Olivier Giroud and 10 Power Strikers with a Silky Touch
With Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud recently scoring a superb goal that showcased power and finesse in his side’s 3-1 victory against West Ham United, it drew into question which other strikers can be as fierce as the Frenchman while also showcasing a deft touch that belies their powerful stature and general play.
For his goal, Giroud brought the ball down dead with his favoured left-foot before rocketing an effort through the legs of the West Ham ‘keeper with his right-foot. In the space of just a second, the 27-year-old showcased gorgeous control matched with a lethal strike, but who are the 10 other strikers who can balance a silky touch with powerful play?
Swansea: Wilfried Bony
Swansea City and Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony is a player not given the credit he deserves for his good ball-work. The 25-year-old has a very good first touch and also has a lot of effective skills in his arsenal to beat his marker. Bony is also incredibly strong and therefore useful for holding the ball up to bring others into the attack.
He’s having a good debut campaign in the Premier League too, scoring 13 goals. He’s often seen making cheeky first-time backheels to create an attack out of nothing, sometimes to devastating effect.
Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been one of the most talked-about players in La Liga this season. The 25-year-old has bagged 27 goals for the campaign but has built up a reputation for being as skilful as he is powerful in games.
Often a scrappy player eagerly keen to win the ball back, Costa has the finesse that rivals many of Europe’s top strikers. He deserves recognition for being both a powerhouse in attack and silky on the ball. He often tries one-touch flicks to other players, but he can wrap his foot around the ball and rifle in goals from distance while having the strength to power through defenders too.
Manchester City: Alvaro Negredo
Alvaro Negredo, signed from Sevilla this summer, started brightly for Manchester City before suffering from a goal drought of late. Nevertheless, on his day the Spanish international can be unplayable. Negredo has a very deft first touch, while possessing a stocky build to hold off his opponents with ease.
His link-up play is superb too, and he's drawn praise for his creative and scoring abilities from manager Manuel Pellegrini. Negredo has such a powerful strike that gives opposing goalkeepers little chance when he hits the target.
The 28-year old has 14 goals for the season in the league and Europe.
Monaco: Dimitar Berbatov
AS Monaco striker Dimitar Berbatov is one of the best examples for attributes so opposing. The Bulgarian, signed from Fulham this season, has one of the best first touches in the world. He can control any pass from seemingly difficult positions, while often pulling off clever flicks and trick passes to his team-mates.
Berbatov also possesses a fierce right foot and can strike a ball with such power when it’s asked of him.
He's scored seven goals in total this season (for Fulham and Monaco combined).
Aston Villa: Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke’s stock has greatly risen while at Aston Villa. The Belgian international has shown the football world what he can do in one of the most difficult leagues. Benteke loves collecting the ball to feet, either flicking a pass to a teammate or driving into the box himself.
He’s very strong, very athletic, technically superb and has a wonderful silky touch.
The 23-year-old has scored 10 goals for the season.
AC Milan: Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli has reinvented himself at AC Milan. The Italian international showed glimpses of his ability in England when playing for Manchester City, but back in his native Italy the 23-year-old has 14 league goals for the season.
Balotelli’s first touch is superb. He’s proficient at making clever trick passes first-time while having a vast array of skills to help him beat his man.
Then there’s his great pace and power that can make him unplayable on his day. One of the best powerful and silky strikers in Europe at present.
Manchester United: Wayne Rooney
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney is bettered only by a couple of players in Europe for his power, but few stand above him for silky touches. The England international, 28, has the finesse to rival the best in the world but has great pace and power that can make him an unplayable striker.
He’s scored 15 goals and made 10 assists in the Premier League this season. He creates chances with expert first-time passes with clever flicks, while scoring a host of goals through fearsome strikes.
Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is an intimidating figure. His built physique and great pace make him one of the most powerful forwards in Europe, while having a deft touch and wide range of technical attributes that means he’s one of the silkiest players too.
With 28 goals and eight assists in the Spanish La Liga this season, Ronaldo’s enjoying a very prolific campaign. Few can boast more power and more finesse than the Portuguese international.
Zenit St Petersburg: Hulk
Hulk, a forward for Zenit St Petersburg, is unsurprisingly high on the list of powerful and silky frontmen, but he just misses out on the top spot.
The Brazilian international, 27, is one of the most powerful players in football while possessing a silky touch that belies his appearance. Stocky build coupled with fantastic speed over short distances makes him a terrifying player to come up against at pace, and he has a great touch and a skill set to match.
He's scored 16 goals in the league this season.
Paris Saint-Germain: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It had to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the No. 1 spot. The Paris Saint-Germain striker towers over his opponents while possessing more strength than any of his opposite markers in games. But surprisingly, a player of his size has one of the best first touches in the world too.
The Swedish international frequently showcases his silky ability with one-touch flicks to teammates. Of the strikers who combine power with silk and finesse, there simply is no one better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 32-year-old has bagged 25 goals this campaign.