Messi, Rooney, Villa and the Top 50 Strikers in World Football Right Now

Thomas AtzenhofferCorrespondent IIJune 29, 2011

Messi, Rooney, Villa and the Top 50 Strikers in World Football Right Now

0 of 51

    So how do you start to really quantify the top 50 strikers in the world today. You could simply go down a list of the highest goal scorers. However, that would not give justice to many of the best in the world.

    For me, being a great striker is not always having the highest goal tally, although that is key to being there, if you do not produce the goods what good are you truly.

    I think some of it has to be a proven record that not only are you a good scorer this season, but you have been productive in the past, and not only that you have to have that psychological factor.

    The fact that Lionel Messi is going to be knocking on your door for 90-plus minutes is a little more frightening than let's say, Carlos Vela. Not to knock on the Mexican International, but he doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of mortal men like Barcelona's 23-year-old Argentine sensation.

    With all that said, let's get cracking on this painstaking list of the top 50 net-shredding, onion bag busting, goal-scoring attackers in the game today. I am sure there is someone left out, so I will admit it before I get hacked to pieces on here, but I did my best, and I welcome any and all suggestions on additions.

HM. Brown Ideye

1 of 51

    French Club Sochaux finished in fifth place this past season in Ligue 1. A large part of that success was due to 22-year-old Nigerian striker Brown Ideye.

    His 15 goals and six assists help take his club into the UEFA Europa League next season.

50. Antonio Floro Flores

2 of 51

    Udinese forward Antonio Floro Flores helped Genoa to a respectable 10th place finish in Serie A after he was loaned to the club for the second half of the season.

    With the possible impending sale of Alexis Sanchez, he might just have earned his job back on the front line for the Zebrette.

49. Ricky Van Wolfswinkel

3 of 51

    Rising star Ricky van Wolfswinkel had a breakout season with Dutch Eredivisie club FC Utrecht. His 15 goals in 29 appearances helped the team secure a ninth place finish.

    At only 22 years old, he could be on the up an up as a new Dutch attacker to watch out for in the future.

48. Luc Castaignos

4 of 51

    Another rising Dutch starlet shares in the spoils of the top 50. This time, is it 18-year-old Luc Castaignos of Feyenoord Rotterdam. The Dutch club endured a rather difficult season only finishing 10th in the Eredivisie.

    However, the 15 goals scored by their young striker gives them much hope for the future, and if Castaignos continues to improve as expected, he could be a phenom in the coming several years.

47. Andy Carroll

5 of 51

    Liverpool's Geordie giant gets into the list as the first English to appear. He spent last season between Newcastle United, where he netted 11 goals, and Liverpool where he scored two in an injury-inhibited second half.

    The combination of Carroll and Luis Suarez looks to be a building block for the future of Liverpool, and the aerial prowess of Carroll is a welcomed addition to the Reds arsenal.

46. Pablo Osvaldo

6 of 51

    Last season in La Liga, Pablo Osvaldo scored 13 goals and created four assists in only 22 appearances for Barcelona's other club Espanyol.

    The former Bologna forward is yet to have a complete season in either La Liga or in Serie A before, and if he could get a full 38 games under his belt, he could possibly be scoring 18 to 20 goals a season.

45. Francesco Totti

7 of 51

    Despite being 34 years old, Roma's legendary captain Francesco Totti is still on top of his game. With a overall seventh ranked 15 goals last season in the Serie A, he led the Wolves to a sixth place finish, getting them into the UEFA Europa League.

    With his current appetite for competition still being as high as ever, he could experience at least a few more years at the top level with the armband before he more than likely hands it over to Daniella De Rossi.

44. José Salomon Rondon

8 of 51

    Malaga forward José Salomon Rondon scored 14 goals in La Liga last term. At 21 years of age, he has plenty of time to mature and develop into an even more threatening force.

43. Bjorn Vleminckx

9 of 51

    Bjorn Vleminckx led the Eredivisie with 23 goals for NAC Nijmegan last season. His exploits earned him a move to Club Brugge this summer as he will hope to light up the Belgian League next season.

42. Marco Di Vaio

10 of 51

    Bologna's Marco Di Vaio may be 34 years old, but he certainly dusted off any cobwebs last season as he scored 19 goals for the Rossoblu.

