The World Cup is back and the 32 best teams in the world will compete for footballing glory.
This June, the tournament takes place in Africa for the first time in its 70-year history. While soccer is a true team sport, individual players can make all the difference.
Footballers from around the globe will try to make a name for themselves by elevating their teams past the group stage.
We at TFM have listed down the strikers/forwards who we believe will make an impact in this year’s World Cup.
Check it out.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Considered as one of the best football players of his generation and frequently cited as the world’s best contemporary player, Lionel Messi has received several Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21 and won both by the age of 22.
Messi’s playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to football legend Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his “successor”.
Lionel Messi has so far made 44 senior appearance for the Argentinean national side and scored 13 goals along the way.
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
Didier Drogba or ‘The Drog’ currently plays for newly crowned Premier League champions Chelsea and is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Ivory Coast national football team.
Drogba has scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player and is currently Chelsea’s 7th highest goal scorer of all time.
In March 2010, he was named as the 2009 African Footballer of the Year, his second time winning the award in his career.
The 6 ft 2 inches striker has played 66 times for the Ivory Coast and scored a total of 43 goals in all competition.
Landon Donovan plays for The LA Galaxy and he plays usually as a withdrawn forward, and can also be used as an attacking midfielder on either wing.
Donovan is the all-time leader in scoring and assists for the US National team, and has the most caps of all active players. He is the only six-time winner of the Honda Player of the Year award.
On October 10, 2009, Donovan scored on a free kick, giving the U.S. a 3–2 victory over Honduras in San Pedro Sula, clinching a berth in the 2010 World Cup.
Donovan has 121 caps for the US National team and scored a total of 42 goals along the way.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and serves as captain of the Portuguese national team.
Ronaldo currently holds the distinction of being the most expensive player in football history after having transferred to Real Madrid from Manchester United in a deal worth £80 million (€94m, US$132m).
Ronaldo’s contract with Real Madrid is believed to have made him the highest-paid football player in the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo has so far played a total of 69 international matches and scored a total of 22 goals for Portugal.
Wayne Rooney plays as a striker for English Premier League side Manchester United.
Rooney made his England debut in 2003 and, at UEFA Euro 2004, he briefly became the competition’s youngest goalscorer. He is frequently selected for the England squad and also featured at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Rooney has been awarded the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2009–10, a credit to his rapid development into one of his club and country’s most important players.
Rooney has so far made a total of 58 appearance for the Three Lions and scored a total of 25 goals at international level.
Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)
As a member of the Cameroon national team, Samuel Eto’o was a part of the squad that won the 2000 Olympic tournament.
Eto’o has participated in two World Cups and five African Nations Cups (being champion twice), and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the African Nations Cup, with 18 goals.
In the 2010 World Cup qualification match against Gabon, Eto’o scored a goal in the 68th minute. He followed it up with another goal in the home fixture.
Eto’o now leads the scoring chart with eight qualification goals. Eto’o scored in the World Cup Qualification match against Morocco to win Cameroon a spot in the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
Eto’o has scored an impressive 44 goals in 94 appaerances for Cameroon.
Robin van Persie (Holland)
Robin van Persie plays for Arsenal for whom he is vice-captain and the Netherlands national team as a striker.
He won the FA Community Shield and the FA Cup in his first season with the London club and won the 2006 Rotterdam Sportsman of the year award.
In the national team he is occasionally deployed as a left/right winger as well.
Van Persie has 41 caps and 14 goals with the Netherlands and made his senior international debut in 2005.
He has participated in the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. He also assisted with the Netherlands’ qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
David Villa made his international debut in 2005 against San Marino. He has since participated in two major tournaments: 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.
Villa scored three goals at the 2006 World Cup and was top scorer at Euro 2008 with four goals. He is the second top scorer of all time for Spain behind only Raul González.
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) listed him 4th in the “World’s Top Goal Scorer 2009” rankings.
Villa has so far played a total of 55 competitive matches for Spain and scored a total of 36 goals along the way.
Andre-Pierre Gignac (France)
Gignac received his first France International call up for France for World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania. He missed the first match due to injury but was fit enough to earn his first cap on 1 April 2009, coming on as a substitute in the 69th minute and provided the assist to Franck Ribéry’s goal in the 1-0 victory.
On 12 August 2009, Gignac scored France’s lone goal after 42 minutes against last-place Faroe Islands in a Group 7 World Cup qualifier in Tórshavn.
On 10 October 2009, he scored a brace in a five-minute span, again against the Faroe Islands, in France’s 5–0 thrashing of the Faroes.
Four days later, Gignac struck again against Austria scoring the final goal in France’s 3–1 victory after appearing as a substitute for Thierry Henry in the second half.
Gignac has 10 caps for France and scored a total of 4 goals for Les Blues.
Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
In February 2008, Higuaín was called up by Argentina Olympic for a friendly match against Guatemala. He scored two goals in his debut as Argentina won 5–0. And in May 2008, Higuaín played 61 minutes against Catalonia in the other friendly match. Both matches were not officially recognized by FIFA as “A” international matches, and will not count towards his caps and goals in international play.
Higuaín finally got the call for Argentina by coach Diego Maradona for the last two qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Peru and Uruguay. Many in the Argentine media had criticized Diego Maradona for not selecting Higuaín in the past. He scored his first goal on his debut, a 47th minute strike during a 2–1 win over Peru.
On 3 March 2010, Higuaín scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory against Germany in Münich.
Fabiano made his debut for Brazil on June 11, 2003 in a friendly match against Nigeria. He marked his international debut with a goal before being substituted. He was also included in Brazil’s squad for 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, but did not make any appearances.
On June 28, 2009, he scored two goals in the Confederations Cup final win against the United States. He won the golden boots as the tournament’s top scorer with 5 goals.
He scored two goals on September 5th, 2009, for the Brazilian national team against Argentina in Rosario.
Fabiano has so far scored 25 goals in 36 appearance for the Brazilian National side.
Forlán debuted for the Uruguayan national team in 2002. He scored in the 2002 FIFA World Cup against Senegal with a volley.
He also scored against Brazil in the 35th minute of the 2007 Copa América semi-final.
However, he missed his shot during the subsequent penalty shootout, which Brazil ultimately won 5–4.
Since the 2007 Copa America, Forlán has become a regular for Uruguay and often has a place in the starting XI. On 17 June 2008, he scored a hat trick in a World Cup qualifying game against Peru.
Forlan has so far played a total of 61 games at international level and scored 23 times.
Fernando Torres (Spain)
Fernando Torres made his debut for the country against Portugal in 2003. He has since participated in three major tournaments, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2008.
Torres did not score a goal at Euro 2004, but he scored three at World Cup 2006. Torres scored the winning goal for Spain in their 1–0 win over Germany in the UEFA Euro 2008 Final.
Torres has played 71 times for the Spanish national side and scored a total of 23 goals.