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Is Samuel Eto'o the world's best striker?

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Piers Edwards | 08:30 UK time, Friday, 5 November 2010

Six months ago the question couldn't have been asked but it's certainly relevant now following the coaching changes at Inter Milan, Diego Milito's recent absence and the goals, the endless goals: is there a better striker in the world right now than Samuel Eto'o?

The Cameroonian's goalscoring ability hasn't been in question since his Real Mallorca days but it was hidden under a bushel during Jose Mourinho's reign at the San Siro given the latter's preference for Milito to single-handedly spearhead this attack.

"When we had the chance to bring in Eto'o, I thought I could play 4-4-2 and 4-3-3," Mourinho has said. "I knew that in Europe you needed to be more balanced and Eto'o could give me that."

So the Portuguese bought the Indomitable Lion for his versatility which initially saw Eto'o deployed as Milito's partner before being withdrawn more and more onto the flanks until some were jokingly describing him as a full back.

It's impossible to knock the ploy though since Inter secured an historic treble - and Eto'o, for the record, says he's grateful for the unexpected modification to his game, one which displayed the depth of his footballing ability.

"I will never stop thanking Mourinho - he made me discover a different position," the 29-year-old has said. "I never imagined I could play there. He made me more complete and this gives me more security."

That said, the arrival of Rafa Benitez has unleashed the predatory beast that is the Douala-born destroyer, the man whose Barcelona spell brought 108 goals in 144 league games.

"With Mourinho we played on the counter-attack, with Benitez we press more and that's better for forwards because we win back the ball higher up the pitch and create more chances," Eto'o has said.

"For a forward it's important to play close to the goal. It's more complicated for me when playing on the wings."

Eto'o started out wide under Benitez but with greater freedom since he was largely relieved of his back-tracking duties and, with a point to prove after Cameroon's disappointing World Cup, the Indomitable Lion - 'I had a bad summer' - is back doing what he does best.

He's the leading scorer in both Serie A, with seven in nine, and the Champions League where he's red-hot - with seven in four. In his first game up front following Milito's injury, Eto'o bagged a hat-trick against Werder Bremen, and he's been there ever since.

And while the three-time African Footballer of the Year's finishing is impressing (not just the poacher's goals that were his bread-and-butter at Barca but also well-hit efforts from the edge of the box), so is his all-round game as well - particularly his movement and link-up play.

The weighting of Eto'o's passes are normally near-perfect, as his assists in the Champions League wins over Werder Bremen and Tottenham Hotspur showed.

His close control and first-touch are also world-class, able to kill a lengthy ball dropping over his shoulder (witness his sublime second against Bremen) or control any pass fired at him - as shown when scoring against Palermo or teeing up Dejan Stankovic in the 4-3 win at home to Spurs.

The Cameroonian gave a master class in the art of a forward in the first half of that match, making two and scoring two, the second a typical Eto'o strike where his run off the shoulder of the last defender was timed to perfection.

At White Hart Lane on Tuesday, Harry Redknapp's perfectly-executed tactics ensured Tottenham's midfield cut the crucial supply lines to Eto'o but the insatiable forward still brought Inter back into a match where they were over-run, scoring a beauty out of nothing to set Spurs hearts racing.

To be the world's best out-and-out striker at present, the Inter star would clearly have to be better than the usual cast. So is he?

For my money, the only man who can rival him at present is another African - Didier Drogba, whose form (like Eto'o's) has been unaffected by this summer's World Cup and who's bagged seven goals so far while creating another six.

Although their styles differ - one a battering ram of brute force strength who is good in the air and on the deck, the other a smaller more lithe version with a greater element of finesse - their unerring eye for goal is as good as their form this season.

The same cannot be said of other big names - David Villa and Diego Forlan - who are suffering a World Cup hangover, while recent pretenders to the throne of the world's best forward have dropped off: see Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres.

There is of course another man who's flying even if Cristiano Ronaldo is not an out-and-out striker, playing more central these days admittedly but in the hole behind Gonzalo Higuain. The winker kept Madrid in the title hunt last season, on his own at times, and he's picked up where he left off in La Liga, netting 11 in nine.

Lionel Messi has also been banging in the goals for Barcelona (12 now) despite not being at his best, fatigue seemingly taking its toll, but the Argentinian is another who cannot really be considered as a pointman.

Across Europe, there are dozens of strikers in good form (Nicolas Anelka and Fernando Llorente to name but two) but I guess the question, in true pub banter style, is this: if you had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which your life depended, who would it be? I know mine.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    First? Drigba is the best striker in the world right now

  • Comment number 2.

    if you had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which your life depended, who would it be? I know mine.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Javier Hernandez - he's an assassin ;)

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Fair play, the man's a born goalscorer. And just like Van Nistelrooy, it doesn't matter which club he plays for, he just scores goals. The fact that he's bought more to his game just makes him even more dangerous. I would hate to have to defend against him...

  • Comment number 5.

    Amazing it's taken this long for Eto'o to get the credit he deserves, his record for Barcelona was amazing but was overshadowed by Ronaldinho and later Messi. We so often in this country over rate certain players such as Owen, Gerrard etc and claim they are world class but Eto'o is genuine world class and deserves the praise he gets.

    On a related topic I don't know why people keep going on about Eto'o being played out wide, it was for the best of the team, Inter won everything, similar to when Rooney did it for Utd, the team should always come first, England national team take note!

  • Comment number 6.

    Chortle.

    So there is only Eto'o and Drogba in this race? Laughable.

    They key to a team that plays with one out and out centre forward, is that this man is going to get goals.

    When Milito was in, he got goals. Eto'o goes into that position, he gets goals. If you put pandev there, he would get the most goals. If Darren bent was an Inter player, and played as the central striker, he would probably get the most goals.

