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There is perhaps not as important a position on a soccer pitch as a striker. They are usually the highest-paid and get scrutinized for everything they do throughout a game.
You see them collect the ball in all different areas of the pitch and you even see them marking defenders for a corner kick. So that brings us to the question, what does a striker do in soccer? Read on to find out.
Much like a center-forward, the conventional role for a soccer player who plays striker is to simply score goals for their team.
Strikers also can shake off defenders and run in behind to the open space to get into a good goal-scoring area.
What position is a striker in soccer?
A striker’s position in soccer is usually the player that is closest to the opponents’ goal.
The main task for a striker is to score goals for their team while also helping their teammates score goals as well by assisting, however, their role does not stop there.
On top of the customary goal scoring, a striker can further endear themselves to both the manager and their other teammates by helping defensively too.
They can do this by constantly putting pressure on the opposition defenders when they are in possession in the hope of forcing a mistake.
Sometimes it works and other times it does not but constantly putting defenders under pressure can only help in the long run.
Another way that strikers can help their team is from defensive corners or free kicks. Sometimes the striker can be given the task of marking the opposition striker as they are sometimes of similar height and weight.
For example, if a striker is 6ft 5 and the opposition striker is 6ft 4 then when there is a corner it is only logical for both strikers to be matched upon each other to limit their threat from set-pieces.
Overall a striker is going to be judged on the goals and assists that they contribute to the team however with some strikers you cannot solely base how good they are just by looking at their goal tally.
This is because goal-scoring is not their only job for the team and in fact, some strikers prefer to set up teammates rather than score or be involved in the build-up play.
At the end of the day, the major role for a striker is to put the ball in the back of the net but there is so much more to the position than just that.
What does a striker do in soccer?
Now for some strikers, they are simply just an out-and-out goal scorer. What we mean by this is that it is their sole focus to score goals and nothing else.
However, other strikers, have more strings to their bows. They can be great with the ball at their feet so they can play other teammates in for a goal-scoring opportunity.
You will most likely see this with a tall striker, someone like Olivier Giroud.
Giroud is great in the build-up play for his team simply because of his size but also his ability with his feet.
The ball can be played to him, he has enough strength to hold off the defender and then lay off a pass or a neat flick to a teammate who now thanks to his flick is through on goal.
Strikers who are of that size are not only a weapon when the ball is played to them, but also at corners and free-kick situations. Because of their height, they are the main target that their teammate is aiming for.
Some strikers are great headers of the ball while others are not and that can be down to their height. If they are on the smaller side, then coming up against two 6ft 4 center backs is not going to be easy if he wants to win a header.
However, as much responsibility as a striker has offensively, they can have the same amount of impact defensively too.
This can be from constantly running defenders down when they have possession, but mainly it is from dead ball situations (free kicks and corners).
As mentioned above, depending on the striker’s height, he might be tasked with marking the opposition striker if they are of a similar height.
This is done so the team’s center backs can then focus on other threats in the box. A striker who helps his side defensively is a huge weapon to have as it eases the pressure on the defense and that can then lead to goal-scoring chances for the striker.
What is the difference between a forward and a striker?
The biggest difference between a player who is a forward and a player who is a striker is that a forward is any player that is playing in an attacking position, for example, the left-wing, right-wing, left side of midfield, the right side of midfield or even a false 9. Whereas a striker is a single soccer player that is set closest to the opponents’ goal.
A great way to understand this is when you look at a team sheet. For example, let us go with Liverpool in the Premier League.
They nearly always go with a front three (two wingers and a striker). So Sadio Mane and Mo Salah would be classified as the forwards because they are in a forward position, but they do not occupy the striker position.
Roberto Firmino is then deemed the “striker” because of his position which is a closer goal. As a rule, Firmino’s starting position will be significantly closer to the goal than Mane’s and Salah’s.
Who is the best striker in the world?
As with basically anything in life, everything is up for debate as it is only a matter of opinion. Some fans consider how good a striker is based solely on how many goals they score. Others will look at how that striker is deployed to play in their teams’ system.
This is because the team could be very defensive so a striker that scores 30 goals in a season for an attacking team might be overlooked if a striker scores 20 goals in a defensive team.
Why is this? Well if you look at it, a striker who is in an attacking team will get more chances than a striker in a defensive team so ultimately it is only a matter of opinion.
As is it only a matter of opinion here is who we consider being the best striker in world football.
The Polish-born Robert Lewandowski is for all money, the best striker on the planet. He is the very definition of a complete striker.
He can score goals with both his left and right foot and he is just as deadly with his head as well. No defense is safe when he is on the pitch.
Robert Lewandowski is one of the deadliest finishers in the world and he has the goalscoring record to prove it. When he was at German side Borussia Dortmund from 2010 through to 2014 he was then considered to be near the top of the tree when talking about strikers.
In his four years at Dortmund Lewandowski scored 74 goals from 131 appearances. After doing some simple maths, the Polish striker was averaging 18 goals a year from 32 games which equates to a goal every other game. That is a decent record, to say the least.
Then in 2014, Robert Lewandowski made the controversial move to rivals Bayern Munich. If people thought Lewandowski was a top striker at Borussia Dortmund, then at Bayern Munich he has cemented his claim to be the best striker on the planet.
In his six years with the German giants, Lewandowski’s stats are simply something out of a video game. In all the striker has played a total of 198 games across the six seasons, scoring 174 goals in the process.
Now that looks impressive on its own, but it is when you break it down, that is where it starts getting ridiculous. Normally for a striker, if they can average a goal every two or three games then that is decent enough form for a topflight striker.
Then you look at Lewandowski’s averages over the six years. The Polish striker is averaging 33 games a year and considering a league campaign is 38 that is great durability.
Then you add his goals, out of the 33 games he plays a year, Lewandowski scores 29 goals a season. So out of 33 games, he scores 29 goals.
That is simply unheard of, add to that his 6 league titles in 6 six years along with a Champions League winners medal and it is easy to see why he is considered to be the best on the planet.