Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk recorded the fastest ‘sprint’ across the entire 2018/19 Champions League campaign.
The Dutchman was imperious in Jurgen Klopp’s backline as he helped guide the Merseysiders to a sixth European crown.
Europe’s fastest ‘sprinter’ from 2018/19: Top four players…
- Virgil van Dijk: 34.5 km/h against Barca (A).
- Leroy Sane: 34.4 km/h against Hoffenheim (H).
- Kyle Walker: 34.2 km/h against Spurs (H).
- Gareth Bale: 33.8 km/h against Roma (H).
His defensive exploits not only yielded club football’s most prestigious trophy, but also the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year accolade, and now the ‘top sprint’ gong.
According to UEFA’s technical report, the towering centre-back clocked a waspish 34.5 km/h against Barcelona in the Reds’ first leg semi-final defeat, trumping the likes of renowned speedster Leroy Sane and pace merchant Gareth Bale.
The former did, however, secure second place, registering a blistering speed of 34.4 km/h against Hoffenheim in the group stages, while his Man City teammate Kyle Walker followed closely behind, coming in at 34.2 km/h against former club Spurs in the quarter-finals.
Bale will be disappointed to have only racked up a top speed of 33.8 km/h, such is his break-neck acceleration, while Breel Embolo, Rafa Silva and Sane (once more) came in next, with the rapid trident collectively clocking 33.5 km/h in their individual matches.
Further down the list, but still coming in at joint-sixth was Romelu Lukaku, who faced criticism over his weight, fitness and speed whilst at Manchester United; but hit back by posting data which revealed that he was, in fact, the second-fastest player at the club during a speed test – he later deleted his post after backlash.
This prompted Gary Neville to tweet: “He admitted he was overweight ! He is over 100kg! He’s a Manchester United player!
“He will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious.”
Andy he admitted he was overweight ! He is over 100kg! He’s a Manchester United player!
He will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious 😷 ! 👋
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) August 8, 2019