Top five strikers never to have played in the Premier League
In light of the news that David Villa will be retiring in the near future, we have put together a list of the five best strikers we wish had played in England.
Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer with 59 goals in 98 games, will hang up his boots when his time at Japanese side Vissel Kobe comes to an end.
The 37-year-old will call it a career having represented the likes of Valencia, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and New York City, and that got us thinking which other strikers we would like to have seen hit the back of the net in the Premier League since the competition launched in 1992.
1. Lionel Messi
Where else can we start but with Villa’s old team-mate at Barcelona? Messi has scored an unbelievable 612 goals in 698 appearances at the Nou Camp and is arguably the greatest player of the modern generation. The only thing missing from the 32-year-old’s CV is an international honour with Argentina but that doesn’t detract from his remarkable achievements.
10 La Liga titles, six Copa del Reys and four Champions League are just the headlines from his list of honours and at 32, there is plenty more to come from Messi. Barcelona want to tie him to a contract that will run for the rest of his career but just imagine if he decided to try his hand in the Premier League? Even on a cold Tuesday night at Stoke, he’d light up the league.
We have already seen one Ronaldo be a big hit in the English top flight but imagine if his Brazilian namesake had made the switch? From the mid-90s to the early 00s, there was no better striker on the planet than the man nicknamed ‘The Phenomenon’ and his goal record speaks for itself.
34 goals in 37 appearances for Barcelona, 49 in 68 at Inter Milan and 83 goals in 127 when one of the Galacticos at Real Madrid. He’s also Brazil’s second-highest scorer of all time and fired them to the World Cup in 2002. His pace and size would have made him an ideal fit in the Premier League and there can be no question over him plundering plenty of goals in England.
3. Robert Lewandowski
Is the Bayern Munich striker the hottest goalscorer in the world right now? It is tough to argue otherwise with the Poland international netting 23 times in 18 appearances in club football this season.
Lewandowski has scored in 11 games on the bounce and has averaged an incredible 0.72 goals per game throughout his career. At 31 there is still time for him to make the leap to the Premier League and he has been strongly linked with Arsenal and Manchester City in the past. Fingers crossed he makes the move before it’s too late.
Back to Spain and a former international colleague of Villa in the great Raul. Until Cristiano Ronaldo, he was the top scorer in Real Madrid’s history and in the Champions League, the majority of his 66 goals coming for the Spanish giants with a few more notched during a forgettable spell at Schalke.
In total, he netted 323 goals in 741 games for Los Blancos, helping them to win six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns. A natural poacher in the mould of a Teddy Sheringham or Filippo Inzaghi, Raul was always in the right place at the right time, except when the time came to move to the Premier League.
5. Gabriel Batistuta
A wildcard for the last entry on this list in the form of Batigol, who would have won a lot more had he not spent his best days at Fiorentina.
Just one Serie A title and two Coppa Italia’s is not enough silverware for a man with the skills of the one-time top goalscorer in Argentina’s history. Despite having lost his crown to Messi, he still has the best goals-to-games ratio in the nation’s history and was unplayable at the peak of his powers.
Described as the best striker he’d ever seen by a certain Diego Maradona, Batistuta deserves to go alongside these other greats.
Perhaps his style of play wouldn’t have translated well to the English game but it would have been fun to see him strut his stuff in England before hanging up his boots.