Giant forwards of the last ten years

Publish on 23/05/2020 at 10:48 - D. CROSSAN


Four years ago this week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic played his final game for Paris Saint-Germain. ligue1.com looks at the giant Swede and the other tall forwards to have graced the French game over the last decade…


Ibrahimovic signed off a glorious four years at Paris Saint-Germain in style by scoring a double in the Coupe de France final against Olympique de Marseille on May 21 2016. That season he scored a remarkable 50 goals in 51 matches in all competitions, including 38 in the league, breaking Carlos Bianchi's club record that had stood since 1978. Ibrahimovic scored a ridiculous 113 league goals in 122 appearances in the French capital, and was top scorer in the French league three times. Beyond his goals, Ibrahimovic's charisma and style made him an idol and with his imposing physique he often made Ligue 1 games resemble men against boys.


Having featured for PSG's reserves during Ibrahimovic's time at the club, the Malian international moved to Charleroi in 2014. Two successful seasons at Gent followed before he returned to France to join Nantes. His first season was ruined by injury but things improved in his second campaign and he took over from the late Emiliano Sala as Nantes' most reliable scorer. There's more to come from Coulibaly who has scored 13 league goals in 61 Nantes appearances.


A cult figure, Coulibaly's fellow Malian international has hinted at a return to the French game for 2020-2021. Best known for his exploits at Bordeaux, including scoring a double in the Coupe de France final 2013 when Les Girondins beat Evian-Thonon-Gaillard, Diabaté has also represented Ajaccio, Nancy and Metz on loan. His six months at Metz for the second half of the 2016-2017 season were particularly productive, his eight goals keeping Les Grenats in Ligue 1 Conforama. Diabaté boasts an impressive strike rate in the top division, having scored 58 goals in 143 games.


Hampered by injury and a loss of form, Traoré is the biggest disappointment on this list, as well as being the tallest man featured in the article. The Ivorian international joined Monaco from Anji Makhatchkala in January 2014 on a four-and-a-half year deal and was immediately loaned to Everton of the Premier League, where he scored one goal before suffering serious injury. Back at Monaco he struggled to establish himself, scoring only four goals in 25 Ligue 1 Conforama games and being loaned out to CSKA Moscow, Sporting Gijon and Amiens, where he spent 18 scoreless games in 2017-2018.


Born on the Indian Ocen island of La Réunion, Ajorque made his breakthrough at Ligue 2 outfit Clermont. 14 goals in 2017-2018 led to Strasbourg signing the forward and once he settled into his stride Ajorque proved unstoppable, helping Strasbourg to the Coupe de la Ligue trophy in 2019. In the calendar year of 2019 he was the fourth highest scorer in Ligue 1 Conforama with 15 goals.


Like Ajorque, Hoarau hails from La Réunion. In this company he would feel short! The French international struck 38 goals in 114 Ligue 1 Conforama games for Paris Saint-Germain between 2008 and 2013. His return to the French game in January 2014 was a disappointment as he scored a mere three goals in 16 Ligue 1 matches for Bordeaux. Since then he has gone from strength to strength, prolific with Young Boys in Switzerland.



Click here to read Guillaume Hoarau on Ibrahimovic and listen to the former PSG forward on the latest edition of Le Beau Jeu, the official Ligue 1 podcast