The centre forward, number nine or big man is the forward that will lead the line against the opposition’s defence. Traditionally, the centre forward will battle against the centre back, imposing his physical presence to help his team. The main objective of the centre forward is to score the goals to win the game for his team.
Primary abilities of the player to fill the role of the centre forward include pace, strength and a powerful, accurate shot. A successful centre forward is expected to produce a return of at least a goal every other game, although England international Emile Heskey acts as an exception to this rule. For more please visit Arsenal transfer news
In the modern game, there will often be a centre forward playing alongside a more prolific striker. This tactic has been used by teams in the past deploying a big target man to play with a smaller, quicker striker. The partnership of Heskey and Owen or Crouch and Defoe shows this tactic perfectly.
The best centre forwards will possess the skills of both the target man and the striker to create and score goals for fun. Every country has their favourite centre forward and they evoke many emotions with their goals and commitment, making them heroes to their fans and villains to their opponents.
One of the best centre forwards ever to play soccer is the England and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer. To English soccer fans, Alan Shearer is the perfect number nine. Strong, powerful, quick and a natural goalscorer - Shearer was unbeatable in his prime.
Shearer enjoyed his most prolific period in the mid 1990s, leading Blackburn Rovers to the FA Premier League title and England to the semi-finals of Euro ‘96. Shearer was top scorer in the tournament, scoring against Switzerland, Scotland, two goals against Netherlands and a header against Germany. For more please visit Arsenal transfer news
Shearer’s goals record speaks for itself, 30 goals in 63 internationals and 283 goals in 559 professional appearances all at the top-level is hard to beat. He would often score spectacular volleys, while also being deadly in and around the penalty area with either foot or his head.
Argentina’s Alan Shearer was a man named Gabriel Batistuta. Imaginatively nicknamed, Batigol was as prolific a striker as Argentina is ever likely to see. He scored an amazing 56 goals in his 78 international appearances and helped the team to two Copa America titles, although the team underachieved in its World Cup performances.
Batistuta has played for teams in Argentina, Italy and Qatar. His most successful seasons were played for Fiorentina and Roma where he scored 198 goals in 332 games. His goals helped Roma to the Serie A title, and both Italian clubs to Italian Supercup wins. Batistuta possessed pace and power and had an unstoppable shot that would lead his country and club to many victory.
The best centre forward of the last thirty years, and maybe the history of soccer, is the Brazilian sensation Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima. Ronaldo, the real one, is still only 32 years old but looks set to retire with one of the most prolific goalscoring records of any centre forward.
Ronaldo announced his arrival at the age of 17 with 34 goals in 32 games for club side Cruzeiro. He made his international debut at just 17 and at that age was a part of the 1994 World Cup winning squad, although he did not play. Ronaldo sealed a 6 million dollar move to the Netherlands, playing 57 games and scoring 55 goals.
His performances allowed him an even bigger move to Spanish giants Barcelona. From here, Ronaldo would move to Inter Milan, Real Madrid and then finished his career at AC Milan. His best years were often blighted by serious injuries but he still managed to win three FIFA World Player of the Year Awards.
Ronaldo would achieve honours to rival most players including two La Liga titles, one UEFA Cup, one Cup Winners’ Cup and two World Cup wins. Injury ruled him out of the 2007-08 season for Milan and they released him from his contract. He is currently looking for another club, and at 32, would surely offer so much to any top-flight club.
A great centre forward can create goals from nothing, or make wingers look even better by finishing the chances that they create. A great number nine will be the fans’ favourite as they score the goals to send the crowd into raptures. All three of these forwards enjoy hero status because of this simple but amazing ability. For more please visit Arsenal transfer news