Best withdrawn strikers/deep-lying forwards/second forwards ever in football

Passing, scoring, playmaking – Withdrawn strikers are not just all about goals. And here are the ten best second forwards ever!

10. Philippe Coutinho (FC Liverpool)

The “Little magician”, as Liverpool fans call him…

Achievements: PFA “Premier League team of the year” member
Strengths: dribbling, pace, agility, assists
Weaknesses: Consistency

  • Key passing score: 85%
  • Finisher score: 85%


9. Michael Owen (FC Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United)

Regarded as one of Liverpool`s greatest players of all times

Achievements: Treble with Liverpool in 2001, Ballon d`Or 2001 and multiple other individual awards for his scoring ability
Strengths: pace, agility, scoring
Weaknesses: lack of height, injury-prone


  • Key passing score: 80%
  • Finisher score: 95%


Additional reading: Best center-forward ever in football


8. Alexis Sanchez (Udinese Calcio, FC Barcelona, FC Arsenal London)

Achievements: Copa America 2015+2016, Arsenals player of the season 2015, FA cup, Primera division title
Strengths: fast, skilled with both foots, very creative, one-on-one situations
Weaknesses: Sometimes to playful, header


  • Key passing score: 85%
  • Finisher score: 90%



7. Marco van Basten (Ajax Amsterdam, AC Milan)

Achievements: UEFA European championship victory, multiple national club titles and individual awards, amongst others three-time winner of Ballon d`Or.
Strengths: finishing skills, known for spectacular goals, powerful shots, clever
Weaknesses: Hm…


  • Key passing score: 70%
  • Finisher score: 100%



6. Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad San Sebastian, Atletico Madrid)

Achievements: La Liga best player 2016, Best player of Euro 2016, Two-time Champions League runner-up
Strengths: technique, dangerous and clever, versatile
Weaknesses: Physique


  • Key passing score: 85%
  • Finisher score: 90%


Additional reading: Best winger ever in football


5. Roberto Baggio (ACF Fiorentina, Juventus Turin, AC Milan)

Direct free-kick specialist, missed decisive penalty against brazil in world cup 1994 semi final

Achievements: UEFA Cup winner, Serie A champion, World Cup third place and runner-up 1990 and 1994
Strengths: variabilty, creativity, playmaking, brillant technique
Weaknesses: mentality, introverted, not a leader


  • Key passing score: 90%
  • Finisher score: 90%



4. Sergio “Kun” Aguero (Atletico Madrid, Manchester City)

Highest goals-per-minute ratio in Premier League history

Achievements: Olympic gold medal in Bejing, Premier League title
Strengths: Technique, scoring, vision, dribbling
Weaknesses: temper


  • Key passing score: 85%
  • Finisher score: 95%


Additional reading: Best attacking midfielder ever in football


3. Neymar (Santos FC, FC Barcelona)

Achievements: Copa Libertadores 2011, UEFA Champions League winner 2015, Primera Division title
Strengths: Dribbling, finishing, creativity
Weaknesses: Header


  • Key passing score: 95%
  • Finisher score: 95%



2. Rivaldo (Deportivo La Coruna, FC Barcelona)

The left-footer was one of the most effective players I ever saw. Submerged during matches from time to time, just to score insane goals out of nowhere. Like in the world cup final 2002 when he surprised Olli Kahn with a shot. We all know how that went…

Achievements: La Liga champion, Copa America 1999, Word cup champion 2002
Strengths: Bending free-kicks, powerful, creative, feints
Weaknesses: Right foot


  • Key passing score: 90%
  • Finisher score: 100%



1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

I saw the little Argentinian striker at the U 20 world cup in 2005 for the first time. I don`t think in football you should talk about one player winning something single-handedly, but if you have to, in this case it would probably as correct as it could be. Little Lionel had ten adjutants that simply were supposed to keep their own box clean and pass the ball to Messi. And thats how it worked, he dribbled through all the defenses without anyone being able to stop him and was solely responsible for almost every argentinian goal. Reporters back then were as impressed as I was and at the same time worried he would be wasted on the substitute bench of Barcelona`s star ensemble. Thank God that didn`t happen, just a little while later he was irreplacable and terrified the defenders with his dribblings, passes and precise shots. Detached from titles -e.g. the world cup is missing- he has to bee acknowledged as the best footballer ever, such a highspeed ball control and feel for the ball and this kind of precision has not been seen before.

Achievements: Countless national and international titles, U20-world cup champion with Argentinia, countless individual honours
Strengths: Technique, agility, ball control, balance, speed, dribbling, scoring, creativity = simply the perfect attacking player
Weaknesses: Offensive none (right foot maybe), defense a little


  • Key passing score: 100%
  • Finisher score: 100%


Best withdrawn striker ever in football
von Fanny Schertzer (Eigenes Werk) [GFDL oder CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Certainly there is no doubt about the number one spot. Do you also agree with the rest of the list of the best withdrawn strikers of all times?




1 Comment

  1. I couldn’t see Bergkamp… He was at least one of the best five withdrawn strikers in modern football history. You shall not prepare a list like this which ignored his magical talent.

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