    Eto'o is good, but never one of the best. The scoring charts in Spain are always exagerated, as the bottom 5 teams are likely to suffer heavy defeats, unlike Italy, England, and definately France where there is a very level standard of competition.

    I think Hulk of Porto has started brilliantly, and will move onto a bigger club soon.

    Higuain supplies a steady flow of goals, and was good in the world cup.

    Luis Suarez and El Hamdoui have both started amazingly well at Ajax, with the former having a superb world cup.

    Edin Dzeko continues into his 3rd season as a prolific marksman.

    Point being, if you put any of these players as the Inter front man, they would score the same amount, if not more than Eto'o

  • Comment number 7.

    I think Eto'o for career achievements, consistency, and present form is far ahead of all those strikers you mentioned ,I will also add that after living in the time of Ronaldo the Brazilian , we are also living in the time of the only European Continental Treble legend Samuel Eto'o as from maybe 2004 to present, as far as strikers are concerned.

    "I'm Samuel Eto'o and I don't want to compare myself to anyone. I believe the victories I have earned up to now can contribute to giving the right value to my name." His own words .

  • Comment number 8.

    tomefccam ????

    The scoring charts in Spain are always exagerated?

    Compared to the Dutch league where Luis Suarez and El Hamdoui play and the Portuguese where th Hulk plays and hardly scores goals.

    Check his stats for Barcelona & Inter and how many trohpies his won and I'll accept you apology.

  • Comment number 9.

    I love your slip about Cristiano Ronaldo:
    "The winker kept Madrid in the title hunt last season..."

  • Comment number 10.

    if you had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which your life depended, who would it be? I know mine.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Celtic's Gary Hooper surely?

    All jokes aside, Eto'o is a goal machine and always has been.

  • Comment number 11.

    At 09:29am on 05 Nov 2010, Deadgoat wrote:
    Pity the racist pigs at barca didn't appreciate him
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    That's the first time I've heard anything about race being an issue with regards his departure from Barcelona. Nonsense?

    Also, I don't think Villa has showed a hangover from the World Cup; I think his form has been pretty decent, and bear in mind he has joined a new club with a new system. But Eto'o is sublime.

  • Comment number 12.

    Let's be frank here. Given Etoo's CONSISTENCY OVER TIME, he is by far the best striker in the world at the moment and deserves to line up with the Legends. He is definitely not a flash in the pan like some of the others. Consider this, how many strikers play key roles in winning the Champions' league trophy in for different clubs? If he were English, he'll probably be on the British Pound by now...

  • Comment number 13.

    ....has everyone forgot about nicklas bendtner?!

  • Comment number 14.

    Eto'o, Drogba and Villa are the 3 best pure strikers.
    It would be interesting if there were teams representing each continent, I think Africa would have the best strike force.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hmm, let's see. Who is managing him?
    Oh yea, Rafa. So, not for long then, definitely.

  • Comment number 16.

    Yeah, Drogba and Villa are remarkable strikers, but neither has had anywhere near the kind of turnover in terms of trophies and goals that Etoo has enjoyed. That's a true story.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hernandez............................please, thats an insult to Eto'o!
    Drogba yeah he is nearly as good but not half as quick.

    Eto'o has scored goals everywhere he goes and will continue to do this throughout his career. Its not just the club he is at as tomefccam suprisingly put (although i have never seem him write anything positive on any article, always disagreeing for the sake of it)

    He is a class act and his record speaks for itself. It comes as no suprise that he is considered up there with the best if not the best, but more a suprise that it has taken so long for people to recognise this.

    La Liga scoring chart is always exagerated..........????

    yeah because teams are always being beaten 9-1 and 6-0's like Chelsea were doing at the start of the season. But The Premier league has better quality right so more 'realistic' top scorers..............please, utter nonsense.

  • Comment number 18.

    Great comment from "tomefccam". I'd agree theres often a great exageration of strikers abilities, especially in teams which play to get one guy all the goals. Good example in pointing out that Pandev would probably get them if playing up front. I think another one would be benni mcarthy and then santa cruz at blackburn a few seasons a go, first mcarthy scores 20+ and is seen as a target for top clubs, he gets injured and cruz is bought in for him and surprise surprise he does exactly the same and is suddenly worth £18M. Everyone wonders who will get the goals when Ronaldo leaves United, surprise surprise they started passing to Rooney instead and he gets the goals.

  • Comment number 19.

    No arguments from me although I do personally think Didier Drogba is the best striker in the world right now. In truth this article gave him a fair hearing though so i wont bang on about it too much! For me, Drogba wins games on his own for Chelsea at times and his physical presence and flair cannot be matched. If he is in the mood he cannot be stopped and for me thats the mark of a great player.

    I do agree with the person who stated 'any one of a number of strikers would score goals if playing upfront for Inter Milan' although thats not to take any credit away from Samuel Eto'o performances thus far as he has been fantastic. Definitely in better form than Dzeko or Suarez and his career stats and honours rival anyones from any period of club football. Hulk averages 1/3 in Portugal and his career average of a goal every 140mins or so wouldn't be anywhere near as good if not for his stint in Japan? I would be interested to know why you rate him so highly particularly in terms of Eto'o given the cameroon international has scored far more goals in far tougher leagues than the young brazillian?

    He has been a great player for a number of years now and deserves these kind of plaudits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCam0AxBamU&feature=related (for evidence!)

  • Comment number 20.

    ive never heard of drigba..is he any good?

  • Comment number 21.

    I know most of us are looking at typical goalscorers now but that does not make a 'striker'. Chamakh is one of the best strikers, not really finishing but the other stuff too.

  • Comment number 22.

    Drigba is better.

  • Comment number 23.

