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Top 10 - South American Strikers

May 27 2010 By Matias Vulej
Argentina and Brazil have historically lead America's striking tables, but now Diego Forlan and Alexis Sanchez managed to occupy a place within top-five.

Goals are the final objective of any strategy in football, and even though finesse and skills are almost always the top qualities for any players, when it comes to scorers efficiency becomes the most important trait.

1. Lionel Messi

It is commonly accepted that the footballer of the moment is Lionel Messi, but criticism regarding his performance for the Albiceleste has only grown during the qualifying stages, questioning the reason why he can't perform at the same level he does when playing for the Blaugrana. Having played in almost every position as a striker, Diego Maradona is confident Lio will grab his future by the horns and claim a place in Argentina's history, for he shares many qualities with team's coach and appears to be taking advantage of that fact. Despite Barcelona was unable to claim this year's Champions League, Messi did manage to become top striker of both La Liga and the Champions, the last merit badge he was lacking.



La Perla is experiencing the best moment of his career, and he might become Argentina's biggest players if he leads Albiceleste's cruise to the cup. A World Cup is the only title the Pulga is still missing, and he's not known for his lack of ambition.

2. Diego Forlan

Atletico Madrid was crowned Europa League's champion and Diego Forlan had much to do with it, for he was a constant threat for every rival that had to face him, scoring six goals in the European Championship and 18 in La Liga. Former Pichichi of the Spanish league, Diego Forlan was the most valuable player on the Europa League final and was also recognized as the top European scorer.

He is one of Jorge Fossati's favorites, having performed in every single match the Celeste played during his command. With 23 goals he is the current top Uruguayan striker and one of audience's most loved. He scored four goals against Brazil during the last two qualifying stages for world championships, showing he is the man that appears when his teams needs him the most.

3. Diego Milito

Il Principe has tasted glory with the Neroazzurri, becoming team's top striker and granting Internazionale their fifth consecutive Scudetto as well as Europe's most coveted trophy, the Champions League. He's the only natural-born striker in Argentina's squad, even though he has not performed within the starting squad during most of the qualifying stages, losing his place to Gonzalo Higuain and performing only four times under Maradona's command.

"I'm dreaming with scoring in the World Cup" he declared during the celebrations of the European title, showing Argentina's coach he's ready to face the tough matches waiting ahead. In more than 10 years as a professional footballer, Diego Milito holds an average of almost one goal every two games, but the present with Internazionale is much more promising, with 22 goals in 35 matches. This will be his first (and probably last) time in a World championship.. will he make up for the time lost?

4. Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez's promising future granted him the nickname Wonderkid, and almost every major team has laid eyes upon him during the last years thanks to his performance with Udinese. Sanchez made his debut with the National Football Team at the early age of 17, and from that moment on his path has been continually moving up, granting him a place in three different leagues (Chile, Argentina and Italy) as well as a place within Marcelo Bielsa's starting squad.

With 8 goals in 27 presentations with the Roja, Alexis Sanchez will have to fill the space left behind upon Marcelo Salas' retirement from professional football. His speed and technique, coupled with his innate ability to score are the main reason he occupies a place in the top five.

5. Luis Fabiano

During the qualifying stages for South Africa Luis Fabiano earned his place within the starting eleven after changing the course of the match against Uruguay, for he managed to score two goals to take the three points off Celeste's hands. His role in Valencia invests the utmost importance, for he's a true scorer, the perfect replacement for Ronaldo and Adriano, now their 36 years are a burden on their backs. Top striker of the Copa Del Rey as well as the Confederations Cup and the Copa Libertadores, in his 36 presentations with Brazil he scored 25 goals, showing the efficiency of his blows.

O Fabuloso's offensive capabilities are fearsome, and everyone is expecting for him to return home with the title and the top scoring position from South Africa. He's confident he'll be writing history this summer “I'm ready for the challenge, I want to help my team and match Romario and Ronaldo"

6. Gonzalo Higuain

Pipita Higuain is touching the sky with its hand, for after a splendorous season with Real Madrid (He sidelined Karim Benzema in the starting squad and rapidly became team's top striker with 27 goals), Gonzalo Higuain managed to claim his place in Argentina's starting squad, leading the offense to qualify for this World championship.

Brought up in a family of footbalistic legends (his father was one of Argentina's most beloved strikers, and his brother Federico was the revelation of this year's Clausura), he scored over 50 goals in two seasons, but it has not been enough to gain Merengue's love, for even though team's followers are more than satisfied with his performance, something appears to be out of place with the directives. His most important goals have been against Getafe on 2009 (netting his team the three points on a decisive match) and last March's performance against Real Valladolid CF, scoring its second hat-trick for the Galacticos.

A warlord in the box, Gonzalo Higuain has everything to become one of Argentina's memorable players, but his performance in South Africa will probably decide which place Argentinean history has booked for him.

7. Lucas Barrios

Argentina will be missing a deadly striker upon this championship, for Lucas Barrios has recently acquired the Paraguayan citizenship and his brilliant moment in the German League with Borussia Dortmund is feeding Paraguay's dream of advancing to the latter stages of the competition. With 19 goals in 33 matches, The Panther has grown into a brutal striker after his European experience, and the times of his debut with Argentinos Juniors back in 2003 are now far away. Adding up his goals and presentations in all of his teams, the numbers are impressive: 76 goals in 91 matches in the last two years are indeed fearsome.

His debut with the Guarani squad was fruitful, for he managed to score a goal against Ireland only a few days ago in his first match. Paraguay's offensive trident finds in Lucas Barrios a cornerstone of team's coach strategy to make the best of this African experience.

8. Robinho

O Principe escaped from the European football last year and it looks like he made the right call, for Santos advanced to the final of the Brazilian League to face Vitoria in July, just one month before returning to the Manchester City, where he couldn't keep with the pace blue's coach was looking for. Santos FC's followers saw Robinho grow 8 years ago, claiming the Libertadores Cup and the Liga Brasileña, even being nominated Brazilian Footballer of the Year back in 2004. Brazil's top star and striker during the Copa America, Robson De Souza has been able to turn his speed into a deadly weapon few goalkeepers could stand against.

Coupled with Kaka and Luis Fabiano, Robinho can hurt from the bands as well as from the center of the midfield, for his creativity appears to know no limits.

9. Carlos Tevez

Carlitos has been the favorite of almost every squad he ever played for, starting in Boca Juniors and earning a place in club's history to step on Brazilian ground before traveling to Europe, performing in three different England squads in only 4 years. He has never got along really well with the different managers that had to command him, but with Diego Maradona the situation is completely different, as both of them share a past in common and an endless passion for the Xeneize.

His youth in Fuerte Apache turned him into a restless fighter for the ball, with a strength that allows him to stand against the toughest of marks. Gold medal winner with Argentina back in 2004, Diego Maradona might give him another chance within the starting squad, as he's done during the first weeks of training in South Africa. Having scored 126 goals in 287 matches, his fury can take Argentina to fly high in the championship.

10. Oscar Cardozo

Oscar Cardozo received massive attention thanks to his performance for Benfica in Portugal, netting 56 goals in 82 matches with the team. His massive height (1.94 mts) makes him an aerial beast, but his prowess as a gunner shall not be ignored. Top striker of both Europa League and the Portuguese Liga, Oscar Cardozo was nominated two times Paraguayan Footballer of the Year, and 2010 might be another year for Tacuara to reach glory.

Having scored only four goals in 29 matches with the Guarani squad, the Albirroja will greatly depend on his performance to claim the top of Group F.


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