    His goals ensured that there was no relegation for the club as they finished six points ahead of Sampdoria who suffered the drop in 18th position.

41. Dirk Kuyt

11 of 51

    Dirk Kuyt is possibly the hardest working player in the English Premier League. He never stops running, and he never ceases to be clutch. The Dutchman stepped in for the departed Fernando Torres and performed admirable for Liverpool last season as he kept the front line warm for Andy Carroll.

    Kuyt's 13 goals led the Reds for the season and expect him to play a key part in the coming season under Kenny Dalglish as well.

40. Alexis Sanchez

12 of 51

    Udinese forward and Chilean International Alexis Sanchez burst onto the Serie A and world scene this past season. His 12 goals and six assists helped to propel Udinese to fourth place in Italy and allow them a shot at UEFA Champions League football for the first time in years.

    It is unknown whether he will be seen in Serie A again next season as rumors continue to swirl about his future in Italy.

39. Peter Odemwingie

13 of 51

    West Bromwich Albion have 15 goals from Peter Odemwingie to be thankful for, as he helped to keep the Baggies up and out of the relegation fight as they finished 11th last season.

    He will need a repeat performance next season as he has been tipped by fellow Bleacher Report Writer Karl Matchett as a possible 2011-2012 EPL Golden Boot Winner.

38. Raul Gonzalez

14 of 51

    All that can be said here is, legendary. Former Real Madrid forward and living Icon Raul Gonzalez proved to any critics out there that he still had plenty of gas left in the tank as he helped lead his new club, Schalke 04 to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.

    Ironically enough, he did so in partnership with another former Real Madrid man in Klaas Jan-Huntelaar.

    The Spanish striker slotted home 13 goals for the German club and is expected to have at least one more good season left in him next year.

37. Didier Drogba

15 of 51

    Didier Drogba had an off year last season. He made up for some of his lacking in goals with a nice haul of assists, but the Ivorian needed to put the ball in the back of the net for the Blues, and he quite frankly did not deliver.

    At 33 years old, it is possible he could fall victim to an impending Chelsea clear out under their new manager Andres Villas-Boas.

36. Alexandre Pato

16 of 51

    Brazilian and AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato scored 14 Serie A goals in only 19 appearances last season as he was part of a Scudetto winning strike force.

    He has many years to come at only 21 years of age and has a chance to blossom into one of Milan's greatest strikers all time if he indeed stays with them for the duration of his career as he suggested on Goal.com Monday.

35. Kevin Gameiro

17 of 51

    Former FC Lorient Striker Kevin Gameiro parlayed a 22-goal and three-assist season into a move to Paris Saint Germain as of nearly two weeks ago.

    The 24-year-old Frenchman scored 64 goals in 138 total appearances for Lorient, and he will look to make the same impact for his new club as they look to build on a successful season where they finished fourth in Ligue 1.

34. Darren Bent

18 of 51

    No matter what, English striker Darren Bent seems to find a way to get the ball in the back of the net. His 17 goals were fourth in the EPL last season. He will be a key figure in the rebuilding of Aston Villa under new manager Alex McLeish.

33. Lucas Barrios

19 of 51

    Since joining Borussia Dortmund, Argentine attacker Lucas Barrios has scored 47 goals in 79 appearances in the German Bundesliga.

    His exploits of 16 league goals last season have him as a top prospect around Europe. Recently, he has been expected to be sold, with Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner to come in as his replacement.

32. Loic Remy

20 of 51

    French International and Marseille forward Loic Remy help his club to a second place finish last season. His 15 goals led the team, and they will look to retain him for another year of service as the Southern coastal club will look to reclaim the league title after being beaten by Lille.

31. Lisandro Lopez

21 of 51

    Lisandro Lopez has been in fine form since joining Lyon from FC Porto in 2009. His second full season in France saw him score 17 league goals while on his way back to the Champions League after a third place finish.

    At 28 years of age, he will be expected to help groom his possible future star and replacement, Yannis Tafer recently returned from a loan to Toulouse.

30. Giampaolo Pazzini

22 of 51

    Italian forward Giampaolo Pazzini scored 21 goals between Sampdoria and Inter Milan last season. His January transfer to the fashion capital helped him to avoid relegation with his former club.

