The three fastest sprints in the Champions League last season have been revealed in UEFA’s technical report.
The detailed document pinpoints all the key data from last season’s competition with the three top sprinters announced as Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, Leroy Sane of Manchester City and Kyle Walker also from City.
Van Dijk recorded the fastest sprint (34.5km/hr) against Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final at the Camp Nou as he tracked a fast break led by Lionel Messi from a Liverpool corner.
Sane was second, he recorded 34.4km/hr against Hoffenheim away, whilst his Walker came third with 34.2km/hr against Tottenham at home in the second leg of their quarter-final at The Etihad.
The stats showed that elite level football is getting faster and faster, with Training Ground Guru highlighting that more than twice as many sprints over 30km/hr were registered in last season’s competition compared to the previous season.
There were 696 sprints exceeding 30km/hr in 2018/19, compared to 307 in 2017/18 and, again, all three were from the Premier League.
Liverpool’s Mo Salah (33.8km/hr) was first, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford was second with Walker again third, but Salah’s speed was slower than that recorded by third-place Walker last season.
Watch him go! 🏃♂️💨
According to UEFA, Virgil van Dijk clocked the fastest sprint in the Champions League last season…
34.5km/h 🔥 pic.twitter.com/M70MsmQsTx
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 3, 2019
Looking further back, the report indicates that the 2016/17 top speed of 32.6km/hr from Benjamin Mendy, who was at Monaco, would not have made it into the top 17 recorded speeds this season.
Gary Neville told TGG in June: “These players today run faster, they eat better, they drink less alcohol. They’re all running 13, 14km a match, some of them are running 1500m at high intensity and 20 years ago Gary Neville and his team-mates weren’t doing that.”