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Argentinian strikers making a mark in Europe

Published: Friday 30 January 2015, 11.00CET
With Sergio Agüero among the leading scorers in England and Lionel Messi enjoying another record-breaking season, UEFA.com salutes Argentine forwards across Europe.
by Majid Mohamed
Argentinian strikers making a mark in Europe
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has enjoyed another record-breaking year ©AFP/Getty Images

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Published: Friday 30 January 2015, 11.00CET

Argentinian strikers making a mark in Europe

With Sergio Agüero among the leading scorers in England and Lionel Messi enjoying another record-breaking season, UEFA.com salutes Argentine forwards across Europe.

Argentina is renowned for producing great goalscorers, from Alfredo Di Stéfano to Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta and Hernán Crespo. The Albiceleste's finest have regularly showcased their striking ability in Europe – and UEFA.com salutes the modern vintage making their mark on the continent this season.

Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
21 goals in 20 league outings

"Messi is the greatest player of all time. He will continue to surprise us all for years to come," said Barcelona coach Luis Enrique. Messi enjoyed another record-breaking year in 2014. The 27-year-old, who earlier this season scored his 400th goal for the Blaugrana, made Liga history in November by bettering Telmo Zarra's landmark of 251 goals with a hat-trick against Sevilla FC. Three days later, he surpassed Raúl González's record as top scorer in UEFA Champions League history with another treble, at APOEL FC.

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City FC)
14 goals in 17 league outings

©Getty Images

"Sergio is one of the best players in the world, one of the best strikers," City boss Manuel Pellegrini said recently. A hat-trick hero against FC Bayern München on UEFA Champions League matchday five, 'Kun' has been in irresistible form this term, netting 19 in 24 in all competitions, following on from 28 in 34 last season, to spark comparisons with the goalscoring exploits of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, his strike rate has improved since the 26-year-old notched 75 times in 175 Liga outings for Club Atlético de Madrid before his 2011 transfer to England.

Carlos Tévez (Juventus)
13 goals in 19 league outings

©AFP/Getty Images

Three goals in six from Tévez helped Juventus through UEFA Champions League Group A, earning a first meeting with Borussia Dormund since the 1997 final. 'Apache' – voted star of the past season by Juve fans – could retain his accolade after notching 18 times in 26 games in all competitions this term. The former Manchester United FC forward scored 21 in 48 in 2013/14 after arriving from City, in a debut campaign that yielded a championship medal and run to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals. The 30-year-old now wants to fire Massimiliano Allegri's men to a fourth straight Serie A title.

Mauro Icardi (FC Internazionale Milano)
10 goals in 20 league outings

©AFP/Getty Images

Icardi has continued his rapid development at Inter this season, impressing in his maiden European campaign. He claimed four goals in six UEFA Europa League outings as the Nerazzurri topped their section. The 21-year-old Argentinian-born attacker was actually raised in Spain's Canary Islands and is a Barcelona youth product – "the best place in the world to learn how to be a footballer, La Masia also taught me about life," he said. He joined UC Sampdoria in 2011 after an initial six-month loan, proceeding to plunder 11 in 33 for the Genoa outfit prior to his 2013 switch to Inter, for whom he's got 19 in 42 in Serie A.

Paulo Dybala (US Città di Palermo)
10 goals in 19 league outings

©Getty Images

"He's part Lionel Messi, part Vincenzo Montella – entirely world-class," according to Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini. Also likened to Agüero, the 21-year-old is certainly among the most promising strikers of the new Argentinian generation. Dybala's displays in Serie A – including a recent scoring streak of five consecutive games – have made him hot property. His most productive campaign since landing in Sicily from home-town club Instituto Atlético Central Córdoba in 2012 could merit a first international cap in 2015. That Palermo lie eighth in the table owes much to the heroics of Dybala and compatriot Franco Vázquez.

Luciano Vietto (Villarreal CF)
9 goals in 19 league outings

©AFP/Getty Images

"Coming to Europe is a dream come true and one that every player has growing up," the 21-year-old said after sealing a summer transfer from Racing Club de Avellaneda. Vietto scored twice as the Yellow Submarine ended 2014 with a success over RC Deportivo La Coruña – then started 2015 with another goal, at Elche CF. "Vietto is a great player who is playing exceptionally well for us," said Villarreal coach Marcelino. "His adaptation and performances have been far better than expected." The striker has notched 14 in all competitions, including five in eight UEFA Europa League outings for his round of 32-bound side.

Gonzalo Higuaín (SSC Napoli)
12 goals in 20 league outings

©AFP/Getty Images

The former CA River Plate forward netted 24 goals in 46 games in his first Napoli campaign after signing from Real Madrid CF in summer 2013. This term 'El Pipita' has helped himself to 17 in 30 across all competitions. "I want to do what Maradona did: win the Scudetto. He sent Napoli wild," Higuaín said last April. "If I could do this it would be the ultimate dream." Well, Maradona had to wait three seasons to clinch his first Scudetto with the Partenopei in 1986/87 and Higuaín, 27 – in his second year in Italy – may also have to wait a while longer, with third-placed Napoli presently well adrift of leaders Juventus.

Franco Di Santo (SV Werder Bremen)
6 goals in 11 league outings

©AFP/Getty Images

"It's obviously a setback for us," said Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik after their top scorer damaged knee ligaments in November. "Franco had been in great form and we'd love to have had him available." The 25-year-old was joint-leader of the Bundesliga goal charts before the injury ruled him out till after the winter break. Indeed, the ex-Chelsea FC and Wigan Athletic FC marksman played a key role in Werder recovering from their worst-ever seasonal start. Bremen, still third-bottom after 17 matches, will need the forward to continue where he left off in 2015 to maintain their elite status.

Eduardo Salvio (SL Benfica)
7 goals in 16 outings

©AFP/Getty Images

"He's starting to fulfil his potential, he's a good professional and a boy with a very good spirit," was Benfica coach Jorge Jesus's take on the front man shortly after buying him. The 24-year-old has definitely lived up to billing this campaign, helping the Eagles top the Portuguese Liga after 18 matches. A two-time UEFA Europa League winner with Atlético, he inked a permanent contract in Lisbon in August 2012, having caught the eye while on loan to the Eagles in 2010/11, registering ten times. 'El Toto' had initially arrived in Spain from CA Lanús in his native country.

Last updated: 14/01/18 23.16CET

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