    He will look to continue his success for Inter alongside Samuel Eto'o, in hopes of building a partnership to rival their fellow San Siro residents whom beat them to the Serie A title this season.

29. Milivoje Novakovič

23 of 51

    The 32-year-old Slovenian striker Milivoje Novakovič led FC Köln's front line with 17 goals for the club helping them to earn a mediocre 10th place finish. His partnership with German International Lukas Podolski profited 30 goals between the two of them.

28. Romelu Lukaku

24 of 51

    Widely believed to be the future generations version of Didier Drogba, RSC Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku at only 19 years of age is knocking on the door of becoming the next big thing, literally.

    The 6'3" Belgian has scored 39 goals and provided 14 assists in he last two seasons with the Belgian giants. With a future as bright as his smile, it will only be a matter of time before we see him in one of the bigger European leagues.

27. Papiss Demba Cisse

25 of 51

    Papiss Demba Cissé scored 22 goals in the Bundesliga for FC Freiburg in route to a ninth place finish. The 26-year-old Senegalese striker will hope to continue his success in hopes of moving his club further up the table in 2011-12.

26. Fernando Llorente Torres

26 of 51

    The first Fernando Torres to make the list is Atletic de Bilbao's sensational 18-goal scorer. At 26 years old, he is nearing his prime years, and it is possible that a move could be made for Spain's other Torres sometime in the future.

25. Karim Benzema

27 of 51

    Karim Benzema revitalized his position at Real Madrid in the second half of the season ending with 15 La Liga goals. The French International has been up and down since his move from Lyon, but so far, Jose Mourinho appears to be keeping his faith in him.

    The move to bring in Emanuel Adebayor on loan from Manchester City, seemed to help enliven the stagnating Benzema.

24. Dimitar Berbatov

28 of 51

    Dimitar Berbatov's 20 goals won him the English Premier League Golden Boot and helped Manchester United to a record 19th English League title. Despite his efforts, it looks as though he could become excess to Sir Alex Ferguson's plans in the coming year.

23. Moussa Sow

29 of 51

    Lille and Senegal striker Moussa Sow scored 25 goals in 35 games last season as he led the line for Lille to win the Ligue 1 title. He also collected the Ligue 1 scoring title.

    He owes a large part of his success to the exploits of teammates Gervinho and Eden Hazard whom were as good as providing him service as they were at distracting opponents to let him do the damage necessary to win.

22. Alessandro Matri

30 of 51

    Alessandro Matri came out of nowhere this season to secure a move to Juventus and go on to finish the season with 20 goals and even earn a call up to the Italian National team for the first time in his career at the age of 26.

    His 20 goals came in a combined total of 39 games between Cagliari and Juventus, and he will look to continue his run at the top with Alessandro Del Piero next season in Turin.

21. Gonzalo Higuain

31 of 51

    Despite a season cut short do to injury, Argentine and Real Madrid Striker Gonzalo Higuain still managed 10 goals and six assists in La Liga. He would have done more for his club had he had the opportunity.

    In total he scored 13 goals for the Spanish giants in only 25 appearances during all competitions. With a few more years of growth he will have possibly developed into one of the best of his generation.

20. Javier Hernandez

32 of 51

    Mexican International and Manchester United Forward, Javier "Chicharito," Hernandez is set to make a name for himself in his upcoming second season under Sir Alex Ferguson.

    He scored 13 goals in the English Premier League in 29 appearances and added another seven goals in other competitions to bring his opening season total to 20.

    His pace and effort will surely see him build an exciting partnership with Wayne Rooney in the future.

19. Antonio Di Natale

33 of 51

    Some strikers peak early and fade away, while others peak when they should be in the twilight of their prime years. Udinese's 33-year-old Captain, Antonio Di Natale, is one of the later.

    This past season, he scored 28 goals in 36 league appearances earning the Serie A scoring title, and securing the best total goal haul of his career with 30 in all competitions. The season before, he scored 29 league goals in just 35 games.

    The old man as some would call him, is certainly set to have at least one more season in the sun next year as his club look to have UEFA Champions League football in their future.

18. Gervinho

34 of 51

    Ivory Coast and Lille forward Gervinho created quite a name for himself between his performances at the 2010 World Cup, and in his 14-goal and 10-assists campaign with French Ligue 1 winners Lille last year.

