Who are the greatest traditional targetmen in history?

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Excape Goat, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

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    I do not recall ever discussing this topic. I have not looked into it, but I can think of Batistuata, Riva, Nordahl, etc on top of my head. I am not sure if Marco Van Basten can be qualify as a targetman.

    I find this definition of a targetman from about.com.



  2. John K

    John K Member

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    John Charles
  3. dustcowpoke

    dustcowpoke Member

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    Emile Heskey
    Peter Crouch
    Luca Toni
    John Hartson
    Didier Drogba
    Brian Ching (by MLS standards he was best target forward from 2006-2010)
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  4. ManiacButcher

    ManiacButcher Member

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    The most complete targetmen in the last few years is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, imo of course.
    He was truly great for Internazionale and he is the main reason why Milan still is a competitive team in the italian league.
    He only "flopped" at spain because his style of play did not fit to Barça's dynamic movimentation game.


  5. Perú FC

    Perú FC Member+

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    Is not the German Gerd Müller?
  6. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

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    I considered him, but I am sure if he is a targetman. Yes, he is a "target of passes from his teammates", but does he hold off the defenders for his teammates? I think he does, but he isn't liked Drogba because of his size perhaps. When I started this thread, i was thinking about the type of players liked Jan Koller, Jancker, etc. They are not the best ever for sure, but I was looking at their "dirty works" or "trench works" inside the box. I never knew the soccer term for "trench works". I borrow the word from American football. In basketball, it is called "low post". I have the same feeling about Van Basten too.

    If you looked at my past drafts, I always drafted a player who could do the dirty works. One year, I was heart-broken when someone drafted John Hartson on the 11th round. Instead, I took Viduka. I drafted Riva in the last all-time draft.
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  7. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

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    By that definition, would you say a targetman is a player that is also required to score a lot of goals himself (like Batistuta, Nordahl) or is his main job to be a „wall player“ whose main job is to provide others with goal scoring opportunities? In the latter case, a player like John Toshack springs to mind.
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  8. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    I think the most obvious English example (though I've only seen very brief footage and it wasn't of him either holding up the ball or nodding it down to team-mates) would be Tommy Lawton. I notice comme has used him as an example in his blog actually (came up when I searched 'Tommy Lawton target man').
    Here is a link to an all-time England XI selection that includes him:
    http://www.football-england.com/englands_best_ever_team.html

    I think Toshack does qualify as a target man too, albeit not a prolific one or the main goalscorer in his team.

    Christian Vieri (not saying the best)?

    I suppose Batistuta and Shearer both had certain attributes of a typical targetman (moreso I think than Shevchenko or Henry for example).

    I think RoyoftheRovers would have some more names (I don't know whether the comic book character himself would qualify - maybe too talented at dropping into midfield and scoring long range wonder goals etc!) - Nat Lofthouse for one.

    Kennet Andersson played as a sort of target striker for Sweden in the '94 World Cup probably.

    Peter Withe was used by Nottingham Forest as the main target I suppose (relevant to the other thread I've been commenting on today!).

    If Van Basten is categorised as such he is the best I think. Muller I would say isn't really the typical target man, though he was a target for many crosses and his hold-up play was very good (preferred the ball on the floor to hold-up I think though).

    Klinsmann vaguely fits the bill maybe but preferred to run with the ball more often when it was played up to him, and also moved around the pitch more.
  9. comme

    comme Moderator Staff Member

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    Someone like Van Basten was too complete a player to be a real "target man" (having said that I own a biography of Tommy Lawton called "The Complete Centre Forward").

    I'd say people like Horst Hrubesch and Preben Elkjaer-Larsson were classic target men.

    A target man really is someone who stays centrally in an advanced position who you can punt long passes forward to and hope for them to stick.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOVsji5dL-k"]Go Les - YouTube[/ame]
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  10. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    Sounds like an interesting biography.
    Hrubesch, I would have thought is a very good example yes (I'd think there are others who'd be ahead of him as the best ever but in style he's probably an identikit target man).
    Elkjaer was surely able to be a target man too, but he also had the skill and pace to make use of slide-rule passes etc. He wasn't as good as Van Basten technically though in terms of manipulating the ball on the ground plus of course spectacular volleys etc. I sort of see him in a similar category style wise to Stan Collymore probably - not identical but he was big and strong as well as being able to get on the ball and dribble past a few players and had the pace to get behind defenders too.
  11. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    From ... kocsis, Juste Fontaine, G. Muller, to ... Batistuta, Vieiri, NIstelrooy

    From mid 2000 to now this type is "dead" ///
  12. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

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    He must be able to do both. I did not see much of Nordahl, but he scored a lot of goals using his size. I supposed he did use his size to open space for his teammates.



