When we start talking about the greatest strikers of all time, our thoughts drift towards those players in particular who made the Premier League arguably the most exciting league in the world.
So what makes a player the best striker of all time? Is it the amount of player of the year or footballer of the year awards he won? Or is it the phenomenal goalscoring exploits that would make the likes of Jimmy Greaves, Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller, Marco van Basten, Alfredo di Stefano or even Ferenc Puskas proud? Or simply the number of goals scored?
Being the best player does involve a lot of things going your way but being one of the greatest strikers in the game’s history is a title that not many players are worthy of.
So let’s have a look at some of the greatest goalscorers (which also include a fearsome non-European footballer) in English top flight history and see how they measure up against one another.
Regarded as one of the most fearsome strikers to play for the England national team, it was a shame that Shearer managed to win just one league title in a career that saw him score goals for fun. And when we talk about Shearer’s goals, we are talking about some truly outrageous ones.
Shearer was one of the finest strikers of his time, and his goals per game average was equally good. Scoring 260 goals in 441 games, Shearer was definitely one of the finest strikers ever.
Not only that, he was the top scorer at the UEFA European Championship in 1996 and led England to the semi-finals.
While some of his antics were questionable, Luis Suarez was a fearsome striker who had quite an eye for goals during his time at Liverpool. Before leaving for La Liga and forming a deadly partnership with Lionel Messi, the Uruguayan was plundering goals for Liverpool.
69 goals in 110 games gives you a pretty good idea of how deadly he was in front of goal.
While he might have been rough around the edges, Suarez’s talents were unique, and he almost single-handedly guided Liverpool to a league title. He would eventually get himself banned for biting Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup game against Italy before joining Barcelona.
Now, the Portugal international was not really a striker, but the number of goals he scored for Manchester United made Ronaldo one of the best finishers the Premier League has ever seen. Starting out as a winger who would use raw pace and showboating to make a mockery of some of the best defenders in England, Sir Alex Ferguson transformed CR7 into a goal-scoring machine.
He left Man United for Real Madrid over a decade ago and since then, things just have never been the same at Old Trafford. However, before leaving, he did manage to win the World Player of the Year award – a feat he would repeat four more times at Real Madrid.
The World Cup is the only competition that has eluded him so far.
The France international would forever remain one of the most iconic players in English football history. Plucked from obscurity at Juventus, the Frenchman grew in stature at Arsenal under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger. He would end up scoring 175 goals for the Gunners in a trophy-laden career before leaving for North America.
He also represented France at the World Cup a few times but never managed to lift the elusive World Cup trophy.
Henry was at the forefront of everything Arsenal achieved in the early 2000s. Along with Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, the Frenchman formed one of the most fearsome attacking trios in the league’s history.
King Cantona was an enigma. He wasn’t the top scorer for Man United when he guided the team to their first Premier League title, but the Frenchman was a crucial part of everything Sir Alex Ferguson achieved on his way to greatness.
The former Leeds man arrived at the club at a time when the Red Devils were looking for inspiration, and boy did he provide it. Since then, nothing has been the same for the red side of Manchester. Sir Alex never went easy on players who involved themselves in controversies. But Cantona was given a lot of slack and was never reprimanded by the great Scot even after going Johnny Lawrence on a fan. That tells you how highly Fergie rated the enigmatic striker.