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The 10 Deadliest Finishers in World Football

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2013

The 10 Deadliest Finishers in World Football

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    Alex Grimm/Getty Images

    There's a lot more to football than goals, but it's undeniable that in attack lies the core of the sport, the epicentre at which every child starts out their development.

    Europe is lucky enough to be the hunting ground of a majority of the world's top talents, calling together scorers from all corners of the globe who regularly entertain with their finishing exploits, some more incisive than others.

    Here, we've compared the world's 10 most accurate and frequent of this particular trade, where precision reigns paramount but extra bragging points are awarded for flair and sheer mass of goals.

    Recent form is also given special precedence, this season being the key example in order to give the most relevant results possible, but that doesn't mean previous campaigns are ignored altogether.

    All statistics come courtesy of Squawka.

Honourable Mentions

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Diego Costa

    Second only to Cristiano Ronaldo in the La Liga scoring ranks, Diego Costa has emerged as Atletico Madrid's latest scoring sensation, Radamel Falcao no longer around to shoulder the club's attacking burdens.

    So far this season, the Brazilian and presumably soon-to-be Spanish international has scored 15 league goals in just 15 outings for Los Rojiblancos, averaging a score per game. 

     

    Mario Gomez

    Prior to this summer's departure from Bayern Munich, Mario Gomez had cemented his status as one of Europe's finest poachers but was falling out of the spotlight at the Allianz Arena.

    Now playing in Florence, the Fiorentina hitman's season has been halted early by a knee injury, leaving the German international with only an honourable mention, based mainly on the pedigree he very evidently has when it comes to capitalising on chances. 

     

    Mario Mandzukic

    And the man who now bears the brunt of Bayern's attack duties is none other than Mario Mandzukic.

    The Croatian international proved his weight in gold under Jupp Heynckes last term, netting 15 goals in just 22 league starts and has picked up a similar stride in the 2013/14 campaign, bagging eight in his last 14 Bundesliga outings.

    Given the heap of creative talent at Pep Guardiola's disposal, one would like to think that any main striking option would thrive at Bayern, but Mandzukic has taken on his responsibilities magnificently since moving to the club. 

10. Edinson Cavani

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 46 percent

    Goals: 10

    Edinson Cavani has fallen slightly out of the spotlight since moving to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, no longer the main striking focus of a side in the same sense that he was at Napoli.

    Sometimes shifted out wide under Laurent Blanc, the Uruguayan international is nonetheless deserving of a place in our top 10, acclimating well to Ligue 1 and scoring 10 goals in his first 11 starts for PSG.

    Cavani's propensity to shoot from less-than-satisfactory positions has increased as a result of the forward's change in circumstance, however, and the 26-year-old is the only candidate included to have a shot accuracy of less than 50 percent this league season.

9. Robin Van Persie

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 54 percent

    Goals: 7

    The Golden Boot winner of the 2012/13 Premier League campaign has gotten off to a bumpy start in terms of winning the award for a third consecutive season, scoring only seven goals thus far in the term.

    However, Robin van Persie has been conservative in the way he's gone about his business, having only 26 shots at goal in his last 10 league appearances for Manchester United.

    As pragmatic as ever, the Dutchman tends not to speculate with wondering attempts in front of goal unless he feels a very genuine opportunity presents itself, and it's showing thus far in 2013/14.

8. Radamel Falcao

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    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 58 percent

    Goals: 9

    Only one player on this list boasts a better shot conversion rate than Radamel Falcao, the Colombian scoring with 27.3 percent of his total shots on goal this term, according to Squawka.

    It's only right that the jewel of Monaco's strike force bring the French giants the goods, given the €60 million sum spent on his services this summer.

    Colombia has a habit of producing well-rounded strikers, capable in multiple areas of the trade whether it be poaching, in the aerial game or those efforts from outside the box.

    Falcao is a prime example of that national pattern and is repaying Claudio Ranieri as his side's top scorer this term, with nine goals in 14 games from only 33 shots at goal.

7. Wayne Rooney

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 61 percent

    Goals: 8

    With more than a decade at the top of the English top flight, Wayne Rooney has scored in the double digits for every Premier League campaign he's played as a Manchester United star.

    With eight goals so far this term, the former Everton starlet is close to making this his 10th consecutive campaign of double-digit goals, boasting a highly impressive shot accuracy of 61 percent.

    Rooney manages to balance his superb scoring ability with the responsibilities of being one of United's most impressive playmaking presences, too, making his scoring exploits only more impressive.

    Three of the 28-year-old's goals this season have come by way of free kick, but David Moyes' leading scorer has been a consistent threat on any opposition, whether it be from short or long range.

