Where Does Sergio Aguero Rank Among the World's Best Strikers?

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Where Does Sergio Aguero Rank Among the World's Best Strikers?
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Sergio Aguero’s start to the season has been well documented.

With 13 goals and six assists in 14 games, and a blossoming partnership with Alvaro Negredo, he’s been right back to his very best after a slightly less effective campaign last season and has arguably been City’s best player.

At 25, it’s likely his best years are ahead of him. If his performances continue to improve, he could end up being considered one of the finest players of this generation.

But where does Aguero rank alongside his peers as it stands?

If we remove the likes of Ronaldo and Neymar, who are wide forward players and therefore incomparable with Aguero's style, there are very few central strikers who are better.

Lionel Messi is, in my opinion, the best player in the world and ranks above Aguero in the list of the best forwards in the game. We all know the stats: six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, two World Club Cups, an Olympic Gold, 327 goals in 395 games, four Ballon d'Ors and three European Golden Shoes.

His ability to run with the ball is unparalleled across the history of football; his pace and close control a sight to behold. Unplayable on his day and the scorer of brilliant goals, Messi is the best forward on the planet.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also a more complete forward than Aguero. He is a serial title-winner, having won the league in Holland, Italy, Spain and France, and is a player capable of the extraordinary, regularly producing moments of brilliance that defy logic.

He manages to mix his size and power with incredible skill. His physicality makes it difficult for defenders to bully him, while his audacious talent means he can beat a player or hit a brilliant shot at any moment—he's a very special and rare talent.

Those two rank as clearly the best two forwards on the planet, but then the picture becomes less clear.

Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Falcao, Robin van Persie, Robert Lewandowski, Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Aguero are probably the players that make up the next bracket of best forwards.

Suarez, Van Persie and Aguero are, for me, the pick of that bunch. Suarez and Aguero are similar in that they both have great pace, are selfless, can link play brilliantly and are excellent in front of goal, and both are very difficult to keep quiet for 90 minutes.

Van Persie is different, but he, too, offers a very complete package. Comfortable with both feet and supremely confident in front of goal, he scores all sorts of goals, from tap-ins to long-rangers, and can take set pieces.

Those three players can also operate in different roles, either as out-and-out strikers or withdrawn forwards. They are versatile and have match-winning ability.

Falcao has great pace and scores plenty of goals but maybe lacks the versatility of three I've highlighted. Tevez and Rooney work incredibly hard and are extremely difficult to mark, but neither one possesses the natural ability Aguero does.

Lewandowski is limited in terms of the roles he can play. He's an out-and-out target man, much like Cavani. However, Cavani does have incredible strength, which gives him the edge on the Dortmund man. 

It’s very difficult to measure these things and give a definitive answer on who is "better" than who, but through my own intuition and the help of the Bleacher Report ranking system, I believe that only Messi and Ibrahimovic rank as clearly better than Aguero in terms of the best central strikers in the world.

Aguero continues to improve and has looked unplayable for large parts of this season, and City have on their hands a player with the potential to go down as a great.

 

Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.

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