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Top 10 best strikers in world football in 2023: Ranked

Published at :December 26, 2023 at 4:30 PM
Modified at :December 27, 2023 at 6:00 PM
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A year that was full of goals from top strikers is coming to an end

In a game of football, two teams are involved and those two teams’ task is simple, make the ball cross the opposition’s goal line. That is how a goal gets added to the scoreline. And whoever ends up doing it more, wins the game. As one of the late legends of the game, Johan Cruyff said “To win you have to score one more goal than your opponent”

With 11 players in a side, a striker is headed with the most important task which is scoring a goal. Because no matter how good football a team plays, if the ball never crosses the opposition goalline, everything is useless. At least in competitive football.

In this article, we take a look at the top 10 strikers who have continuously excelled over the whole of the 2023 year.

10. Loïs Openda

When the 2022-23 season began, Loïs Openda was a name unheard of. By the end of it, his name was in record books. In Ligue 1, Openda netted 21 goals for RC Lens. And since Georges Lech’s 1966-67 season, nobody had crossed the 20-goal mark for the club in a single top-flight season. After helping Lens secure a second place and a UEFA Champions League group stage spot, Openda moved to RB Leipzig in the summer.

And guess what, he is now making waves in the Bundesliga. Openda has so far started in every one of the 16 league games for his side in the ongoing 2023-24 season. He has 11 goals and 4 assists in that period. Due to his last season’s Ligue 1 exploits, across the top five European leagues, Loïs Openda is the only fourth Belgian player to touch the 20-goal mark in the 21st century. The other three – Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens.

9. Serhou Guirassy

Last season while Serhou Guirassy was on loan at VfB Stuttgart, the player had a decent run of 11 goals in 22 Bundesliga appearances. And even scored in the relegation playoffs to keep his side in the top tier.

Having made a permanent switch in the summer, both the club and the player benefitted. In 14 Bundesliga appearances, 17 goals is not a bad output. Especially considering one is only second to Harry Kane. Kane is leading the top scorer charts with 21 goals.

Come January, all the services of this growing marksman can be acquired by just paying a £15 million release clause. The rewards far outweigh any risk considering Manchester United forked out £72 million for a striker in the summer who is yet to score having made 14 Premier League appearances.

8. Ollie Watkins

One of the Premier League strikers who is having an excellent season. The Aston Villa forward is intelligent enough to find his teammates in better positions just like he is in scoring a goal by himself. Ollie Watkins’s energy hardly drains as he can be seen running for most of the game. So far the striker has started every league game playing 1,583 minutes out of a possible 1,620. In 18 games, Watkins has scored 9 goals and more impressively also has 6 assists.

The complete forward had 6 assists after 37 league games for the 2022-23 season. So progress has been made in that sector tremendously. At a 0.41 goals per-match ratio, the former Brentford forward had even netted 15 goals. The player had a poor start in last season which can be seen by his 3 goals in 17 matches. Then in the second half of 2022-23, Watkins scored 12 goals in 21 league games, all in 2023.

7. Karim Benzema

Al-Akhdoud vs Al-Ittihad: Predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head, telecast
Karim Benzema won the Ballon d’Or in 2022

The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner has played the 2023 year with two clubs. Before his move to Saudi Arabia, Karim Benzema was headlining the Real Madrid frontline in Europe. For Los Blancos, the Frenchman had a brilliant 2022-23 season. In 43 appearances in all competitions, the 36-year-old forward netted 31 goals. And even his all 4 UCL goals came in 2023.

Now after a summer switch, Benzema leads the Al Ittihad Club as a captain and a striker. In the Saudi Pro League, this season, the number 9 has scored 9 goals along with 4 assists in 14 league games.

6. Victor Osimhen

Yes, Victor Osimhen has penned a new deal. A deal that will net him €10 million per year after paying taxes. And before any club fans think, Osimhen won’t be moving, it can be just the opposite. The contract also has a very affordable €130 million release clause, at least for the big clubs across Europe and many money-backed Saudi Arabian ones.

Any player is likely to get an improved deal only if he has shown his worth. The Nigerian forward was indispensable in the 2022-23 Serie A winning run for Napoli. And even grabbed the Italian first-tier football’s Golden Boot for the season scoring 26 goals in 32 league games. This season the numbers have dropped a bit considering Osimhen has 7 after 13 games. But that happens in football under new management.