    I've had a soft spot for Eto'o ever since he pulled off a nutmeg on Sol Campbell while playing for Cameroon and he came out with the great quote, "I dedicate my goal and my piece of trickery against Sol Campbell to the fans of Tottenham," - Tuesday was the first night I got to see him in the flesh and he really didn't let me down

    Gallas and Kaboul were magnificent in the back and Inter as a team played pretty poor - Yet everytime Eto'o got the ball (normally from scraps he picked up himself) he looked dangerous (surely the sign of a world class striker) - The 25 yard shot that hit the side netting made my heart leap into my mouth

    I think at present you have to look at Eto'o and Drogba - Who would I prefer? For his years of consistency across two leagues (I don't count Ligue 1) I would have to go with Eto'o

  • Comment number 24.

    When Barcelona indicated they wanted to get rid of him, I wondered why they would do that.

    Right now he has proved that no matter where he is, goals are the name of the game for him!!

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't know whether he could be rated best, but as an Inter fan here's what I appreciate of Eto'o: he is an incredibly professional guy. He has done a huge work since he arrived and seldom complained - not even when he was forced to play out of position for a year.

    He's not threatening to leave every couple of months (read: Maicon), he's not complaining about the wage. He's definitely proud and that's a good thing, but SO professional.

    I think for this reason he probably deserves a top spot among the great goalscorers.

  • Comment number 26.

    jermaine defoe last season was deadly! but no doubt eto is and always will be a quality finisher, drogba, villa and suarez would all be on his tail for best striker in europe

  • Comment number 27.

    I agree with all. While some degree of talent is required to even be mentioned with these players, alot depends on the other 10 guys on the pitch. Look at Rooney in the WC. He didn't have the mighty MAN U team with all it great foreign players to feed him the ball. Just a mediocore team made of English players. Hence he sucked!
    I guess one should just look at the teams standings and stats. That says it all! Afterall, it is a team sport and the winning formula is 11 guys playing good together. The best 11 in the world would probalby stink if they played together. Ego's get in the way.

    Eto'o is great: Drogba is great: Villa, a hell of a player:

    All I'm saying there's more to picking the best in the world than goals.

  • Comment number 28.

    tomefccam - what is this guy on about.

    "The scoring charts in Spain are always exagerated, as the bottom 5 teams are likely to suffer heavy defeats, unlike Italy, England, and definately France where there is a very level standard of competition."

    We'll get forget about Spurs beating Wigan 9-1 last season, Newcastle thumping Villa, Arsenal hammering Blackpool and Chelsea giving out lashing this season as well.

    Not sure how anyone can really doubt Eto'o as genuine world class. Drogba and Eto'o have slight difference, Drogba's power and Eto'o's speed, both guys are awesome strikers and very difficult to decide on who's the best.

    The thing with Eto'o is that its very easy for people to dismiss his abilities, playing with an amazing Barca and treble winning Inter, these teams dominated their domestic league, therefore creating a lot of chances and Eto'o was there to take them. Also lets not forget why Barca bought him in the first place, because he was a special talent playing for Mallorca, hardly the best team in Spain, yet he still scored a decent amount of goals for them also!!

    These arguments are always difficult because no two players are the same, each individual has there own characteristics.

  • Comment number 29.

    Well, I am thinking more like this should be the heading 'Eto'o is the best striker in the world'.
    Had it been Messi, Ronaldo or even Rooney who had scored 20 or more goals a season, im expecting the heading to be something like this 'Rooney is the best striker in the world' obviously referring to that season.
    Lets be real, since his time in Mallorca, Barca and now Inter, he has proven time and time again that he is the best goal poacher in the system, but he always gets over shadowed by the one season players. the heading should not be asking a question, it should rather be saying the truth, the guy has been consistent ever since.

  • Comment number 30.

    DIDIER DROGBA.

    his touch is sublime, his finishing is deadly, he can head like a beast, and sometimes he makes you forget defenders are even there.

    also, he can take freekicks, and scores them with ronaldo-like-dip.

    his crossing is unmatched at chelsea, which tells you something if you consider them the best team in england / one of the best in europe.

    the man is unstoppable and it will take a serious injury to stop him winning the champions league this season.

  • Comment number 31.

    Eto'o is one player I wish we'd have gone for when he became available just when we were offloading Saha. On current form he is better than Drogba although they are different types of strikers. I am a big fan of Drogba but this season he isn't quite up to the level he was last season. Early days though.

  • Comment number 32.

    Form wise it has to be Eto, that goal he scored against spurs was brilliant in its execution, bending it around the defender. Not sure he has got many penalties this year but all the same his strike rate is superb. In the World cup Eto was played on the right side of midfield against Japan. They lost, in truth the whole team looked all over the show and a chance was missed. With him, Alex Song, M`Bia, Webo and Nkoulou they could have finished behind Holland and met Paraguay and maybe beaten them. Shame. Although Eto still scored 2 goals and could have had 3 against Denmark.
    Top pure strikers this season.

    1.Eto
    2.Drogba
    3.Anelka
    4.Higuain

  • Comment number 33.

    #8

    #28

    Why did I choose Hulk, because Phil is taliing about form strikers. Someone pointed out he's a 1 in 3 striker for Porto. Well he's got 13 in 13 this season. You defend this by quoting Eto'o and his Barca days. This is outdated, we might as well talk about Van Nistelrroy at Real and Henry at Arsenal if we're going to back track.

    Also, Eto'o scored just 2 CL goals in 12 appearances last year, compared to Hulk with 3 european goals in 8 games, and Suarez with 6 in 9.

    Also Eto'os international record. A lot of his 52 goals are against the likes of Angola, Tanzania, Mauritius, Sudan, Gabon.

    Suarez was brilliant in the world cup for a Uruguay side probably on par with Cameroon in terms of ability

  • Comment number 34.

