By JAKE MONTGOMERY
College Contributor Network
Diego Costa, Chelsea's starting forward fresh off of a La Liga title with Atlético Madrid last season and a miserably poor World Cup performance with a miserably poor-performing Spanish team over the summer, is not the most talented soccer player in the world.
He's not the best dribbler.
He's not very creative.
He's not the quickest player, and he makes plenty of mediocre decisions.
But Diego Costa scores goals. He puts it in the back of the net. When the ball finds its way to Costa's feet, and Costa is in the box, Costa finishes. He put in three past Swansea City in one match and has had an historic start to his first Premier League season. Diego Costa is a goal scorer.
The world's best forwards are all goal scorers. They consistently find ways to get goals. There isn't much to it. It's pretty simple. In theory. In writing.
But scoring goals is agonizingly DIFFICULT. Just ask Danny Welbeck, Arsenal's new man up top.
In his first match with the Gunners, Welbeck received a gift of a pass from the Manchester City midfield and dealt with it exquisitely, pulling the classic chip shot, toy-with-you move, forcing the other team and all of their fans in the stadium and around the world to watch their own death in slow motion, or at least the first bloody stab.
Welbeck graced the ball over the left shoulder of helpless goalkeeper Joe Hart, a pawn in the forward's scoring scheme. The ball arched toward goal on the trajectory of a 3-point shot daggering toward the rim.
And then, and then, that very rim, the goalpost, JOLTED us out of our goal-craving stupor. Hart picked up the rebound off of the post, turned to throw it, and the play was over. No goal.
I only splurge in the description of this three-second play because it was a goal that wasn't scored by a forward who isn't a goal-scorer, at least not yet. It was the type of play that will make Arsenal fans cringe and think, "Three inches and it's done: Danny Welbeck begins his Arsenal career with a bang and becomes amazing. A legend. Three inches."
The thing is, Welbeck has yet to prove himself a goal-scorer.
In 46 appearances for Manchester United in the 2013-14 season, Welbeck scored in only 10 of those matches. At 23, the Englishman does have the potential to become a true goal-scorer one day, but potential in this area is often never fully realized because of how difficult it is to keep producing goals.
Little known fact: Most forwards aren't goal-scorers. Sure, they'll score here and there, put away the gimmes, get tap-ins from a yard out, have a cracker of a goal once in a while, maybe even have one great season, but they aren't goal-scorers.
Being a part of this elite group of players requires more than soccer-skill alone. Goal-scorers are players with a nose for glory, legs that always move purposefully, eyes that see everything on the important half of the field, a mind that can sense where the opening will present itself, and the resolve to finish.
All that matters to the goal-scorer is the finish. Not the how, why, when, or where but the what of the goal. The thing itself.
At any given moment, in any given season, there are a limited number of goal-scorers in the world. For many reasons from aging to waning confidence to the implementation of an unfamiliar, uncomfortable system or a less-talented team, all goal-scorers eventually return to being mere mortals. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Teams also don't need goal-scorers to be good or even great, but coaches who have these stone-cold killers at their disposals sleep better for it each night, and supporters of their teams rarely if ever worry about getting shut out.
This list is not extensive, but what's sure is that, no matter how long it is, Danny Welbeck isn't on it. Sorry Arsenal fans.
His combination of skill, strength, work rate, determination, confidence, occasional desperation, and nose for the goal (not to mention his sharp teeth) make Suárez one of the most dangerous attacking players in the world. His 33 goal tally in 39 appearances for Liverpool last year was the only reason the Reds were able to finish second in the BPL, and the Uruguayan soccer team lives and dies with El Pistolero.
Zlatan scores goals. He's got seven already to start the 2014-2015 season. He also owns an astounding career goal scoring average of .75 goals per match. His absence from the 2014 World Cup was the second biggest shame of the tournament after "7-1."
Seven goals in his first four Premier League matches. It doesn't matter if he's just really hot right now. That is incredible.
He did it at Atlético. He does it at Manchester City. The darting, gap-finding Argentine wreaks havoc on opposing defenses.
His World-Cup record is unparalleled and could become even more legendary when the 25-year old inevitably shows up for Russia 2018. Müller is always in the right position happy to eat up the leftovers of a defensive mess or goalie mistake and he scores when it matters most. He, like Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, is a baaaaaaad man.
Germany doesn't win in 2014 and doesn't make it to the semifinals in 2010 without him. His 10-goal tally in the last two World Cups beats the next highest scorer in those tournaments, his teammate Miroslav Klose, by four strikes. Müller scores less for Bayern but still leaves his mark.
Robin Van Persie
28 goals last season and four goals at the 2014 World Cup -- including the swan dive header against Spain. Wow.
He enjoyed fantastic scoring records at Manchester City and Milan, and the 24-year old is looking to dominate the Premier League once again with Liverpool. He took over Italy's World Cup match against England and scored the heroic game-winner. Classic England, classic Super Mario.
No matter who the club signs, Rooney is the man at Manchester United and is almost always England's best player and most lethal weapon on the pitch. In a frustratingly unlucky World Cup, which saw him hit many a post, he still scored a big goal for Queen and Country against Italy before Super Mario stole the show.
Radamel Falcao, Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Mario Mandzukic, Romelu Lukaku, Ciro Immobile, Carlos Tevez, Gonzalo Higuaín, Edinson Cavani, Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry (for nostalgia's sake)
Jake Montgomery is a senior at Harvard University majoring in English. Raised in Philadelphia and a lover of the beautiful game since '06, he is a huge fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Georgetown and Harvard basketball, Chelsea FC, Neymar, Steph Curry, Shabazz Napier, and Kanye West. Follow him on Twitter: @TheFloorGeneral
By JAKE MONTGOMERY