5. Lautaro Martínez

Lautaro Martinez Juventus vs Inter
Lautaro Martinez leads the scoring chart in Serie A 2023-24

Hadn’t it been for Victor Osimhen’s talismanic season, Lautaro Martínez could have had the 2022-23 Serie A golden boot. The Argentinian crossed the 20-goal mark to net 21 goals last season in league 38 appearances. The player was also important in helping Inter Milan reach the 2023 UEFA Champions League finals.

Martínez is having a fantastic Italian top-flight season now. The striker is already running away with the top scorer charts having scored 15 goals. Second placed Domenico Berardi has 9. Inter is also leading the standings under his leadership as a captain. After playing every league game possible last season and also up to now, Lautaro Martínez will be out for a week or two with a muscle strain. But one can be sure, he will be at it once again after his return.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has changed the football landscape of Saudi Arabia in just a year. After having problems at Manchester United under Erik ten Hag and with the hierarchy which the player himself revealed in an interview with Piers Morgan, people expected change. United and Ronaldo parted ways after dissolving the contract.

The 2023 began with a bang. Al Nassr, a club from the Saudi Pro League, announced the signing of CR7 on January 1. Because of the stature of Ronaldo, top players have also joined the league and made it way more competitive than it used to be. Along with “The Ronaldo Effect”, the club even bought in goals and records. After arriving midway through the 2022-23 season, Ronaldo scored 14 goals in 16 Saudi league games. And this season stands tall even at 38 in both the scoring and assists department of the league.

He has 17 goals and 9 assists already. In short, the 38-year-old has over 50 goals for the club and the Portugal national football team this calendar year 2023.

3. Kylian Mbappé

On 20 December, Kylian Mbappé turned 25. And yes, he is still young considering the striker has won the 2018 FIFA World Cup and single-handedly almost tore apart the Argentine dream in 2022 because of a final hat trick. Last season, RC Lens challenged Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title. And the competition was down to the wire. PSG won the 2022-23 league title with a single point. Mbappé scored a chunk of goals in that run. Scoring 29 in 34 league appearances.

This season is a bit different. The megastar is no longer supported by Neymar, Lionel Messi or even Marco Verratti. All three have changed clubs in the summer. Still, the Frenchman is firing on all cylinders. In the 2023-24 ongoing Ligue 1 season, Kylian Mbappé has 18 goals. That is 10 more than AS Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder who is second.

2. Harry Kane

From being an 11-year-old learner in the academy of Tottenham Hotspurs to excelling at scoring goals for the senior team. Harry Kane has done it all. The England national football team captain may have finally left Spurs in the summer, but the numbers are there, the records are there. Last season 30 goals in Premier League after 38 games represented the consistency of the forward over the years. The 2018 FIFA World Cup top scorer needed a change. He had turned 30 but Kane’s trophy cabinet was still empty.

Bayern Munich exchanged a reported sum of €100 million with Tottenham to get their man. So far Kane is leading the Bundesliga top scorer charts with his 21 goals in 15 league games. The player also has 4 in 6 UCL group stage games. Kane may be willing to go further, to overtake Bayer 04 Leverkusen and probably end with his first trophy by the end of the season.

1. Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland spearheaded Manchester City’s treble win in the 2022-23 season

If one looks back, Erling Haaland was probably the missing piece of the puzzle for Manchester City. The 22-year-old Norwegian footballer arrived in the summer of 2022. People were aware of his striking prowess due to his tenure in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund. But the forward took it to another level.

In a process that broke many Premier League records, Haaland ended up scoring 36 goals in 35 league games. And he was the only reason, Kane couldn’t stack a fourth Golden Boot even after scoring 30 odd goals. By the end of the 2022-23 season, City ended up winning their maiden UEFA Champions League trophy. And even a treble.

After a 2022-23 season that involved scoring 52 goals, Haaland is still going strong. His 14 goals keep him as the current PL top-scorer, even after missing 3 games due to a foot stress reaction. 19 goals in 22 games in all competitions this season is not a bad return after all. And yes, he only missed out on the 2023 Ballon d’Or to the Argentine footballing legend called Lionel Messi.

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