    If I wanted someone to convert a chance upon which my life depended? Still van Nistlerooy, please.

    If I wanted the best striker in the world? Didier Drogba, please.

    If I wanted the best strike partnership? Then, maybe, Drogba and Eto'o.

  • Comment number 35.

    if you had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which your life depended, who would it be? I know mine.
    ------------------------------------------------------

    Undoubtedly it would be the Brazilian, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima ( Il Fenomeno). I would put my house on him.

    Having said that Eto'o is very good but Il Fenomeno is in a league of his own

  • Comment number 36.


    Premier League is certainly the best of all leagues upon every aspect, but Barca as a team is a football dream. And even when Barca is in trouble, Messi can score - score enough to win.
    If my life depends on it, I will choose him. After all, he is not only one of the best scorers, he is the best player in the world.

    As for Eto's depart, it is about cutting the expenses, and Barca is trying to develop their own players. Certainly it would be better that he stayed there, but a club has to manage it's financing.

  • Comment number 37.

    Strikers have come and faded with each season but S. Eto'o has remained Eto'o

    Ask Ronaldinho, No disrespect.

  • Comment number 38.

    Eto'o is a dream of a striker. He isn't physical like Drogba but uses his intelligence and pace to get the best of the best defences around. His movement is brilliant, and his finishing is of a very high standard, I love his toe poke finish :)

    It was once said that Eto'o relied on Xavi to score goals, but Mallorca and Inter are proof that those comments are misguided. Those claims have been silenced.

    Barca fans have nothing but love for Samuel Eto'o. It was said by some Ibra would be a better fit because of his higher technical ability. But his stint at Barca proved playing the no.9 at barca is not easy and technical ability is not everything.

    Is Eto'o the best striker in the world? Yes. Torres is good, but he doesn't have the intelligence of Eto'o in terms of movement, for me its David Villa and Samuel Eto'o, these two have been consistent for years and years. Anelka is not in the class of Eto'o or Villa that is for sure and Higuian is better too.

    1. Eto'o
    2. Villa
    3. Drogba

  • Comment number 39.

    In reply to #33, you criticise others for using the past to support Eto'o's claims but then you use the past in response. You point out that last year he only scored two in twelve Champions League games, but as pointed out in the blog he spent the whole season playing out of position.

    The article is talking about the present, he is currently playing as a striker and is banging in the goals, in a league that is notoriously difficult to score in. When the current crop of strikers hang up there boots and we review who was the best others may rank above him, but right now I don't see a striker to match him.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes

  • Comment number 41.

    Hes the best, simple as that. id take him over all others. even villa on fire

    And its the craziest deal of all time ever bar none that took him there. I still shake my head when I think about it. Madness of the highest order

  • Comment number 42.

    The question was 'Is Samuel Eto'o the world's best striker'.

    To my mind the role of striker is almost all about scoring goals. If you broaden the role to include assits, holding the ball up, creativity and work rate, you change the question to best centre forward, best forward or even just best player.

    So if we accept striker to mean goal scorer then obviously the amount of goals scored is the predominant factor in judging who might be the best. I don't believe that one third of one season is enough to merit election as the world's best so for me, I'd have to rule out 13 in 13 Hulk on that basis.

    By the same token, one bad season in goalscoring terms should not necessarily rule someone out so, again in my opinion, Eto'o scoring 2 in 12 in the champions league does not count against him, especially as by my definition of a striker, he wasn't really acting as one in that campaign.

    Which team the striker plays for and in which leaque they operate in are also relevant factors. A record amount of goals in a perceived weaker league doesn't necessarily equate to a great goal scorer (Kris Boyd Rangers then Middlesburgh as an example) but then neither does it automatically typify mediocraty (Ronaldo for Ajax). Not every player can begin at a huge club so it seems odd to suggest that scoring for a footballing giant in some way lessens the achievment.

    So in my opinion Eto'o is the greatest striker at the moment. I believe he's up there with other great strikers of the past, Ronaldo (Brazilian, though it pains me to have to identify him by stating his nationality, we should have to use a qualifier for the other one, maybe Ronaldo (diver))and Gerd Muller to name but two.

    Oh and to suggest that more or less anyone could score the same amount as a great striker that is part of a great team is ridiculous. Darren Bent score more than Eto'o at Inter, please... The man's got a 50 pence for a foot, he has no idea where the ball is going to go when he kicks it.

  • Comment number 43.

    He's a class act. €46m + him for Ibrahimovic is one of the stupidest tranfers in history. Would like to see him in England

  • Comment number 44.

    Some people really do spit out nonsense sometimes. Drogba not on form!? Well! With 11 games and 7 goals and 6 assists, I can only laugh at how good he is when he is on form and surely the best in the world if that is the case.

    I dont remember Eto defending like Drogba does either. Simply, Drogba is class!

  • Comment number 45.

    , z wrote

    la Liga is far superior in ever way, but thats another topic.

    As for the transfer, look at the details yes Inter got a much better deal by far but in the long run Barca havnt suffered too badly really have they. Got a brilliant striker in Zlatan who scored goals but didnt seem to fit the dynamics of the team but still won the league eventually got the man they really wanted in David Villa and AC Milan got a striker more suited to there style of play and is scoring regularly for them.

    At this moment in time Eto'o is the best, come 6 months down the line may be a different story but for right now...........yes.

  • Comment number 46.

    Remember barca fans throwing bananas at him and subjecting him to monkey chants, not sure if thats racist but I doubt they'd give Ibra that sort of reception. Just saying.

  • Comment number 47.

    If I needed a striker to put away a chance if my life depended on it then, when on form, Fernando Torres is the best there is.

  • Comment number 48.

