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The Top Three Strikers in the World…and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Adi-Oula SebastianCorrespondent IIJanuary 10, 2017

The Top Three Strikers in the World…and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Last year an English newspaper or tabloid ran the headline “The best players of the world (and Xavi)”—evidence of the blatant ignorance the English media display. Since a Barcelona player has been involved, and the transfer of Ibrahimovic to AC Milan is hailed as the second coming of the Messiah, let’s give it a little twist.

    Everybody—in Milan at the very least—seems to believe that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the top three strikers, if not the best striker, in the world let’s see if there is any truth to it.

    Please enjoy "The Top Three Strikers in the World...and Zlatan Ibrahimovic”

    Only recognized strikers are listed, hence the omissions of slideshow favorites Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, though their strike rate puts even the best of strikers to shame.

    In order to maintain quality, only those who have finished in the top three of the big three leagues (England, Italy, Spain) are being considered. Further, only those who have been shortlisted for the Ballon D’Or in the past qualify, thus the absence of taly’s Antonio Di Natale.

Honorable mention: Fernando Torres, 26 - Liverpool FC

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    Domestic League

    If it weren’t for his constant injury niggles he would’ve been the prime suspect to win the golden boot. Still, even in his limited appearances El Nino found the net 18 times in just 22 matches (0.81 goals per game).

    Continental (Euro League)

    Never one to disappoint, he scored four goals in four matches.

    Domestic Cup

    The only competition were the Spain international failed to score, 0 in two.

    Other Cups

    No appearances

    Grand total: 22 goals

No. 3 Gonzalo Higuain, 22 – Real Madrid

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    Domestic League

    El Pipita has only been in Spain for three years, yet he is scoring them for fun. In the last season he netted 27 in only 32 games, which is a phenomenal strike rate of 0.84 goals per game. And he had to share goal-scoring duties with blockbuster signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Assists: 7

    Domestic Cup

    In the domestic cup competition, Higuain couldn’t score any in his only appearance and had little chance to improve since Real Madrid gate crashed against minions.

    Continental (Champions League)

    Higuain, just like his fellow teammates, was rather disappointing in Europe with just two goals from seven games (0.28 goals per game). But at 22 there’s much room for improvement and he is more likely to get better.

    Grand total: 29 goals

No. 2 Wayne Rooney, 24 - Manchester United

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    Domestic League

    Wazza seems to enjoy his newfound freedom after Ronaldo left the rainy Eastlands for the sunnier climate of Madrid. Rooney enjoyed his best season to date and found the net 26 times in 32 appearances (0.81 goals per game).

    Assists: 5

    Continental (Champions League)

    Even in Europe’s elite cup competition Rooney scored with relative ease and added a further 5 goals from 7 games (0,71 goals/per game).

    Domestic Cup

    Just like his fellow colleague, Waaza failed to score in his only appearance.

    Other Cups (League, Super Cups)

    In the not-so-prestigious cups Rooney scored three goals in four games (0.75 goals per game).

    Grand total: 34 goals

No. 1 Didier Drogba, 32 - Chelsea FC

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    Domestic League

    Drog-Drog, the almost unplayable striker, terrorized Premier League clubs and banged in 29 goals in 32 appearances to an incredible striker rate of 0.90 goals per game. A ratio like that would suggest that he is extremely selfish, but he provided an astounding 13 assists (in comparison, Cesc Fabregas delivered 15 for his teammates).

    Continental (Champions League)

    Apparently, Drogba doesn’t know the difference between England and continental Europe because he picked up where he left off and scored three goals in his five-game cameo (0.6 goals per game).

    Domestic Cup

    As the only striker who didn’t disappointed in the domestic cup scene, Drogba added to his total tally by scoring three goals in four appearances (0.75 goals per game).

    Other Cups (League, Super Cups)

    In other cups, his ratio is a perfect two in two.

    Grand total: 37 goals

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 28 - FC Barcelona/AC Milan

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    Domestic League

    Ibracadabra managed to score 16 goals in 29 appearances (0.55 goals per game). Neither his goal tally or his striker rate are something to sniff at. One could argue that he needed time to adapt to La Liga and his new surroundings, but his numbers just pale in comparison to those of Cristiano Ronaldo.

    The newly CR7 went ballistic and scored 26 goals in 29 appearances (0.90 goals per game) even though he was sidelined for almost all of October and November of 2009.

    Assists: 9

    Continental (Champions League)

    For the first time in his distinguished career, Ibrahimovic netted in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, but his numbers are still not what one might consider great: four goals in 10 appearances (0.4 goals per game).

    Domestic Cup

    In the Copa del Rey he did slightly better one goal in two matches (0.5 goals/per game).

    Grand total: 21

The Prime Contender: David Villa, 28 - FC Barcelona

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    Domestic

    El Guaje is the very reason why Zlatan Ibrahimovic decided to leave Catalunya for Milan. He scored a respectable 21 goals in 32 games (0.66 goals per game).

    Assists: 2

    Continental (Euro League)

    David Villa maintained his standard and scored 6 goals in 10 appearances (0,6 goals/per game)

    Domestic Cup

    0-for-2.

    Other Cups

    No appearances

    Grand total: 27

The Conclusion

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    Ibrahimovic had the services of Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi, but he still failed to improve on his numbers. FC Barcelona, unlike his previous team Inter Milan, create chances in abundance so this can’t be a reason for his relatively low numbers. He may have scored a brace in London but whoever watched the game knows that he could’ve at least scored four or five, such is his wastefulness in front of goal.

    In terms of raw talent, he is superior to every player on the list. He is superior in technique, creativity, height and power. His only flaw is his lack of pace but then again he is almost 2m tall. What do you expect?

    Still, what his colleagues lack in talent or physical gift they make up with a work rate that obviously compensates for their shortcomings in other areas.

    Ibracadabra had all the necessary tools to succeed and exceed in a Blaugrana shirt but his laziness prevented him from becoming the perfect striker. Samuel Eto’o is by far inferior in almost all aspects but he succeeded because of his ridiculous work rate and lethal finishing.

    What started off as a match made in heaven ended in utterly disappointment for all parties involved.

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