Europe’s top five leagues are blessed with some of the most dangerous forwards in the world. There are hosts of brilliant goalscorers, such as the likes of Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema of LaLiga Santander, Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane of the Premier League, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr in Ligue 1, among others.
However, the centre-forward of a side is often viewed as the primary source of goals, with the exception of a few like Roberto Firmino, who specialises in other departments such as dropping deeper and linking up play.
Several central strikers have set Europe ablaze with their phenomenal displays and scoring feats this season. In fact, there have been a total of 19 players to have scored 15 league goals or more in Europe’s top five divisions, out of which all but four (Bruno Fernandes, Salah, Messi, Mbappe) are centre-forwards.
On that note, here is a look at some of the look at the ten best strikers of the 2020/21 campaign so far.
Note: Only players who have played more than half of their games as a centre-forward will be considered for this list.
#10 Gerard Moreno | Villarreal
Villarreal academy product Gerard Moreno kicks off the list in tenth place amidst an impressive campaign with Unai Emery’s side. The Spaniard, who was awarded the Zarra Trophy in 2019/20 after his 18-goal season, has picked up right where he left off last year. Moreno has been fantastic since his return to the club from Espanyol and rightfully earned his place in Luis Enrique’s Spanish side as well.
The 28-year-old has appeared 18 times as his side’s main centre-forward this season, during which he’s scored 13 goals and set up a further five. Overall, Moreno’s 24 LaLiga appearances have yielded a total of 19 goals and four assists, and he also has four goals and three assists to his name in the UEFA Europa League for the Yellow Submarine.
His ability on the ball has been a superb asset for Villarreal and has allowed him to play in other positions as well. Moreno ranks in the 98th percentile among forwards in Europe for dribbles completed with 2.69 per 90. The forward will have a monumental role to play for his side as they are set to resume their Europa League campaign shortly.
#9 Luis Muriel | Atalanta
Colombian star Luis Muriel was never particularly the most prolific striker during his stay in Europe before moving to Bergamo. His highest goal return during a single season stands at 11, a figure he achieved on two separate occasions — for Udinese in 2013 and Sampdoria in 2017.
Since his move to Atalanta, however, it’s been a whole different story for Muriel. The 29-year-old has largely been used as a game-changer off the bench for much of his time under Gian Piero Gasperini and he has repaid the manager’s faith in him and some more. After smashing 18 league goals last season in just ten starts (24 sub appearances), Muriel has already leveled his tally from last year with a further seven assists despite having nine games left to play.
The South American ranks in the 99th percentile of Europe over the last year for non-penalty goals per 90 (1.24), touches in the penalty area per 90 (8.60), 98th for shots attempted (4.82) per 90 and shot-creating actions (5.39). Muriel’s impressive free-kick against Real Madrid in their UCL clash also suggests that he has more to his game than what meets the eye.
#8 Andre Silva | Eintracht Frankfurt
Portuguese forward Andre Silva has been one of the breakout stars in Europe this season and most certainly one of the more surprising names on this list. The former FC Porto man was once famously tipped to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s heir for the Seleção by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner himself, but things hadn’t panned out as well as he’d have hoped.
Silva’s fortunes have changed dramatically since his move to Eintracht Frankfurt, where he’s established himself as one of the most in-form centre-forwards in Europe at the moment. Since his move, Silva has gone on on to score a whopping 22 league goals in 25 appearances for Die Adler in 2020/21 along with three assists. The 25-year-old is currently the fourth-highest scorer in Europe in terms of league goals.
With 0.71 non-penalty goals per 90, the Portuguese ranks in the 96th percentile for forwards in Europe over the last year. AC Milan took a massive hit on the €38m transfer fee they paid for him when they sold Silva for just €9m, and could live to regret that decision if he continues to score at such a phenomenal rate.