    But for Liverpool, all the big four in England have suffered from the goals of Samuel eto'o hence disproving the argument of # 6, also Iba was put in place of Eto'o but we all saw the result .

  • Comment number 49.

    ETO'O is and has been for the last 5 years the best. what you want from a player is CONSISTENCY and certainly from a Forward/striker. #6 pretty much said that my grandmother would score lots of goals if she a lone striker. So Peter Crouch has been scoring lots.
    What I like about Eto'o is his seriousness and professionalism on the pitch(he may be a nut off the pitch). He never does anything to damage his team's chances ..like get stupid red cards, he is rarely if ever offsides meaning that team's work does not come to nothing in the last third most of the time, when he shoots, he is on target about 99.5% of the time.
    Finally, he is a BIG game player and has scored against most if not all the BIG teams.

  • Comment number 50.

    Eto'o is the best striker in the world and I have thought that for a long time. My top five (when they are fit and on form) are:

    1. Samuel Eto'o
    2. David Villa
    3. Didier Drogba
    4. Wayne Rooney
    5. Fernando Torres

    I know that there will be a few people who will try and argue about Rooney and perhaps Torres. But if you look at their statistics and success of these players and their relative clubs over the last 4/5 years, I don't think that top five list is far from the mark.

  • Comment number 51.

    Can't believe everybody is overlooking Heskey...

  • Comment number 52.

    There's no doubt in my mind that Eto'o is the best striker in the world. His consistency is phonemenal, over the past 7 years i cant think of anyone who can match him. Drogba perhaps but he's a slightly differant player. Eto'o is a spearhead of any team, pace to burn and deadly finishing. What Barca were thinking of when they sold him I dont know. But not sure of the facts but didnt he score about 38/39 goals in his last season with Barca.? Why on earth would you get rid of him.?

    something smells fishy to me....

  • Comment number 53.

    @ 42: well reasoned arguments.
    @ 43: I always thought that IM would be getting the better deal in a straight swap, so the cash must be considered a very nice bonus. I think subsequent events have only reinforced that opinion.

    It's funny isn't it, trying to compare players. Comparing those playing in different positions, eras, leagues, continents... And this difficulty is highlighted for me when I see just how hard it is to compare two contemporary players in the same position. Drogba and Eto'o have both had glorious careers and have cemented their places among the world's greatest ever strikers. And yet look how different they are, in build, style, technique - but they can both produce goals out of nothing! If I had to go for one, right now, it'd be Eto'o, simply because I think Drogba has lost a little bit of pace and mobility since last season. But in overall careers, they're two more greats to be added to the pantheon.

  • Comment number 54.

    Eto'o is sheer class but i don't get to see enough of Italian football to follow him that closely, I personally think Barca haven't looked as good since he left.

    My top 3 strikers in the world just now are:

    !. Drogba
    2. Tevez
    3. Dzeko

  • Comment number 55.

    I am a Man Utd fan, and it really hurts to say it, but Didier Drogba is the best striker in the world. The guy has power, pace, skill and his link up play is excellent. He's a proven world class finisher with the ability to create not just score.

    Eto'o is another top class striker and I would welcome him with open arms at Utd, but I think Drogba is in another league to anyone else as an out and out frontman.

    In goalscoring terms and all round ability, I think Messi (7in la liga this season) and Cristiano Ronaldo (12 in la liga this season) are better but not by as much as people think.

  • Comment number 56.

    ....has everyone forgot about nicklas bendtner?!

    ....................................................................

    My god

  • Comment number 57.

    Right now... at this moment in time, I would agree and say Eto'o is on top top form or at least better than anybody else. But if everybody was on an even playing field (i.e same level of form or if we just take form out of the equation) you all know who the best is...

    FERNANDO TORRES!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    As the readers' remarks on this page show, African players generally struggle to make themselves heard on the biggest stages - we seem to somehow expect merely "brute force" from them (Edwards' description of Drogba's main attributes) rather than the finesse and technical ability that they undoubtedly possess.
    And so it is difficult for many to agree that Eto'o is the best in the business right now - but who's to blame them? The media drives most such subjective discussions anyhow, and their alleged analyses form the basis of our reckoning. Thus, Serena Williams only ever 'powers her way through' matches (the BBC's articles detailing Serena's wins are inevitably headlines "Serena powers..." - see http://tiny.cc/z58v9%29, Lewis Hamilton is 'aggressive' and only ever 'storms' to his wins, and Eto'o is not the best striker in the world, his goals, versatility and technical ability notwithstanding. Where, then, is the surprise in that?

  • Comment number 59.

    Can't believe Emile Heskey's not been mentioned yet. :-(

  • Comment number 60.

    @#46 Deadgoat wrote "Remember barca fans throwing bananas at him and subjecting him to monkey chants, not sure if thats racist "

    Pardon?? "not sure if thats racist" ??? seriously????

    jeez

  • Comment number 61.

    Amazing it's taken this long for Eto'o to get the credit he deserves, his record for Barcelona was amazing but was overshadowed by Ronaldinho and later Messi. We so often in this country over rate certain players such as Owen, Gerrard etc and claim they are world class but Eto'o is genuine world class and deserves the praise he gets.
    -----------

    Sorry Cantona but you're talking rubbish. Eto'o has been acknowledged as one of the world's best strikers ever since his first season at Barca.

    He has however had his ups and downs, just like Rooney, Owen and Gerrard have done. All four of them fall into the world class category (Owen no longer so of course but certainly in his Liverpool days).

  • Comment number 62.

    No. I think Drogba is better.

    Eto is a great striker but he may be a bit too reliant on pace; in other words, I think he lacks a bit of power, which makes his life in tough matches (no spaces) a bit harder. Drogba is more powerful, hence in a tough match that I need to score I'd pick drogba for sure. Eto is a fine striker as well.