    A subject of much transfer speculation, Gervinho has all the skills to develop into an even more complete and threatening front man.

17. Roberto Soldado

35 of 51

    Los Che striker Roberto Soldado was brought in to fill the boots of Barcelona bound David Villa at the beginning of last season. This move meant his sixth transfer during his career, but Valencia had faith that he could be their man.

    That faith and belief paid off as Soldado provided 25 goals in a 45-game campaign that saw his club finish third in La Liga and remain in the Champions League for next season.

16. Giuseppe Rossi

36 of 51

    New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi continues to steadily increase his value each year with Villarreal. The American turned Italian International scored 32 goals in 56 games for the Yellow Submarine last campaign.

    With his continued rise to the top, it is only a matter of time before he moves up the ladder as he is already speculated to be on the move this summer after his best season ever at only 24 years old.

15. Hulk

37 of 51

    Hulk burst onto the scene with his strike partner Radamel Falcao this past season. Hulk gathered up 36 goals and 21 assists in 51 games for FC Porto last season, and he looks to possibly be on the move to a bigger European stage than the Portuguese Liga if the right offer comes in for Proto.

    His 23 league goals in 26 games earned him the Portuguese scoring title, but he was outscored in total by his strike partner Falcao.

14. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

38 of 51

    The big Swedish striker helped to lead AC Milan back to the top of the pile after a disappointing time with Barcelona. His playing style continues to be perfectly fit for Serie A, and he keeps managing to lift Scudetto's no matter which side of Milan he plays for.

    His 14 goals equaled the haul of strike partner Alexandre Pato, and he will hope to reform their duo next season in their title defense.

13. Fernando Torres

39 of 51

    There is no better place for Fernando Torres to hold than the No.13 spot in this ranking. He was the fiercest striker in the English Premier League in his first season with Liverpool and was one of the most feared for the next two season in Red, and if it was a big game, the Kop expected "El Nino," to deliver, and the majority of the time he did.

    He broke the hearts of many Liverpool fans, including myself when he moved to Chelsea in January of this year despite looking to have started to rekindle his form under Kenny Dalglish.

    His move turned ever more sour as he scored more goals against Chelsea last season than he did for them. He was the man that gave the Reds a 2-0 victory at Anfield against the Blues, and he only managed to score one goal with the Blues despite having 18 appearances to get in the mix.

    However, you can never doubt his skill, Torres is only 27, and has plenty of time to show he is even better than people remember, and with a new manager, and an owner with a boat load of money about to be spent to strengthen his squad, Torres could be a major benefactor of new creative talent in the midfield.

12. Radamel Falcao

40 of 51

    Radamel Falcao scored 39 total goals for FC Porto last season as he helped former boss Andres Villas-Boas win the Portuguese Liga and the UEFA Europa League. The appointment of his former boss to Chelsea has seen Falcao and teammate Hulk get a lot of recent transfer speculation.

11. Alvaro Negrado

41 of 51

    Sevilla forward Alvaro Negrado regained some much-needed spotlight last season with 26 goals in 55 appearances for the southern Spanish club.

    He was tied for third place in the La Liga goal standings along with Sergio Aquero and looks to have taken up the mantle of Luis Fabiano whom had a down season with the club this past year.

    At only 25 years old, Negrado looks to be hitting his stride as he looks set to march into the prime of his career.

10. Edinson Cavani

42 of 51

    Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani ran riot for Serie A side Napoli last season. With 33 goals in 47 games for the Partenopei and a second place finish in the league's scoring, charts have seen the 24 year old's stock skyrocket in the past several months, and he could be the subject of a big money transfer before it is all over.

    The Naples club's third place finish will see them in the UEFA Champions League next season, which could help keep a hold of Cavani for at least one more year.

9. Carlos Tevez

43 of 51

    The Argentine bulldog Carlos Tevez never stopped running or scoring in his pursuit of winning a trophy for Manchester City. Despite constantly falling out with his manager and more negative headlines than many can count, he managed to keep out playing the odds of distraction.

    He scored 23 total goals across 39 appearances for the Citizens and was the joint Golden Boot winner for the English Premier League with Dimitar Berbatov with 20 League goals.

