Soccer fans may still have to wait for the introduction of video assistance for referees, which would be quite welcome concerning many dubious decisions this season, including some big games. But, until it is approved to improve this beautiful game, FIFA, in cooperation with big leagues and Opta Sports, has used technology to record and collect many interesting, and sometimes fascinating data, such as number of passes a player completed during a game, how many kilometers he ran in total, how powerful was his strongest shot…
One of the most prestigious “competitions” between players ever since is: Who is the fastest of them? Here is the list of top 10 fastest players in the world currently:
10. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) – 34.77 km/h
Young Spaniard (22) was considered to be one of the world’s most promising full-backs when he joined Arsenal in 2011, aged 16. Rightly so, because beside his tremendous pace, Bellerin is very technically gifted.
Product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, Hector Bellerin has proved himself since breaking into Arsenal’s first team in 2014-15 season. Seen as a long term solution in the right back position and integral part of the team for years to come by the London side, Bellerin extended his contract last November. He is now to remain with Gunners until 2022 hoping to bring the first Premier League title since 2004, as well as some European success to the club.
9. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – 34.9 km/h
As one of the extra-talented young players Southampton brought to big scene in 2006-07, already next season Gareth Bale joined Tottenham, but only continued impressing with his brilliant displays and productive performances, whether as a full-back or as a winger.
Ahead of 2013-14 season, Real Madrid signed the Welshman for a fee of €100.8 million – this was a world record until last summer and Paul Pogba’s transfer.
But one record remains in Bale’s property: in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against archrivals Barcelona, he ran across half of the pitch before scoring the winning goal. On the way to it, Bale sprinted around his opponent with fastest speed recorded in Spanish football.
The 27-year-old helped the Blancos to their 10th and 11th title of European champions and could repeat that success this season, as well as win the domestic League for the first time.
8. Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – 35.12 km/h
In Tottenham Hotspur since 2009, Walker (26) went from strength to strength while completing several loan spells. Ahead of 2011-12 season, he was given a first team place and later on the PFA Young Player of the Year debuted for England national team.
Thanks to his incredible pace combined with great stamina, this right-back got through some bad patches and helped Spurs built a strong and stable team that should be fighting for trophies regularly in the coming seasons.
7. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Jamie Vardy is one of the deadliest strikers in English Premier League. This is in big part due to 30-year-old’s ability to quickly skip away from his guard and then inevitably punish it with putting the ball in the back of the net.
One of the players that were instrumental in the Foxes’ miraculous campaign of 2015-16 that saw them end up as more-than-surprising champions (their first top-flight trophy), Vardy was recognised with Player of the Season award.
6. Lyndon Gooch
(Sunderland) – 35.16 km/h
This young American prospect (21) made debut in Sunderland’s first team at the start of the current season. Fast midfielder with great engine and desire, he quickly showed signs of a big talent, but injury kept him out of action for two months in mid-season.
Gooch, who also debuted for USA national team in October, returned in form at the end of the season, but couldn’t prevent his side’s relegation. Given his quality, we should see him back in the top-flight soon, be it with Sunderland or any other team.
5. Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt 04) – 35.18 km/h
Leckie (26) is an Australian player who came to German soccer in 2011. The forward signed for Ingolstadt 04 in 2014 and already in his first season helped the club to reach promotion by winning German second division, Zweite Bundesliga. The forward set the fastest sprint ever recorded in Bundesliga.
Ingolstadt had a solid 2015-16 season, but struggled in the current campaign. So did Mathew Leckie. The winner of 2015 Asian cup with national team, failed to use his proven speed in the best way, played fewer games without scoring a single goal. That’s certainly one of the reasons Ingolstadt are already relegated.
4. Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) – 35.2 km/h
Member of Man Utd since 2009, Valencia is one of the fastest players in Britain bursting down the line as a right winger, or lately, as a right-back.
The 31-year-old Ecuadorian won two Premier League titles and an FA Cup among other trophies with the Red Devils. At the end of this season, he will try to help them win the only trophy that’s missing – Europa League, as United is set to face Ajax in the final.
3. Shane Long (Southampton) – 35.31 km/h
Republic of Ireland international, Shane Long (30) has a vast of experience playing in English Championship and Premier League. He joined Southampton in 2014 and played quite consistently ever since, reaching the League Cup final this season.
The attacker is best known though for his phenomenal speed – in August 2016 he set the Premier League record after clocking up amazing 35.31 km/h sprint.
2. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – 35.7 km/h
Another bright star coming through the ranks at Southampton, like Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott made a big transfer to Arsenal in 2006. Ten years later he scored his 100th goal for the club. Meanwhile, though the EPL title persistently evades the red side of London, Walcott (28) won two FA Cups with the club, and could add a third one at the end of this season.
Now challenged by Bellerin in every training session, the Gunners forward/winger still holds a record in speed as he ran 100 meters in September 2013 at stunning 35.7 kilometers per hour.
1. Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) – 37 km/h
The oldest on the list (33), but a proud holder of the title of the quickest soccer player, Arjen Robben won numerous club trophies as well. He was a champion of the Netherlands, England, Spain, before he joined Bayern in 2009. With Bavarian side he won six Bundesliga titles and Champions League in 2013, most notably.
Robben’s speed record wasn’t just a simple sprint – in the 2014 World Cup game between the Netherlands and Spain, he stormed past two defenders at fantastic speed of 37 km/h, ending the run with a sublime goal!