    I think Dzeko may become a top striker in the next couple of years. Same for Pato, but Pato is more like Eto than Drogba.

    I'd keep an eye on former Internacional striker Walter who has moved to Porto recently. He is a difficult character, but has got lots of potential -- still 21 though.

  • Comment number 63.

    Eto'o is the only man to win back to back trebles with 2 different clubs.


    Makes him a legend in my book.

  • Comment number 64.

    The winker kept Madrid in the title hunt last season, on his own at times.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A bit of an exageration he (Ronaldo) was injured for 3 months of last season as a result of a nasty tackle. Higuain competing with Benzema for a place in the team, had the best goals to minutes ratio in La Liga last season, despite Ronaldo taking penalties and free kicks.

    You missed out Eto's early carreer he was at Real Madrid in the Real Youth and B teams but had to be let out on loan because of some La Liga overseas quota restrictions only managed a handfull of first team games for them. Eventually sold to Mallorca scored a lot of goals for them before Barca got him for relative peanuts.

  • Comment number 65.

    if i had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which my life depended, i'd definitely choose eto! he's the real definition of a striker and the stats you just gave us on he's progress so far this season are mind-blowing! inter will struggle to defend the titles they won last season, but with eto'o they have a player who can almost single-handedly win games for them!
    during the midweek game against spurs, i had left the room before inter had pulled one back, when i got in and saw the score at 2-1, i knew for certain it was eto'o!..n it was!
    drogba and anelka are also unbelievably good!

  • Comment number 66.

    i think eto's has is place in history cant understand why people question his ability that some players can perform with inter and Baecelona because of the caliber of players there have they stop to ask who are the caliber of players he played with in marlloca? please let give in his dues

  • Comment number 67.

    I disagree with Tomefccam because Eto'o was at Barcelona the were playin 4:3:3 at Mallorca the were playing 4:4:2 inter 4:2:3:1 the point here is that he can score with any system and when ever he meet challenges,he sharpen his game and excel. We can not campare Drogba or any strikers with Eto'o because his decision making skills is top class, he scored more than 54 goals at Mallorca more 100 goals at Barcelona, he is a winner, he won at Mallorca at Barcelona and deserves more credit from the football writers.He is the best striker

  • Comment number 68.

    Deadgoat, you're talking absolute garbage. Eto'o suffered a lot of racist abuse in Spain, but from his own fans? Utter tripe. I remember several occasions where he got in away games and his famous monkey celebration.

    I think some people are missing the point. The question is about current form, in that case no-one is anywhere near Eto'o. The guy talking about Hulk and Suarez can't have watched many Inter games this season, otherwise he'd know there is no comparison WHATSOEVER! There are plenty of great players out there, that's not what the question was.

  • Comment number 69.

    parker: if Eto'o was playing in England, he should have score more than 200 goals because he love to play English teams.I think the football book maker should acknowled him.

  • Comment number 70.

    Wonderful post Piers, your coverage is always excellent. I think Eto'O has been the most consistent striker on the planet since 2000. His is a goal machine and has been everywhere he has gone, no matter the league or the state of his team. His goal rate is phenomenal. He really cares about his team, and i think to some it might seem like petulance but Africans express emotions differently. I think even in Drogba's case at chelsea--at first the home fans took it to be petulance but later came to realize that he really cared about the team and his reactions were misunderstood. I totally agree with "dube4real," "If he had been english, he would be on the bound by now!" Guardiola's excuse to let him go stank of mire, and I dont think anybody really bought it. I have heard the rumors but it would be really sad if Pep is actually a bigot.



  • Comment number 71.

    There's no question for me that Eto'o is the best striker in the world, and has been for several years now. He wins out however you try and judge him:

    1. His goalscoring record across his career is better than anyone else mentioned in this debate except Lionel Messi, who isn't a "striker". Even with a season spent on the wing for Mourinho, he's still got a 0.52 goals-per-game strike-rate, better than Villa and Ronaldo and miles ahead of Drogba, Torres or Rooney.

    2. He's won three Champion's League titles, three La Liga titles, one Serie A title, two African Cup Of Nations and a host of lesser trophies (Coppa Italia, Copa Del Rey - worth pointing out he won the Copa Del Rey while at Mallorca).

    3. Arguments that he looks good because he's being carried by great teams are nonsense. He's scored in two Champion's League finals and got a crucial assist in the third. He doesn't just play in big games, he decides them. He has a sublime touch, brilliant movement and accurate passing. He wasn't just the finisher of Barcelona's passing moves, he created many of Messi's goals with beautiful passes and lay-offs, and he's doing the same at Inter.

    4. He's in better form than any of the contenders. His two rivals are Drogba and Villa. Drogba is playing extremely well himself, but he hasn't matched Eto'o's goal return so far, and Villa is having a bit of a post-World Cup malaise, despite playing for the mighty Barcelona.

  • Comment number 72.

    looking around the world and start counting on some world best strikers both for there clubs and countries, you wont miss to mention Samuel Etoo. Flashing back at his carreir in Malorca , Barcelona and currently with you have to give credit to his performance. Do you recal his time at barca when he had injury before the introduction of Messi? There was no good finisher to let home goals hence Madrid dominated. On his come back things changed. to my opinion, Eto is and have been aworld class striker and is currently the best. Other include Drogba and the rest . Rooney is good but lack consistancy and with the type of his game he can be agood midfielder.

  • Comment number 73.

    As for Eto's depart, it is about cutting the expenses, and Barca is trying to develop their own players. Certainly it would be better that he stayed there, but a club has to manage it's financing.
    -----------------
    What??!!?

    You think they swapped Eto'o + £30m for Ibrahimivic who was on at least thesame wage in order to cut expenses?