    It is still undecided what will really happen in the future for Tevez, but one thing is certain, he is one of the hardest working forwards in the game, and when he plays, goals follow.

8. Wayne Rooney

44 of 51

    Despite a season with a down goal tally and much off-field scandal, Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the world.

    He finally got a shot back at Lionel Messi when he scored the early equalizer against Barcelona at Wembley in the Champions League final, but it was not meant to be as the Blaugrana again triumphed over the Englishman just as they did in 2009.

    With a new strike partner in Javier Hernandez, Rooney looks to be on the rise again, and next season, we could see him back to his old ways where he bangs in 34 goals across a season like in 2009-10.

7. Samuel Eto'o

45 of 51

    This season Samuel Eto'o was back doing what he does best for a club—scoring goals.  Accomplishing 37 goals and 15 assists in 53 games is nothing for anyone to frown upon. His 21 league goals for Inter Milan put him third in the league behind Antonio Di Natale, and Edinson Cavani.

    At the age of 30, the Cameroon striker is showing no signs of slowing down as he lives to put the ball in the back of the net.

6. Sergio Kun Aguero

46 of 51

    Atletico Madrid superstar Sergio Kun Aguero has made a name for himself as one of the best strikers in La Liga for the past four years. His last four campaigns in Spain have resulted in no fewer than 20 goals a season.

    This year, he collected 27 in 41 games which is his best strike rate for the Mattress Men to date and has him the topic of multiple rumors surrounding his future at Atletico.

    At only 23 years old, the young Argentine has many more years to come and has much left to prove.

5. David Villa

47 of 51

    Spanish striker David Villa scored 23 goals in his inaugural season with Barcelona. Not too shabby, as he also joined in on the spoils of the La Liga and Champions League titles.

    Despite being second in scoring at his club behind a certain little Argentine, Villa is also a beast on the International stage where he is the all-time leading goal scorer for Spain with 46 goals in 75 caps and holds various other records with FIFA and the Spanish National side.

    His second season with Pep Guardiola's squad could perhaps be much better than his first as he is now acclimatized to the Barcelona system and style of play.

4. Mario Gomez

48 of 51

    Mario Gomez moved to Bayern Munich at the start of the 2009-2010 campaign following a season to remember at VfL Stuttgart where he made 44 appearances and scored 35 goals.

    However, the hype and expectations were dashed for Gomez, and he was looked at as a failure in his first season with the Bavarian Giants as he only managed 14 goals in 45 games.

    But the faith of the club would pay off in the 2010-11 season. The 25-year-old German International hit the goal trail collecting a career best 39 goals in his second 45-game season for Bayern and winning the German Bundesliga's scoring award for the past year after tallying 28 league goals.

3. Robin Van Persie

49 of 51

    If Robin Van Persie can play all of next season the way he did in the 33 games he managed this past season, he could be a beast for Arsenal in the English Premier League during the 2011-12 campaign.

    Without a doubt, they need him to be as in his 25 League games he scored 18 goals and managed seven assists, while he contributed an additional four goals in other competitions.

    His strike rate in the second half of the season was phenomenal, and his eight goals and two assists in the last 10 games of the season helped to keep Arsenal in the Champions League next season and brought him to third place in the English scoring charts.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

50 of 51

    If it were not for one sensational South American, there would be no other top forward to take first place away from Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Since his move to La Liga from Manchester United the Portuguese International has been nothing but sensational.

    He was a masterful forward at United, but he has shined like few others once he entered the Santiago Bernabeu. In his first season with the Blanco's, he scored 33 goals in 35 games.

    This past season saw him score 53 goals in 54 games. That is a strike rate unmatched in almost all cases on the world stage.

1. Lionel Messi

51 of 51

    There is not another forward in the world right now that is more on top of his game than Lionel Messi. The young Argentine star has been a sensation for Barcelona for several years now and looks to have no end in sight.

    This past season, we made 55 appearances, scored 53 goals, and collected 24 assists in route to another La Liga Title and another UEFA Championsl League Title. Since 2004, he has already reached 269 appearances, 180 goals and 73 assists for Barca.

    With virtually no changes as of yet to his sides starting 11, he could be just as, or more deadly next year as the Blaugrana look to repeat on all fronts.