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Harry Engels/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 55 percent

    Goals: 11

    It wasn't so long ago that Arsene Wenger was reported by the Telegraph as saying that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had overtaken certain other candidates and was now the best player in the world.

    The Swedish sensation certainly has the figures to back up such claims and has scored 11 goals in 15 outings for PSG this season, governing his place as Blanc's main striking outlet with some security, which in itself is saying a lot.

    One of the greatest aspects of Ibrahimovic is that he's far from a one-trick pony, capable of playing in close-knit quarters or open expanses, dealing well with both the simple and the complex.

    The 32-year-old may be higher on the list if not for the fact that only one other candidate can best him in terms of amount of shots on goal, 32 of his 58 attempts at goal this Ligue 1 season finding the target.

5. Robert Lewandowski

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    Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 68 percent 

    Goals: 11

    Robert Lewandowski owns one of the fastest-rising stocks of recent years in Europe, making it of little wonder as to why Bayern Munich have been so fervently linked with his services over the last 18 months.

    Borussia Dortmund's 2013/14 campaign isn't going as well as it has in recent years, the Black and Yellows currently third in the Bundesliga ranks behind Bayern and Sami Hyypia's Bayer Leverkusen.

    Regardless, Lewandowski continues to impress under Juergen Klopp, leading the German top flight with 11 goals from 14 games.

    Every single one of those scores have come from within the opponent's box, showing just what a threat the Polish international is when unmarked inside enemy territory, an incredibly high 68 percent of the forward's shots finding its way on target.

4. Sergio Aguero

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 61 percent

    Goals: 11

    Until Luis Suarez decided to go on a four-goal rampage against Norwich City this week, Sergio Aguero led the Premier League's scoring ranks, providing Manuel Pellegrini with a reason to be highly hopeful about the months to come.

    What's most impressive about the striker's 11-goal haul this term is the fashion in which a large portion of those goals have been bagged, tight angles and distance proving only small bumps in the Argentinian's path.

    On average, one in every four of Aguero's shots will find its way to the back of the net, showcasing the Citizen star's potent blend of careful conservation, mixed with such a classic South American potential for the amazing.

3. Lionel Messi

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 70 percent

    Goals: 8

    Although the pint-sized poacher is having far from his best season at the Camp Nou, Lionel Messi's talents earn him a place as one of the world's finest finishers, something that will come as a surprise to only a few.

    One has to go back to 2009 to find the last La Liga season in which the Argentinian scored fewer than 30 goals, Messi having scored a cumulative total of more than 270 goals across all competition in the last five seasons.

    That equals an average of just under 55 goals per season, so it's fair to say finishing off chances is what the 26-year-old does best.

    With only eight goals to his name this season, the campaign has been interrupted as a result of injuries, but no player on this list has a better shot accuracy than the four-time Ballon d'Or winner, with only 12 of his 40 La Liga shots this season veering off target.

2. Luis Suarez

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    Suarez goals this season (pitch view)
    Suarez goals this season (pitch view)Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 61 percent

    Goals: 13

    Leading the Premier League goal charts this season, Suarez has managed to overcome any personal demons, making a triumphant return to Liverpool's line-up despite being banned for the first five games of the season.

    In just nine games, the Uruguayan has stuck away 13 goals, his shot conversion rate of 29.5 percent being the best of any among our top 10.

    Just under one of every three shots Suarez has will find the back of the net and although Daniel Sturridge may be injured, Brendan Rodgers can rest easy knowing that he's got one of the best strikers in the world leading his attacking line.

    A threat at the set piece, there's no aspect of the attacking game that truly stands out as a weakness in Suarez's game, chances from both inside and outside the area being lapped up by the South American in recent months.

    With two braces, a hat-trick and one four-goal contribution, Suarez has shown that his impact tends to come in lump form for Liverpool, but the Reds are assuredly grateful because of it.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    2013/14 League Statistics

    Shot Accuracy: 63 percent

    Goals: 17

    With many seeing the Portuguese international as a shoo-in for this year's Ballon d'Or award, Cristiano Ronaldo may seem like a monotonous choice as the deadliest finisher in the world, but the figures speak for themselves.

    No player in Europe's top five leagues has had more attempts on goal than Ronaldo this season, whose tally of 84 shots shows an insatiable hunger to make the difference.

    The only thing more incredible than the forward's tendency to test the opposition's defence is that fact that more than 20 percent of those attempts actually find the back of the net.

    With 17 goals this term, Ronaldo is again the leader of the world's scoring elite and has displayed his potential to score from both near or far.

    Three goals from outside the box so far this La Liga season, Ronaldo's development has seen him come closer to that of a more conventional striker's presence, but thus is the value of the superstar's versatility that it remains impossible to label him as one, despite the scoring record suggesting it should be the case.

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