  • Comment number 74.

    Everyone forgotten about Torres then? ok he's not in good form at the moment but in my opinion when on form he is the best striker in the world.

  • Comment number 75.

    Looking around the world and start counting on some world best strikers both for there clubs and countries, you wont miss to mention Samuel Etoo. Flashing back at his carreir in Malorca , Barcelona and currently with Intermillan you have to give credit to his performance. Do you recal his time at barca when he had injury before the introduction of Messi? There was no good finisher to let home goals hence Madrid dominated. On his come back things changed. to my opinion, Eto is and have been aworld class striker and is

  • Comment number 76.

    For his consistency, which has many a times pulled the chestnut out of the fire Eto'o is gradually writing his name into the record books. I must confess that I was one of those who did not find him fantastic as I felt that his success in Barcelona was due to the great team he had behind him, but his exploits in Inter has shown what a hardworking and consistent team player he is. Snagging him from Barcelona is clearly one of the fulcrum on which Mourinho's success at Inter was built. His work rate in those CL matches is world-class.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 78.

    Deadgoat, you're talking absolute garbage. Eto'o suffered a lot of racist abuse in Spain, but from his own fans? Utter tripe. I remember several occasions where he got in away games and his famous monkey celebration.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When Laurie Cunningham moved to La Liga back in the eighties he said it was less racist than the English League and was happy there until his accident. Either it is a recent thing in Spain or things were really bad back in England in those days.

    Eto had to be persuaded not to walk off the pitch against Real Zaragoza (at their ground) because of racist chants. In one match against Cagliari he complained about racists chants and other Cagliari fans had to shout down the abusers to prevent the game being bandoned.

  • Comment number 79.

    By the way I am a realist. Europe and South America are streets ahead of the rest of the world in production of world class football players, but I really and truly believe that if each continent were to put out there best 11, Africa would have a solid chance of beating them.

    Eto'o, Drogba,

    Ahmed Almuhammadi, Toure, Essien, Boateng

    Taiwo, Toure, Mahmoud Fathalla, Eboue

    Carlos Kaemeni

    I think that is pretty good.

  • Comment number 80.

    As the readers' remarks on this page show, African players generally struggle to make themselves heard on the biggest stages - we seem to somehow expect merely "brute force" from them (Edwards' description of Drogba's main attributes) rather than the finesse and technical ability that they undoubtedly possess. ....

    ----------------

    What a bunch of balls. African players struggling to make themselves heard? Eto'o, Drogba, Weah, Milla, Mikel, Essien, Muntari, Kanu, Martins, Okocha, Gyan, the list goes on and on of African players who are considered to be in the upper class in terms of footballing ability. I don't remember anyone every describing Okocha and Kanu as "brute force" nor most of the others.

  • Comment number 81.

    upthejags its called sarcasm mate.

    Stevie Bhoy you may very well be right, mate of mine told me the story so wont argue about its validity

  • Comment number 82.

    "African players generally struggle to make themselves heard on the biggest stages - we seem to somehow expect merely "brute force" from them (Edwards' description of Drogba's main attributes) rather than the finesse and technical ability that they undoubtedly possess."

    ---------------------------------------------

    And what, pray tell, does "Edwards" highlight as one of Eto'o's "main attributes"?

    "a greater element of finesse"

    To describe Didier Drogba (6ft 4, and probably 16 stone of pure muscle) as powerful is hardly Nazi-era eugenics is it?


  • Comment number 83.

    I think P.Edwards in his pomp on wandsworth common would be up there!!

  • Comment number 84.

    71. At 1:39pm on 05 Nov 2010, SYSTEM-J wrote:

    There's no question for me that Eto'o is the best striker in the world, and has been for several years now. He wins out however you try and judge him:

    1. His goalscoring record across his career is better than anyone else mentioned in this debate except Lionel Messi, who isn't a "striker". Even with a season spent on the wing for Mourinho, he's still got a 0.52 goals-per-game strike-rate, better than Villa and Ronaldo and miles ahead of Drogba, Torres or Rooney.
    -----------
    Actually Villa's record is 251 in 441 games (0.57), but don't let facts get in the way of your argument there.

  • Comment number 85.

    How can this article writer not even mention Carlos Tevez ? Eto's been good for for 2 months while Carlos has been averaging a goal a game for the last 40.

    I think it just shows that writers, especially tabloid writers like this fellow Piers Edward are 'lagging' recognizers of footballing talented and don't have their own opinions or intelligence but simply read blogs and synthesize ideas.

  • Comment number 86.

    61# He has however had his ups and downs, just like Rooney, Owen and Gerrard have done. All four of them fall into the world class category (Owen no longer so of course but certainly in his Liverpool days).


    Micheal Owen world class- what nonsense, it's opinions like that which diminish the term and real world class players like eto'o.

  • Comment number 87.

    ETOO iS JUST FANTASTIC. HE IS MOST SUPERIOR AND THERE IS NO COMPARISM.

    HE IS ABOVE ALL.

    WHAT A GUY. RACIAL HATRED DID NOT WIN BUT GOOD WON OVER EVIL.

  • Comment number 88.

    Eto'o is certainly one of the finest pure strikers in the world at the moment. In my opinion he is has been the best for several years, even with Barca's tiki taka stunting his goal ratio that might have flourished even more elsewhere. He is a perfect target centre forward, more complete, more skilled more successful and a safer bet than Michael Owen ever was in his heyday. He is still speedy enough to latch onto a well weighted throughpass and tuck away with textbook aplomb, or one-touch finish a well placed feeder pass, with feet or head. Mobility-wise, he creates headaches for any back four (or five) without even touching the ball, and space for any teammates who surely know to follow him up.

