Greatest Ever: Football: Top Ten Strikers of All Time

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2009

The 24th installment of Barney Corkhill's Greatest Ever series is here!

In this series, I will look at the greatest talents to grace various sports. Here, I continue to look at football, this time counting down the top 10 strikers of all time.

In this list I have included out and out strikers and support strikers. This was probably even harder to whittle down to ten than the central midfielders list!


10. Romario (BRA)

The fact that a player with over 1000 goals to his name only comes tenth on this list speaks volumes about the quality of the others who make up the top ten. There have been few, if any, better goal-poachers in football history and perhaps no-one is better deserving of the "genius of the goal area" tag bestowed on him by Johan Cruyff.

A journeyman at club level, Romario is perhaps best associated with Vasco de Gama, where he started and finished his illustrious career. In between those times, Romario picked up a whole host of silverware, namely four Rio de Janeiro State Leagues, three Dutch Cups, three Dutch leagues, and a Spanish League.

At international level he was a key part of the 1994 World Cup winning Brazil squad, and he went on to win 85 caps, scoring 71 goals. Along with the World Cup success in 1994, Romario was awarded the Golden Ball for Player of the Tournament, and later was named the FIFA World Player of the Year.

9. Arthur Friedenreich (BRA)

"The King of Football" is a tag that has since been taken away from him by a certain fellow countryman, but Arthur Friedenreich was a deserving recipient of that title before the world have ever even heard of Pele.

There remains some confusion over his goalscoring achievements, but either way, they are outstanding. Some sources claim Friedenreich scored 1239 goals in 1329 games, while others suggest it was 1329 goals in 1239 games.

Both are records any striker would die for, and are comparable to the man who took his "King of Football" crown.

8. Marco Van Basten (NED)

Had his career not been cut short by an ankle injury aged just 27, Marco Van Basten could very well be higher up in this list. His all-round play won him many admirers, and also helped his teams win many trophies.

During his career, he managed to win a Cup Winners' Cup, three Dutch League titles, three Dutch Cups, three Serie A titles and two European Cups. He was also an indispensable figure in Holland's 1988 European Championships success, scoring a spectacular volley in the final to help secure the trophy.

Individually he was voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992, and on three occasions (1988, 1989, and 1992) was awarded the prestigious Ballon d'Or. No player has won it more times, with only Cruyff and Michel Platini being able to match his tally.

7. Fernando Peyroteo (POR)

If you are looking for the greatest goal-scorer of all-time, you need look no further than Fernando Peyroteo. No other player in history can match Peyroteo's goals to game ratio.

While playing for Sporting, Peyroteo scored 331 goals in 187 games. Yes, you read that right. His record of 1.68 goals per game is unparalleled in world football. He often scored multiple times in a game, once scoring nine times in one match.

He also scored eight goals in another match. On three occasions he netted six times in a match, while he hit five goals on twelve occasions and four goals seventeen times.

6. Ronaldo (BRA)

Yes, "the Phenomenon" Ronaldo only makes it to sixth place, such is the quality of the players ahead of him. During the late '90s and early '00s, Ronaldo was the most feared player in the world, and for good reason.

His time at Inter Milan was hampered by injury, but he still did enough to secure a move to Real Madrid's "Galacticos". During his career, Ronaldo won a Brazilian Cup, a Dutch Cup, a Cup Winners' Cup, a Spanish Cup, a UEFA Cup and two La Liga titles.

The success continued at international level, where he was part of the Brazil side that won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups. It is widely regarded that Ronaldo's lack of fitness was a key factor in Brazil losing the 1998 final, such was his importance to the side.

He has twice been named the European Player of the Year, and three times named the FIFA World Player of the Year, a record only Zinedine Zidane can match. He is also the record holder for most goals scored in World Cup competition, getting his 15th during the 2006 tournament.

