La Liga champions Atletico Madrid churn out the finest goal scorers in world football year after year. Ever since Fernando Torres captained the club in 2007, the standard of strikers being produced has been of the highest quality; far superior compared to other teams around the globe.
Three of these forwards are the most feared in world football, and now applying their trade in England they are competing against each other to become Premier League champions.
Sergio Aguero- Destined for glory…
Man City’s talisman is football royalty in his homeland of Argentina and has been tipped for success from a very young age. He has been a regular international since the age of 18 and had fathered Diego Maradona’s grandson by the time he was 20.
Aguero has been Mr Consistent over the previous three seasons and carried this form into the 2014/15 campaign. He is level with Diego Costa on 17 goals so far this term, however unlike the Spaniard Aguero has proven he has what it takes to conquer the Premier League, year after year.
The past few campaigns have been head to head battles with Luis Suarez for top scorer bragging rights. This campaign it looks like his former team-mate over at Stamford Bridge will be his main competition for glory.
Many world-class strike partners have played with the Argentinian since his arrival in Manchester, including Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez; however he has been and will remain City’s ever present attacking threat. His goals have proved vital for the club and without him the trophy cabinet at the Etihad wouldn’t look quite as impressive.
His finish for one of the most famous goals of the Premier League era (against QPR in 2011) shows you exactly what his game is all about- he doesn’t stop until the last kick, gives his all in every match and oozes passion for the sport.
The good thing for both club and country is that the little man is probably capable of more. It would be fair to say that the Premier League is lucky to have such a talent performing week in week out.
Diego Costa- Resilience paid off…
The Brazilian turn Spaniard has had to battle his way through the rough to become the striker he is today. Whilst Aguero was making his debut for Argentina against Brazil, Costa was loaned out to second division Portuguese side Penafiel.
The devastating partnership of Aguero and Diego Forlan kept Costa on the fringes of Simeone’s squad for the best part of two seasons. Costa’s real chance for Atletico came when Forlan’s fitness and form deteriorated after his memorable performances at the 2010 World Cup, in which he picked up the Golden Ball award.
After hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Osasuna, Costa was described as a ‘Battering ram,’ who played like a hybrid version of the two strikers who used to keep him out of Simeone’s side.
In his most successful so far, Costa scored 27 goals in La Liga and 8 in the Champions League as Atletico became Champions and runners-up, respectively.He continued this form into the 2014/15 Premiership season for Chelsea after the £32m release clause was met by the Blues in the summer.
Under Mourinho he is living up to the fearsome, world-class status he earned last season and is proving to Abramovic that splashing out on his price tag is money well spent.
Costa is currently joint top scorer in the Premier League with 17 goals and has all the attributes needed for the English game. The aggression, physicality and pure presence in the box makes defenders tremble at the thought of facing the Spaniard.
His temper is an issue, however, and keeping away from match bans could prove the difference between his goals helping Chelsea clinch the title or finishing just short in 2nd place.
Radamel Falcao- Expectations too high?
Falcao’s prolific goal scoring at Atletico earned him the right to be mentioned in the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The Columbian front man hit the back of the net 52 times in 68 La Liga games for the Madrid outfit, becoming one of most established and feared strikers in world football.
Amid questions over whether he could be as successful in the Premier League, Falcao smashed an unstoppable first half hat-trick versus Champions League winners Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup. After the game, Diego Simeone portrayed him as ‘indescribable,’ saying “whenever you set the bar high he sets it higher and rises to the occasion.”
Falcao continued his La Liga form for Ligue 1 big spenders Monaco, scoring 9 in 16 games in an injury-struck season. This was enough for Louis Van Gaal to snap him up in a big money loan deal for Manchester United.
As has been the case for other big name United signings, the transition from other European leagues to the Premier League has not been as explosive as you may have expected at the start of the season.
He has just 4 goals in 16 games and although we have seen glimpses of the Falcao of old, it just doesn’t seem to be clicking in a United shirt. One reason for this is that he used to being the main man, the goal scorer, the one to watch in a system where he is the focal point.
Under Van Gaal, he is playing alongside Robin van Persie, who is essentially a left footed version of himself, and other star attackers such as Angel Di Maria and captain Wayne Rooney.
Going forward United haven’t yet flourished this season, however if the system changes to more suit Falcao and he stays at United we may see him up there with the likes of Aguero and Costa next season.