    One on one, there is no-one else I would fancy to score- in finishing he has no equal. Including that ugly number 11 in West London. And I agree with the charge that Mourinho's tactics (however bewildering they were at the time, and ultimately justified both by Milito's rich vein of goals and a Treble) expanded his repertoire- in the same way that ex-strikers often make the best centrebacks, Eto'o now appreciates positioning and space-finding from the midfield viewpoint, and indeed seems to have lost some of the impetuosity without losing his ruthlessness. Rather than merely being the icing, he is also part of the cake proper.

    The boy's a bit special.

  • Comment number 89.

    The best out and out strikers over the last couple of years well I think you have to say it's between Drogba, Eto'o and Torres (not lately though as he's had his problems). Villa for me can't be included as he's not well rounded enough, he just hasn't got the physical attributes of the other guys and he's not the best playing on his own upfront.

    I came across these descriptions from a quick search on goalscroing stats.

    ETO'O-
    Strengths: Prolific, pacey, strong and has world class finishing ability. Expert at getting on the shoulder of the last defender, accelerating away and showing great composure to score in one-on-one situations.
    Weaknesses: Not the most technically gifted player, and has often been accused of getting easily frustrated and having a poor temperament.

    TORRES-
    Strengths: Clinical, classy, deadly, the complete striker, a born goalscorer. He is quick, strong, impressive in the air, blessed with expert technique and is cool and collected in front of goal as well as having an eye for the spectacular.
    Weaknesses: Torres can be distracted from his task by some physical attention from defenders, while he can be isolated if service is not forthcoming.

    DROGBA-
    Strength: Robust, bustling centre forward who harasses his markers. He is excellent with the ball on the deck and a strong finisher with the ability to use both feet. Aerial prowess and power; there are few players in the world as strong.
    Weaknesses: Temperament, propensity to dive and over-exaggerates tackles and confrontations.


    If you could make just one of these guys English to play along side Rooney who would you choose? I'd have to go with Torres myself.


  • Comment number 90.

    My vote is 100% foe Eto`o

    He scores goals where he gose

  • Comment number 91.

    if you had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which your life depended, who would it be? I know mine.

    ----------

    Even if he was in his 60s it'd still be Henrik Larsson.

  • Comment number 92.

    Just to add that Eto'o must have been a real problem at Barca and for Guardiola as he's such a good player to be let go. I agree with Bellion-Wonderland: "€46m + him for Ibrahimovic is one of the stupidest tranfers in history"

    It's a shame really as a front 3 of Villa/Eto'o/Messi would be something!

  • Comment number 93.

    Well on current form, both Drogba and Anelka for starters!

  • Comment number 94.

    I think two possible players have been forgotten here

    Robin van Persie is a top quality striker but has been seriously unfortunate with injury over the past seasons

    and Oscar Cardozo might be a cheeky shout with a very good club record, although it has to be said his international goals are disappointing and he did have a quiet world cup.

    however i have to agree that Eto'o is up there

  • Comment number 95.

    Eto`o might be the best striker in the world but in my view Drogba is the best player.
    He might not have the skills of messi or ronaldo but he can do everything, he could play in any postition.
    Up-front he can poach, bustle, hes superb in the air, he can create, he can take very good corners and free-kicks, he can hold up the ball, play off the last man, drop deep, beat men... everything!.
    He can defend in the air and does so at corners regularly, he can use his bustling skills in defense and his all round positional play is world class.

    There is no more rounded player than Drogba in the world today.

  • Comment number 96.

    Thanks a million for this blog! Eto'o has been underrated for far too long. His goals per game ratio for Barca is phenomenal. He was a great goal scorer at Mallorca, a 'smallish' club - no disrespect please. He is the highest goal scorer in African Nations Cup History. Unfortunately, his name hardly gets mentioned beyond the short list when the world footballer of the year award comes around. At Barca, in one year, he won the UCl, scoring a goal in the final; was the highest goal scorer in all Spain; won the Spanish La liga; won the European Golden Boot...and what happened? You guessed it; he wasn't even rated among the top 5 players for that year

  • Comment number 97.

    6. At 09:40am on 05 Nov 2010, tomefccam wrote:

    Chortle.

    So there is only Eto'o and Drogba in this race? Laughable.

    They key to a team that plays with one out and out centre forward, is that this man is going to get goals.

    When Milito was in, he got goals. Eto'o goes into that position, he gets goals. If you put pandev there, he would get the most goals. If Darren bent was an Inter player, and played as the central striker, he would probably get the most goals.

    Eto'o is good, but never one of the best. The scoring charts in Spain are always exagerated, as the bottom 5 teams are likely to suffer heavy defeats, unlike Italy, England, and definately France where there is a very level standard of competition.

    I think Hulk of Porto has started brilliantly, and will move onto a bigger club soon.

    Higuain supplies a steady flow of goals, and was good in the world cup.

    Luis Suarez and El Hamdoui have both started amazingly well at Ajax, with the former having a superb world cup.

    Edin Dzeko continues into his 3rd season as a prolific marksman.

    Point being, if you put any of these players as the Inter front man, they would score the same amount, if not more than Eto'o
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You are Joking right?

  • Comment number 98.

    How has this turned into a racial debate.........its embarassing.

    It was about is Samuel Eto'o the best striker in the world 'right now'

    so that doesnt include Torres or Rooney!

  • Comment number 99.

    " I guess the question, in true pub banter style, is this: if you had to choose a striker to convert a chance upon which your life depended, who would it be?"

    If this is genuinely the question being asked, all joking aside, my answer would have to be Kris Boyd. Not sayin he is a good all round striker, but simply for putting the ball in the back of the net, nobody is better... Apart from Jamie Carragher into his own net...

  • Comment number 100.

    Agree- he's the best right now.

 

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