Ranked! The 10 best forwards in the world
Disclaimer: This list only features wide attackers or second strikers, so the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Luis Suarez aren’t eligible. The world’s best centre-forwards are covered here.
10. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Sterling enjoyed the best season of his career in 2017/18, scoring 23 goals and setting up another 12 for Pep Guardiola’s fearsome Manchester City. The 23-year-old doesn’t always look like the most natural finisher, but his end product has come on immensely over the last couple of years.
Sterling offers a great deal more besides goals, though, with the winger’s intelligent movement one of his standout attributes. Sterling's off-the-ball running was a key feature of England’s attacking play at the World Cup, where he didn’t score but still contributed plenty to the cause.
9. Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
Mané's contributions were overshadowed by Mohamed Salah’s sensational season in 2017/18, but the Senegalese speedster still found the back of the net 20 times in all competitions. He’s started the current campaign with a bang too, scoring four goals in Liverpool’s four victories in the Premier League.
A pacey, direct runner with the ball at his feet, Mané commits defenders and opens up space for others with his sharp movement in and out of possession. His shooting is excellent, combining power and precision, and last season’s tally of seven assists shows that the former Southampton flyer can provide for his team-mates too.
8. Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Dybala has had a difficult few months for both country and club. The 24-year-old played just 22 minutes of Argentina’s disappointing World Cup campaign, largely because he was deemed to be too stylistically similar to Lionel Messi. Back at Juventus, meanwhile, he’s found himself on the bench as Max Allegri looks to build a team around Cristiano Ronaldo.
It’s inevitable that Dybala will return to the fold at some point, though, and the prospect of the 5ft 10in schemer supplying the ammunition for Ronaldo is a tantalising one. Nimble, creative and versatile, the ex-Palermo man has the potential to go right to the very top.
7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)
After scoring twice – one a spectacular overhead kick – in the Champions League final victory over Liverpool in May, Bale hinted that his future lay away from Real Madrid. Ronaldo’s subsequent departure changed everything, though, allowing the Welshman to take a prominent role at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Bale has responded well in the early weeks of 2018/19, and if he can stay fit he could enjoy his best season yet in the Spanish capital. Quick, direct and blessed with a tremendous left foot, the 29-year-old has the ability to win games by himself.
6. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
There haven't been many more spectacular debut seasons than Salah’s in 2017/18. Signed from Roma the previous summer, the Egypt international plundered 44 goals in all competitions as Liverpool finished in the top four of the Premier League and reached the Champions League final, in which an early injury to their star man severely damaged their chances of victory.
Salah has always been blessed with the speed of a sprinter, but he’s now far more effective in the final third. Much like Arjen Robben in his heyday, defenders know that the former Chelsea man wants to cut onto his left foot and shoot… but stopping him is a different matter entirely.