Last updated on October 14th, 2022
You may have encountered the terms CAM and Striker before when watching football. Or maybe, you may have seen these terms when you’re playing FIFA.
What are these 2 positions and how are they different?
The difference between a CAM and a striker
A CAM is the most advanced midfielder and his main role is to create goal-scoring opportunities for the striker. Meanwhile, a striker is the furthest player forward and is tasked with scoring goals for the team.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of these 2 positions:
Position on the field
Both of these positions usually occupy the central area of the pitch.
A striker is usually the furthest forward
The striker is usually the furthest forward on the pitch. They usually play around the penalty box and do not drop deep.
A CAM sits just behind the striker
The CAM is usually the most advanced of the 3 midfielders. In a 4-2-3-1 formation, they play at the top of the midfield triangle.
Usually, they are as advanced as the 2 wingers. Meanwhile, the other 2 midfielders will form the double pivot and stay behind.
You can find out more about the role of a double pivot in this article.
As such, the CAM usually sits just behind the striker.
Common numbers associated with these positions
In the past, squad numbers were used to indicate the player’s positions. The rules are more flexible now, which allow on-field players to wear any number that they can choose.
CAMs or the advanced playmakers usually took the number 10 jersey. Meanwhile, strikers are usually associated with the number 9 shirt.
Both of these positions have very well-defined roles:
A striker is meant to score goals
Goals are the name of the game for a striker. Their main role is to score as many goals as they can for the team.
A CAM’s main role is to create goals
A CAM dictates the play of the team. They are mainly tasked with creating goal-scoring opportunities for the strikers. Since they are quite high up the pitch and in a central position, they may be tasked to score goals as well.
Usually, the CAM may be the least defensive-minded midfielder. His main role is to create the goals and will stay high up the pitch. The defensive duties will be tasked to the double pivot that is sitting behind the CAM.
A CAM is not considered as a forward
Even though the CAM is very high up the pitch, they are not considered as forwards. Usually a forward refers to these 6 positions:
- Left Winger (LW)
- Left Forward (LF)
- Striker (ST)
- Centre Forward (CF)
- Right Forward (RF)
- Right Winger (RW)
As such, a CAM is considered to be a midfielder and not a forward.
Traits required for these 2 roles
Here are some traits that these 2 positions should have:
A striker has a knack of scoring goals
A striker needs to be comfortable with scoring goals. Here are some common traits a striker would need:
A striker has to be clinical. Goal scoring opportunities don’t come often, and a striker has to make use of every chance he gets. As such, your shooting technique has to be excellent.
Being comfortable with using both feet to score would be a bonus too!
Here are some examples of clinical finishing:
Beating the offside trap
The offside rule is a unique rule to football. This prevents the striker from waiting behind the defenders to score an easy goal. As a striker, one of the skills you’ll need to learn is how to beat the offside trap.
Filippo Inzaghi was one of the best at this. He knew how to time his run to perfection to ensure that he remained onside, yet could have the advantage of being in a good goal-scoring position.
Sir Alex Ferguson was also quoted to say that Inzaghi was born in an offside position!
The second goal that he scored in the Champions League Final against Liverpool in 2005 was a testament to this.
You can find out more about why we need the offside rule here.
Strong positional awareness
A striker must have good positioning in the box to create goal-scoring opportunities. They must position themselves well in case of a rebound, so that they can tap in for an easy goal.
A CAM is technically gifted
Compared to a striker, a CAM does not have strong finishing skills. Instead, they are much more technically gifted.
A CAM must be a good dribbler
There is very little space in the middle of the pitch as most players will crowd that area. As such, a CAM has to have very good dribbling skills to get out of tight spaces.
A CAM must have good passing skills too
As a CAM, your main role is to create goals. You will need to have the ability to find the killer pass to assist your striker.
Having the vision to spot runs as well as the ability to make the pass are the main defining qualities of a CAM.
There are many famous examples for each of these 2 roles:
These are some of the top strikers in the world currently:
#1 Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski is one of the most lethal finishers in football. Ever since making his name with Borussia Dortmund, he has been scoring goals week in, week out.
Throughout his career, he has scored an impressive 426 goals in 605 appearances.
He is perhaps most remembered for this insane record of scoring 5 goals in 9 minutes.
#2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Combining physical prowess with clinical finishing, Ibrahimovic has it all. Even at the age of 39, he is still scoring goals for AC Milan!
Having an illustrious career playing for 9 different clubs, goals seem to be something that’s really natural for him.
#3 Erling Haaland
Haaland took the world by storm in the 2019/20 season, where he scored 10 goals in the Champions League with Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, at just the age of 19!
An up and coming striker, he has many traits of an elite striker:
- The pace to beat defenders
- The physical prowess to win battles against defenders
- The positional awareness to find pockets of space
Centre Attacking Midfielder
The CAM is a dying breed. The intensity of the game has increased, leading to the CAM being less favoured.
Nevertheless, there are still some famous examples of these creative midfielders.
#1 Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is a brilliant playmaker with a strong technical ability. He has the dribbling skills and the passing ability that makes him a joy for strikers.
In the 2015/16 season, he was the assist leader in the EPL season, recording 19 assists. This was just 1 shy of Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in the 2002/03 season.
#2 Wesley Sneijder
With his time with Inter Milan, Wesley Sneijder was simply unplayable. He contributed both goals and assists to his team, and was even nominated in the FIFPro World XI in 2010.
After being hit by injuries, he slowly declined and didn’t look the same player.
However, he is still considered as one of the best CAMs to have played this game.
Kaka is one of the 8 players to have won the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and Ballon d’Or. He had an illustrious career, especially with AC Milan.
You can view a comparison between the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best awards here.
He had everything that a coach could want from a playmaker: exceptional passing ability, dribbling from midfield and scoring goals too.
Similar to Sneijder, he had many injuries that caused him to decline.
Here is a quick comparison between these 2 positions:
|Position||Furthest forward||Most advanced midfielder|
|Role||Score goals||Create goals|
|Common number |
associated with position
Beating offside trap
Strong positional awareness
|Good dribbler and passer|
Both of these positions are crucial in helping their team score goals!
You may want to find out more about different positions in football, such as:
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