Depending on preference, either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi take the cake for the best player in the world honor. Yes, they both score an insane amount of goals, but neither are regarded as conventional strikers.
Therefore, who is the best No. 9 in the world? Well, the majority of those living on the east coast of Spain will vote Luis Suarez, and anyone in Germany but outside Dortmund will utter Robert Lewandowski. Sure, these two strikers as well as Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain are top-class, but there's one player distancing himself from the pack.
Karim Benzema is currently in the form of his life, scoring goals for fun, with Squawka backing the claim that he's now the best frontman in Europe. The argument is by no means an easy one to make considering his prime rival Luis Suarez just bagged four goals for Barcelona a week ago. However, anything Luis Suarez does in 90 minutes, Benzema can do better.
In 1,339 minutes this season, the Frenchman has tallied 19 goals, created 24 chances, completed 23 key passes, and boasts a 67 percent shot accuracy. Per 90 minutes, these statistic totals are the best in Europe compared to each league's most formidable strikers.
While Gonzalo Higuain has scored 24 goals (2 penalties) in Serie A, he's played nearly 700 more minutes than Benzema. Same applies for Luis Suarez and Robert Lewandowski. Yes, the two have scored a few more goals then Benzema in their respective leagues, but they've also played a few hundred more minutes. Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is right on par with Benzema minutes-wise but his statistics are drastically inferior to the Real Madrid striker's. Additionally, Benzema is the only striker of the bunch that enjoys a positive Squawka possession rating.
Karim Benzema has the best minutes per goal ratio of any striker in Europe's major leagues. A goal every 73 minutes. #Allez— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) January 13, 2016
Benzema's strike rate has been prolific this year, netting a goal in each of Real Madrid's games in 2016.
While many will argue a majority of the Frenchman's goals were scored in the destruction of Rayo and Malmo, his proficiency in front of the net dates back prior to December.
In back-to-back weeks in September, Benzema secured the winners against Granada and Athletic. Against the former, Cristiano Ronaldo aspired to score his 500th for club but failed while Benzema stepped up. Against Athletic, he proved once again that staying in the Spanish capital was undoubtedly the best decision. His brace in the San Mames sent Real Madrid to the top of the league.
Also, let's not forget the ever-so-important goal against Atletico in early October. The poacher was at his finest early on, connecting with Dani Carvajal to redirect a header past Jan Oblak. While Los Blancos didn't come away with three points, Benzema was easily the best player on the pitch for Real Madrid barring Keylor Navas.
He's arguably been Real Madrid's most important player all year long. Removing Benzema's goals in the league would cost Real Madrid 11 points. He's been responsible on multiple occasions for scoring a few equalizers and winners. Without them, Los Blancos would sit fourth in the table which doesn't sound all that different from third but they'd be 15 points off Barcelona. If some consider the title out of reach with four points separating the two Spanish giants, it'd be long gone if the gap was double-digits.
At 28, it's safe to say that Benzema is at his peak and is experiencing the best goal-scoring form of his career. A Squawka performance rating of 56.04 tops any and all of the strikers across Europe proposed as summer replacements for the Frenchman. However, if anyone brings up the argument as to who is the best No. 9 Europe, very rarely is Benzema mentioned. But why? His statistics show differently and numbers never lie.