    Yes, I somehow considered a good targetman to be a good "donkey".
  13. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member+

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    Its not dead it's just not used very much. Drogba was a very good target striker earlier on. And right now you can probably classify Fernando Llorente as a target striker. He has more qualities than just that but he's 6 foot 5 inches, he's excellent in the air and he's very physical. In terms of modern target strikers he's probably the best.
  14. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    Agree, I just meant there is NO more "great" target men in promotion ...

    Of course M.Gomez, Higuain, Huntelaar, Llorent and Soldado ... are "good" targetmen at the moment
  15. ManiacButcher

    ManiacButcher Member

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    Ibrahimovic showed today again how great a targetmen he is in Robinho's goals against Catania. Made the "wall" and managed a awesome pass to Robinho just score.

    I don't know if I would say that the type is "dead", even talking about only "great targetmen". Ibrahimovic and Drogba are international class and Llorente is proving so far to be a really good targetmen.
  16. Excape Goat

    Excape Goat Member+

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    I don't think it is a dead position. Drogba, Ibrahimovic and Llorente have much better mobilities than the previous generation. They do not look liked Jancker or Koller.
  17. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    I would not call Ibra a "target man". Drogba is an "arguably case" as he started playing that for Chelsea since 2009 and Llorent is a targetman agree.

    Ibra, Etoo, CR7, Cavani, Aguero, Messi, VPersie, Benzama ... are forwards not targetmen.

    Targetmen were Shearer, Vieiri, Crespo, Nistelrooy, Trezeguet Inzaghi ...
  18. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member+

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    I agree about Ibra not really being a target man. Despite his hight he's not very good in the air.

    But you mentioned Higuain. He's not a targetman at all.
  19. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [As comme pointed out, your real "stand & deliver" big lads up front (John Toshack) are best referred to as your "target"-type of striker. The strikers w/a bit more to their attacking game: they have at least a bit of pace, they can beat their marker (or at least get a shot off) w/a mix of power and some on-the-ball trickery, etc.; (Ted Drake, Trevor Ford, Tommy Lawton) would better be called something along the lines of a "Drake-mould" or a "W-M"-type centre-forward IMHO.

    In more modern times we often tend to lump the "target-men" and the "Ted Drake-mould" No.9s into the same category when they're actually quite different types of central forwards...]
  20. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [One of the often un-credited pioneers of your real "stand & deliver" type of "target" striker was Man. United & England cult hero Jack Rowley:


    http://www.manchester-united-fans-site.com/jack-rowley.html


    http://www.manutd.com/en/Players-And-Staff/Legends/Jack-Rowley.aspx


    http://www.aboutmanutd.com/man-u-players/jack-rowley.html


    http://pcsd.forumfree.it/?t=60247441


    I hope that you will find this information helpful...]
  21. Pipiolo

    Pipiolo Member+

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    Despite the goal-scoring prowess, none of these type of players is ever considered seriously in the all-time great discussions - perhaps only Gerd Muller and Paolo Rossi, though both had more to their game than just the final strike. Very few teams have been successful with this kind of player, e.g.: Brazil of WC82 failed with Serginho, Argentina of WC02 failed with Batistuta, Ivory Coast hasn't achieved anything with Drogba, etc. Lineker, Voeller and Delgado are probably the best I've seen.
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  22. PDG1978

    PDG1978 Member+

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    Thanks Roy, I thought you'd come up with good contributions such as this (I remember other links you've provided for players like the Man Utd wing-half Colman, that've been informative too).

    Would Lofthouse and John Charles be considered more as typical WM-mould centre-forwards? I suppose that type of player does generally fit the type Excape Goat was referring to, but nice to get a distinction and an example of an out-and-out target striker.

    Do you think Lawton and Van Basten have some close likenesses then (I know Lawton had a 'complete' set of talents but I guessed he was used a bit more as a target though I'd think a lot of his aerial play would be heading in crosses from the by-line from his wingers; probably it's true IMO that Van Basten had the skills of a great centre-forward and a great goal-scoring inside forward rolled into one plus a bit extra too)?
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  23. condor11

    condor11 Moderator Staff Member

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    I would seriously consider Batistuta in all-time great discussions
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  24. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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  25. RoyOfTheRovers

    RoyOfTheRovers Member

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    [As I've said before; I've always considered Muller as a central forward who was somewhere between the "W-M-mould" No.9 and an "out-&-out"-type of striker w/his "needle" being closer to that of a "predator"-type striker.]

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