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Difference Between Striker and Forward

Published date: June 16, 2022

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As an average person who enjoys football without being invested in the nitty-gritty of technical jargon involved in the sport, it is not too surprising that you may be wondering what the difference is between a striker and a forward. For the most part, strikers are types of forwards who, like all forwards, are expected to score goals.

Forwards, also commonly referred to as offensive players, make the game enjoyable to watch because their job, attacking the opposition goal, is the most exciting part of the sport. Offensive players are often given fewer defensive duties than the other players on the team to allow them to face their primary duty of scoring goals. To achieve their goals, forwards often possess great technical skills to beat opponents and convert chances that are created.

Although we would enjoy a crunching tackle, everyone would prefer to watch a 4-4 match as neutrals than a 0-0 one. The drop of the shoulder that causes a defender to be flat-footed, a one-touch flick by an attacking midfielder that sends a teammate through to score a goal, a curled strike from the edge of the 18-yard box that leaves a goalkeeper clutching at thin air - all these are techniques that forward players usually possess to give spice to the game and give us an enjoyable watch.

What Is The Difference Between A Striker And A Forward?

In soccer, the distinction between a striker and a forward would be that a forward is any player who plays in the attacking zone. Their primary mission is to provide possibilities for goal scoring. On the other hand, a striker is the player closest to the opposing goalkeeper, and his primary goal is to score goals.

A forward is not necessarily a striker, but a central striker is most definitely a forward.

Any offensive player in the team is referred to as a forward. The attack includes a striker. As a result, a striker is often referred to as a forward.

In recent times, tactical coaches like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have blurred the lines between the roles of other forwards and the central striker in their deployment of different players. Guardiola's use of Lionel Messi as a false nine in Barcelona's excellent team and Bernardo Silva at Manchester City exemplify this; Klopp's use of Roberto Firmino in the same role at Liverpool also greatly typifies this.

These central strikers are not primarily there to score like traditional strikers, but they are to create goal-scoring opportunities and space for their teammates in forward positions. More will come on that later on in this article.

Types Of Strikers

As much as we have differentiated between what a striker and a forward are, there are also different types of strikers, and their use often determines the team's tactic. Follow closely.

Target Man

Center-backs are put under extra strain when a target man is on the field. They constantly annoy defenders due to their physical abilities, win high-flying balls, and keep the ball up in the air. Olivier Giroud is an excellent example of a target man.

It's important to remember that this isn't the only form of a target man. By using their speed and power, target men can also drag the center back along with them and run behind the defense.

Lukaku is a fantastic illustration of this. A smaller striker is frequently paired with a target man to form devastating striker partnerships. A good example is Antonio Conte's deployment of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez at Inter Milan on their way to the Serie A title.

False Nine

A false nine is an extremely skillful player who possesses vision, great dribbling ability, positional awareness, and close control, and knows how to pick up the ball in pockets of space. It is one of the most recent roles in football and gives opposition defenders headaches because they are often unsure of how to mark the false 9, especially when they drop deep.

If the defender follows the false nine when they drop deep to pick the ball, they'll leave space behind that another attacker might run into. If the defender does not follow the striker, then the false nine will have the advantage of space and time to pick a pass or dribble through the opposition defense.

A false nine is sometimes like an extra midfielder who creates goal-scoring opportunities for wide players and other midfielders. Popular examples are Antoine Griezmann and Roberto Firmino.

Complete Striker

A complete striker can score goals expertly, assist, dribble and do what all forwards can do. Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, and Robert Lewandowski are perfect examples.

soccer player kicking ball to score

Types Of Forwards

These are the most common types of forwards:

Centre Forwards

As described earlier, the center forward's role is to score goals, set up teammates, and retain possession to bring other teammates into the game.

Second Striker

The second striker is an auxiliary attacking midfielder who plays just off the number 9. They make late runs and find space to create chances while also possessing sufficient skill to put the ball at the back of the net.


Wingers are players who play in the widest part of the field. They try to score goals by beating fullbacks and delivering crosses from wide areas. There are different types of wingers; inside forwards, inverted wingers (who cut in), wide playmakers, and traditional wingers (who cross a lot). The kind of wingers used depends on the tactics the coach has chosen to deploy.

As a winger, you must be quick. Mbappé is the fastest winger in the world currently.

Some Of The Greatest Forwards And Strikers In World Football Today

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the best players of all time in soccer. He is one of the most well-known soccer players in the world.

He has earned this reputation for a reason. With the ball, he has remarkable technical skills. Ronaldo enjoys scoring goals with his feet and head, as evidenced by his goal-scoring record. He's quick, strong, inventive, and one of the most hardworking players on the team.

Throughout his career, he has played in a variety of attacking positions, but the striker position is where he is most efficient.

Lionel Messi

Messi is not only one of soccer's best forwards but also one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

Messi is referred to as a playmaker. He deftly moves the ball across the field, with an uncanny ability to spot and execute the exact pass that sets up a teammate for a touchdown.

His uncanny ability to carry the ball without losing it also allows him or his team to score frequently.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski, a Polish striker, is widely recognized as one of the top attackers in the world, not just in Germany's Bundesliga.

He's noted for his goal-scoring prowess and propensity to be in the right spot at the right time to capitalize on every scoring opportunity. He stands out among other attackers because of his ability to identify the optimum position to collect a pass and score.


We hope this article has adequately explained the difference between a forward and a striker. To summarize, a striker is a player that is stationed near the opposition goalkeeper and whose primary goal is to score the goals. A forward, on the other hand, is any player who plays in any attacking position. A striker, false nine, winger, or offensive midfielder can all be used in this position.