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Van Dijk named Champions League's fastest player

11:34 AM EDT 9/3/19
Virgil van Dijk Liverpool
The Liverpool centre-back produced the fastest sprint of the competition to finish ahead of Leroy Sane, Kyle Walker and Gareth Bale in the chart

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has been named the fastest player in last season’s Champions League.

The Dutch defender outpaced the likes of Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker and Leroy Sane to record the fastest sprint in the competition as he drove the Reds to ultimate success in the final against Tottenham.

Van Dijk, who was recently named UEFA Men's Player of the Year, recorded a 34.5 km/h sprint speed in Liverpool's first-leg semi-final defeat to Barcelona, according to  UEFA ’s technical report.

The Netherlands international also helped his country to the final of the Nations League, only for a Ronaldo-inspired Portugal to lift the inaugural title.

Van Dijk, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo are the three finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Player award. The winner will be announced on September 23.

Barcelona were leading 3-0 in the first-leg match of the semi-finals against Liverpool, when Messi began to move forward with the ball. His Barcelona team-mates Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez were on his either side as the passing options.

That was when Van Dijk made the sprint to get back in defence. In doing so, he also prevented Messi from having a chance to pass the ball to Alba.

Van Dijk's burst of speed saw him narrowly edge out Manchester City star Sane, who recorded a 34.4 km/h speed against Hoffenheim.

Behind Sane and Van Dijk was Walker, clocking in 34.2 km/h in City's game against Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals, while Real Madrid star Bale came fourth with a 33.8 km/h sprint against Roma.

Former Schalke player Breel Embolo, Benfica's Rafa Silva and Sane - included in the top 10 for a second time - all recorded a 33.5 km/h sprint speed.

Ajax star Dusan Tadic had the most sprints per match on average compared to any other player.

Tadic's 62.25 puts him far ahead of second-placed Jose Callejon, who recorded 55.83 in the Champions League.

Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic headed the table for the player with the highest average for metres covered per minute with 137.3.

Finalists Christain Eriksen and James Milner also featured among the top metre gainers with 135.5 and 135, respectively. The top five was made up of Inter’s Matias Vecino (137m) and Napoli’s Marek Hamsik (136.2m).