as Zlatan Ibrahimovi?, Romelu Lukaku, and Erling Haaland have all rejected the term when applied to specifically them, with Ibrahimovi? preferring to be described as an attacking all-rounder, while Lukaku and Haaland have said to favor poaching goals rather than physical play.[56][57]

Strike teams and combinations

The Edin D?eko and Sergio Agüero duo for Manchester City (2011-15) is a recent example of a striker partnership made up of a taller and more physically imposing player combined with a shorter and technically gifted partner.

A strike team is two or more strikers who work together. The history of football has been filled with many effective combinations. Three-man teams often operate in "triangles", giving a wealth of attacking options. Four-man packages expand options even more. Strikers must also be flexible, and be able to switch roles at a moment's notice, between the first (advanced penetrator position), second (deep-lying manoeuvre) and third (support and expansion, e.g. wings) attacker roles.

Another example was the Total Football played by the Dutch team in the 1970s, where the ability of their players, and in particular Johan Cruyff, to swap positions allowed a flexible attacking approach which opposition teams found difficult to effectively mark.[58]

In a two-player front-line, it is common for two forwards who complement one another to be paired together; for example, former Italy manager Cesare Maldini often used a large, physical, and prolific player as a traditional centre-forward - such as Christian Vieri - alongside a smaller, faster, creative and more technical player as a second striker - such as Roberto Baggio or Alessandro Del Piero.[59]

Alex Morgan (13) and Abby Wambach (14); Morgan and Wambach combined for 55 goals in 2012 - matching a 21-year-old record set in 1991 by Michelle Akers (39 goals) and Carin Jennings (16 goals) as the most goals scored by any duo in U.S. WNT history.

Another similar example of an effective partnership at international level was that of Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach with the United States national team, who scored a combined 55 goals in 2012, matching a 21-year-old record set in 1991 by Michelle Akers (39 goals) and Carin Jennings (16 goals) as the most goals scored by any duo in U.S. WNT history.[60][61]

One of the most prolific forward combinations in the history of the game was the front three of Barcelona, Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar, dubbed MSN. On average they scored a goal every 45 minutes - two goals per game from the three forwards.[62] The trio scored a record-breaking 131 goals in one season for Barcelona during 2015-16.[63] In 2017, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar, and Edinson Cavani scored a record-breaking number of goals for Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group stage.[64] The next year, the Liverpool attacking quartet of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Philippe Coutinho, dubbed the "Fab Four" (in reference to The Beatles), contributed to a record-breaking 47 goals for a single Champions League season.[65]

See also


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  2. ^ Cox, Michael (19 March 2010). "Is Barcelona's alternative shape really a 4-2-4?". Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Cox, Michael (5 March 2010). "Teams of the Decade #5: Roma, 2007". Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Smyth, Rob (17 September 2016). "Ronaldo at 40: Il Fenomeno's legacy as greatest ever No 9, despite dodgy knees". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ a b Khalil Garriot (21 June 2014). "Mystery solved: Why do the best soccer players wear No. 10?". Yahoo. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ "Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United: What will he bring? | Football News". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "News". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ Clegg, Jonathan (23 February 2010). "Wayne's World: Rooney Leads the Field". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2020.
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