The top 5 leagues are inundated with some of the world's finest forwards and often the big names overshadow those doing a fantastic job for their club sides that go comparatively unnoticed.
Here we highlight 10 strikers that have been going about their business quietly while the likes of Messi, Ibrahimovic, van Persie and Falcao steal the headlines. Our mission: to give credit to those that may not be well known outside of their respective leagues and homelands.
To be considered here each player must have started at least 10 games as a central striker, with the leaderboard all achieving a WhoScored rating above 7 when playing in that role.
10. Ruben Castro (Betis)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.08 Overall Rating - 7.00
Ruben Castro's 16 goals last season were key to keeping Betis in La Liga and having carried on his form in front of goal this time around he is helping the Andalusians dream of a return to European football. With 10 goals in 16 league starts this term only 4 players have scored more goals in Spain's top flight and from a tally of 42 shots his 23.8% conversion rate is superb. At 31 he is no spring chicken but is certainly a player maturing with age having been deemed surplus to requirements at Deportivo La Coruna and loaned out no fewer than 5 times in an unsuccessful 6-year stint with the club. How they could do with him now!
9. Adám Szalai (Mainz)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.09 Overall Rating - 7.06
Hungarian striker Adám Szalai's 9 Bundesliga goals this season have reportedly drawn the attention of Arsenal, though any move would mean Wenger feels the need for a like-for-like alternative to Olivier Giroud, with the 25 year old also standing at 6'4". Of the 21 players to have netted as many goals as Szalai in Europe's top 5 leagues only four have a better conversion rate (Klose, Cvitanich, Messi and Falcao), with his strikes coming from just 32 shots thus far (28.1%). His stature has helped him to win 2.5 aerial duels per game this season, though he is also useful with the ball at his feet, completing 1.6 successful dribbles per match thus far.
8. Jeremie Aliadiere (Lorient)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.13 Overall Rating - 7.16
Moving on from a player linked with a move to the Emirates to one that never made the grade in London, Jeremie Aliadiere's early promise finally seems to be being realised at Ligue 1 outfit Lorient. Now 29, the Frenchman has netted 7 goals in 17 starts for his current club, with a tally of 6 assists equally impressive. While his conversion rate of 12.7% is modest there is no doubting his importance to Christian Gourcuff's side having had a hand in 40.6% of his team's league goal tally thus far, with 1.9 key passes per game only behind Ibrahimovic of strikers in the division.
7. Cyril Théréau (Chievo)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.18 Overall Rating - 7.06
Frenchman Cyril Théréau is no goalscorer but his role in keeping Chievo in the safety of mid-table in Serie A is important. The 29 year old is a key out ball for the Italian outfit when they feel the need to go long. He's netted just 3 times in 17 starts for the club, all of which have come in the 11 games he has started as a central striker. A conversion rate of just over 9% is poor, but his work rate is unquestionable. He's won more tackles than any other central striker in Serie A (28) and still has impressive averages in offensive aspects such as dribbles (1.3), key passes (1.3) and crosses (1) per game.
6. Nils Petersen (Werder Bremen)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.19 Overall Rating - 7.01
Bayern Munich front man Nils Petersen is getting an extended run in the Bundesliga on loan at Werder Bremen this season and Jupp Heynckes will have been impressed by his recent form. With 7 goals this season, 6 have come in his last 10 starts for the club having not cemented his place as first choice striker until late October. Having mustered 40 shots this season his conversion rate of 17.5% is impressive, while he has also chipped in with 3 assists. Five of his strikes thus far have come through headed attempts (the most in Bundesliga and joint most in Europe's top 5 leagues with Michu), and it seems the 24 year old is a ready-made understudy to the likes of Gomez and Mandzukic at the Allianz.
5. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.19 Overall Rating - 7.05
The fact that 21 year old second striker Lorenzo Insigne's average rating is over 7 despite making 9 of his 19 Serie A appearances from the bench this season is testament to the impact the youngster has had on his return to Napoli. Already a full-fledged Italy international, the miniature magician has 3 goals and 4 assists to his name in the league this season, possessing excellent averages of 2.2 shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per game. The fact that he has spent plenty of time on the bench means that those averages leave him among the top 10 Serie A players for minutes per successful dribble (31) and the top 20 for minutes per key pass (39).
4. Max Kruse (Freiburg)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.25 Overall Rating - 7.38
Freiburg front man Max Kruse may only have 4 goals to his name, but his all round game this season has been key to the club’s rise into the European places in the Bundesliga. His strikes have come from 33 shots, leaving a conversion rate of 12.1%, but his chance creation has been superb. With 5 assists to his name he has created more chances per game than any other forward in Europe, with an average of 3.1 enough to see him rank 5th of all players over the top 5 leagues. His near 84% pass accuracy is also exceptional for a central striker, while figures of 2.2 successful dribbles and 1.1 accurate crosses per game suggest he could be an excellent second striker.
3. Leo (Rayo Vallecano)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.35 Overall Rating - 7.21
Recently linked with a move to Manchester United for a measly sum of just £1.6m it seems Alex Ferguson is looking for Leo to be the next Michu. The Rayo Vallecano forward has hit the ground running since being promoted to the first team and at 20 already looks a real prospect. With 6 goals to his name a conversion rate of 15% is good, if unspectacular, but his team play is better than that of the man who left the club for Swansea in the summer. The Brazilian has 5 assists to his name from an average of 1.4 key passes per game and has completed 1.8 dribbles per game, as well as fulfilling his defensive responsibilities from the front.
2. Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo)
Rating when Starting FW - 7.42 Overall Rating - 7.36
Linked with a move to Wales to join the aforementioned Michu at Swansea, Celta's Iago Aspas has been a revelation in his first season in La Liga. The 25 year old was key to his side's promotion last season, netting 23 goals, and has adapted to the top flight extremely well to bag 8 already from 18 starts. His conversion rate of 12.9% is slightly less impressive but Aspas is clearly not afraid to try his luck. However, he offers a great deal more than merely his goalscoring prowess, with a tally of 48 key passes only bettered by Joaquin and Ozil in La Liga. Averages of 1.3 successful dribbles, 1.4 accurate crosses and 1.1 tackles per game go to show that the forward is the complete package.
1. Manucho (Valladolid)
Rating when Starting FW 7.48 Overall Rating - 7.28
After a thoroughly forgettable and rather bizarre year-long stint at Manchester United, you'd be forgiven for letting the name Manucho slip from your memory. However, the Angolan has found his feet with promoted La Liga outfit Valladolid with his 6 goals, two of which came against Real Madrid last month, helping the side reach a comfortable mid-table position. His 23.1% conversion rate is very impressive and the 29 year old has also weighed in with 3 assists and won a remarkable 7.7 aerial duels per game - a full 3 more on average than any other player in Spain. While he also gets through his fair share of defensive work, it seems Manucho is finally showing the form in front of goal that earned him a move to Old Trafford back in 2008.