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Top 20 Fastest Soccer Players in the World

There are few things more exciting in football than watching a player take on their opponent by knocking the ball behind them. With one touch, the game of football, which is so often associated with delicate skill and flawless technique, can come down to a flat-out sprint for a brief moment.

But raw speed isn’t just a quick thrill for spectators to enjoy, it’s also becoming an integral component of strategy and tactics. It’s never been a secret that pace can’t be taught nor defended against, to an extent. Considering not every footballer has the positional awareness of Franco Baresi, the most effective solution to nullifying fast players is to mark them with someone even quicker.

More and more managers and coaches are subscribing to this logic as the game shifts towards an increasing reliance on swift counter attacks and high-pressure defensive lines. So if the game is geared towards uptempo ball movement and the rapid closing down of opponents, what does this mean for modern football?

A previously assumed gulf in athleticism between forwards, midfielders and defenders is far less obvious than it once was. Nowadays every position needs players who can accelerate quickly to burst into space, turn an opponent or intercept a pass. In fact, even goalkeepers are expected to sweep up balls slid or lobbed behind their back four.

With more space to exploit behind defences, more bodies to weave between in congested midfields, and quicker strikers to chase down on the break, a footballer can no longer afford to be caught on his or her heels anywhere on the pitch. With this in mind, it’s no coincidence the finest players on the planet at present are often also among the most rapid and fascinating to watch.

Here are the top 20 fastest players in world football.

20 Jordi Alba

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

19 Aaron Lennon

via liverpoolecho.co.uk

18 Raheem Sterling

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

17 Juan Manuel Iturbe

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

16 Gervinho

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

15 Victor Ibarbo

via lanuovasardegna.gelocal.it

14 Seydou Doumbia

via channelnewsasia.com

13 Kyle Walker

via telegraph.co.uk

12 Antonio Valencia

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

11 Arjen Robben

Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

10 Jonathan Biabiany

via forzaitalianfootball.com

9 Gabriel Agbonlahor

via sportinglife.com

8 DeAndre Yedlin

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

6 Ryo Miyaichi

via zimbio.com

5 Gareth Bale

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

4 Theo Walcott

via lasportsanostra.com

3 Hector Bellerin

via bleacherreport.com

2 Marvell Wynne

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

1 Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang

via bundesliga.com

Professional footballers don’t come much quicker than the Borussia Dortmund forward. It’s no wonder Aubameyang is very, very rarely beaten to the ball – he’s said to have clocked a staggering 3.7 seconds over 30m in training – that’s nearly one-tenth of a second faster than when Usain Bolt set the current 100m world record of 9.58 seconds in 2009. Such blistering pace off the mark is vital in the modern game, but the 185cm Gabon international also boasts the long-striding style that burns markers over long distances, too. Aubameyang is the complete football speedster.

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Top 20 Fastest Soccer Players in the World