5. Gerd Muller (GER)

"Der Bomber" Gerd Muller was as important to the success of Bayern Munich and Germany as "Der Kaiser" Franz Beckenbauer. His prolific scoring elevated both sides to be the very best in the world.

At club level he won four Bundesliga titles, four German Cups, a Cup Winners' Cup and three consecutive European Cups. He scored 582 goals in 669 games throughout his club career, and was even more prolific at international level, scoring 68 goals in just 62 caps. Those caps included success at the 1972 European Championships and the 1974 World Cup.

Individually, he was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 1970, and in 2000 he was named World Football's Greatest Goalscorer of All Time. Before Ronaldo overtook him in 2006, Muller was the World Cup's top goalscorer with 14 goals in two World Cups.

4. Eusebio (POR)

Eusebio is the biggest name in the history of Portuguese football. His speed, power, and deadly finishing made him one of the most prolific goalscorers in history, and he led Benfica through their golden period.

While at Benfica, he won the Portuguese League 11 times, the Portuguese Cup five times, and the European Cup twice, reaching another three finals. By the end of his career, he had scored 727 goals in 715 games, although some statisticians claim he scored as many as 1137.

He led Portugal to the semi-finals of the 1966 World Cup, a year after being named European Footballer of the Year. He went on to play 64 times for Portugal, scoring 41 goals.

3. Ferenc Puskas (HUN)

Ferenc Puskas was part of two of the greatest sides ever assembled: Hungary's Magical Magyars, and Real Madrid's all-conquering side of the early '60s. Some may argue that his Honved side, who provided many of Hungary's golden team, could join that list.

Throughout his club career, the "Galloping Major" won five Hungarian League titles, five Spanish League titles, and three European Cups. He scored 514 goals in 529 matches and is widely regarded as the best shooter in world football history.

For Hungary, Puskas scored 84 times in 85 matches, helping them to a gold medal in the 1952 Olympics, and a place in the final of the 1954 World Cup. He also played four times for Spain.

2. Diego Maradona (ARG)

Love him or hate him, you cannot deny the quality Diego Maradona possessed. His pace, dribbling skills, and unpredictability are matched by very few, if any, in the annals of football.

This helped his club teams to much silverware, including an Argentinian League title, a Spanish Cup, two Serie A titles, an Italian Cup and a UEFA Cup. The latter three were with Napoli, a team he almost single-handedly made into a major European force.

Internationally, he inspired Argentina to success in the 1986 World Cup, with the infamous "Hand of God" and sublime "Goal of the Century" coming along the way. He ended up scoring 34 times in 91 appearances for Argentina.

An internet poll conducted by FIFA to determine the Player of the Century saw Maradona claim over 50 percent of the votes, but a FIFA panel decided he should share the title with this man...

1. Pele (BRA)

It may not be an entirely original choice for the greatest striker of all time, but there is a reason why Pele is considered the best player to ever kick a ball - because he is the best player to ever kick a ball. The "King of Football" ruled his empire from the second he laced up his first pair of boots to the second he hung them up for the final time.

He played for Santos for the vast majority of his career, winning silverware almost every year. His trophy haul makes him, together with former Portugal 'keeper Victor Baia, the player with most career titles.

He is the only player to have three World Cup winners medals, playing a huge part in 1958 and 1970 in particular. He went on to play 92 times for Brazil, scoring 77 goals, a record which still stands today.

His 1281 goals in 1363 games is the highest FIFA recognised tally by any player in history, and he has been voted as the Footballer of the Century and Athlete of the Century by numerous sporting organisations.

There is no doubt in my mind, then, that Pele is the greatest striker ever!

Other articles from this series include:

Top Ten Goalkeepers of All Time

Top Ten Right-Backs of All Time

Top Ten Centre-Backs of All Time

Top Ten Left-Backs of All Time

Top Ten Right Midfielders of All Time

Top Ten Centre Midfielders of All Time

Top Ten Left Midfielders of All Time

Coming soon - The Top Ten Managers of All Time!


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