By 90Min
May 22, 2019

You don't need to be strong to be a great striker, but it certainly helps. 

We have seen some incredible physical specimens in the past, some of whom have left us in awe of their ability to do whatever they want on the pitch.

Here are eight of the strongest strikers in football history.


Adriano

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Brazil icon Adriano, at his peak, was undoubtedly one of the finest strikers the world has ever seen, and a large part of that was down to his strength.

Not only was his foot as creative as a magic wand, Adriano knew how to combine his ability with his power, and it created the kind of striker every fan wants to see on their team.

The Brazilian was a dominant force in Serie A, starring for both Inter and Parma as he lifted four consecutive league titles between 2005 and 2009. He racked up 77 goals and 18 assists in 180 appearances in Italy, and will always be remembered as one of the most powerful players in history.


Didier Drogba

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On his day, Didier Drogba was simply unplayable. He relished the physical battle with defenders, and rarely failed to come out on top.

The Ivorian was already powerful during his time with Marseille, but it was after his move to Chelsea in 2004 that the world got to see just how strong Drogba was. He could use his body to send defenders flying, and the strength with which he kicked a ball often gave goalkeepers no chance of stopping him.

He took his physicality to Shanghai Shenhua, Galatasaray, Montreal Impact and Phoenix Rising, before hanging up his boots in November 2018.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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Ever since moving to Ajax in 2001, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's power has been no secret to anyone in the world. The taekwondo expert has used his physicality to his advantage, and some of the things he can do on a pitch are unheard of.

The towering Swede has starred in Italy, Spain, England and France, and has recently been dominating in Major League Soccer. Winning an aerial battle is never in doubt with Ibrahimovic, and his impressive athletic skills allow him to pull off moves which would be more suited to a video game (how about that bicycle kick against England in 2012?).

On his world tour, which has seen him turn out for the likes of Milan, Barcelona and Manchester United, he is yet to find a defender who can stop him. 


Hulk

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When you're known as 'Hulk' because of your resemblance to the giant fictional superhero, chances are you're pretty powerful. 

Now 32, Hulk's physique has been the stuff of legend for many years. He burst onto the scene with Porto in 2008, and he wasted little time in showing off his power. Videos of his shots have gone viral as fans struggle to comprehend how any player can kick a ball so hard, but anyone who has seen him up close will know how - he's huge.

Often pursued by the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, Hulk has turned out for Porto and Zenit Saint Petersburg, and now is showcasing his inhuman strength for Shanghai SIPG.


Adebayo Akinfenwa

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'The Beast' Adebayo Akinfenwa has developed somewhat of a cult following around the world, largely due to his stunning physique.

In fact, Akinfenwa is so big that many critics doubted whether it was physically possible for him to be a footballer, insisting he should pursue either bodybuilding or rugby, but the Englishman has continued to prove everyone wrong.

His work in the gym has helped transform him into a machine, and he has been using it to his advantage in the lower leagues of English football for years.


Julio Baptista

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Former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Sevilla forward Julio Baptista also picked up the nickname 'The Beast', and it is not hard to see why.

He was a defensive midfielder in the early stages of his career, because his power meant he was simply too good at disrupting opponents' attacks. However, he added technical ability and was quickly moved into more advanced positions on the pitch, allowing him flaunt his physicality against unsuspecting defenders.

Now 37, Baptista is currently a free agent after leaving Romanian side CFR Cluj in March. Could one last hurrah be on the cards?


Diego Costa

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Ask any fans of either the Premier League or La Liga about Diego Costa, and they won't hesitate to tell you about his physicality.

The Atletico Madrid and Chelsea cult hero is one of the most popular players in the world, but only when he is on your team. Costa relishes the opportunity to come face-to-face with defenders, and he will definitely not shy away from trying to overpower them.

In a world which is largely dominated by slender technicians, Costa's playing style is a breath of fresh air, unless it's your job to mark him.


Cristiano Ronaldo

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Few players in football history have ever worked as hard to maintain peak levels of fitness as Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has. 

He may be 34, but he shows no sign of slowing down, boasting the kind of speed, power and athleticism most can only dream about. His power applies to everything he does, whether it be running, jumping or striking a ball.

The fact that Ronaldo will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game is a testament to his hard work. Preserving that level of physicality is not easy, but Ronaldo makes it look as simple as breathing.


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