They say putting the ball into the back of the net is considered one of the most difficult things to do in football. Add to that the blood and thunder nature of the beautiful game in the Premier League and it only makes the hard job of scoring a goal even more difficult. However, here we have a look at some of the players who mastered the art of scoring in arguably the most difficult and competitive league in Europe.
Alan Shearer – 260 goals
Alan Shearer may have hung up his boots at the end of the 2005-06 Premier League season, but no one has come close to matching the legendary striker’s goal tally in England’s top-flight since his retirement. The complete striker with no weaknesses, the Newcastle United legend could do it all. Whether it was instinctive poacher-like finishes inside the penalty box or thunderous volleys and free-kicks from range, stopping Shearer on his day was an unenviable task for defenders.
The former England international played for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United in the Premier League and won three Golden Boots for being top-scorer during the 1994–95, 1995–96 and the 1996–97 campaigns. He also won the Premier League title once with Blackburn in 1995 and netted 11 hat-tricks in the league during his playing days.
Wayne Rooney – 208 goals
After bursting on the scene as a fresh-faced teenager with Everton, Wayne Rooney had the world at his feet. And while a minority of England fans may feel that he failed to live up to the hype on the international stage, no such complaints can be made about his club career. After two seasons with his boyhood club Everton, Rooney moved to English giants Manchester United and went on to play a starring role in the side for a decade.
Despite not being the primary striker for much of his career at Old Trafford, Rooney left United as the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 253 strikes to his name. He won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, one FA Cup and one Champions League during his time as a Red. He has also netted seven hat-tricks in the Premier League, including one for Everton, who he rejoined briefly for a season after leaving United. Presently with Derby County in the Championship, Rooney can add to his tally if the Rams secure promotion to the Premier League in the future.
Andrew Cole – 187 goals
An underappreciated talent, Andrew Cole represented plenty of Premier League outfits over the course of his illustrious career. However, he’s most fondly remembered for his time with Manchester United, with whom he enjoyed plenty of success. An instinctive finisher and true goal poacher, Cole’s link-up play with Dwight Yorke is still considered one of the greatest strike partnerships in the history of the Premier League.
He won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and was part of the famous treble-winning squad that lifted the Champions League trophy in 1999. Winner of the Premier League Golden Boot with Newcastle United in the 1993–94 season, Cole netted five hat-tricks during his time in England’s top division.
Sergio Aguero – 180 goals
The only individual on the list who is still an active player in the Premier League, Sergio Aguero is Manchester City's all-time leading goal-scorer and has played an instrumental role in all their league triumphs. One of the most feared strikers in Europe, Aguero has been a thorn in the side of opposition defences ever since his debut for the Citizens in 2011.
His four Premier League medals aside, Aguero has also won five League Cups and the FA Cup once. He was the man who broke Shearer’s record for most Premier League hat-tricks by a player after netting his 12th treble in the league earlier this year. The Argentine frontman also won the Premier League Golden Boot in the 2014–15 season.
Frank Lampard – 177 goals
The sole midfielder in the top five, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard’s ability to arrive late in the box from midfield to find the back of the net was unparalleled. He’s Chelsea's all-time top goal-scorer with 211 strikes in all competitions to his name and was a talismanic presence during the west London club’s most successful era in the Premier League.
During his time with the Blues, Lampard won three Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two League Cups and a Champions League. Not just a goal-scorer, the now Chelsea manager was also the league’s top assist provider in the 2004–05, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons. Apart from Chelsea, Lampard also represented and scored for West Ham United and Manchester City in the Premier League.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Odd Andersen