Top five: Fastest centre-backs in Europe
Thiago Silva, David Luiz & Sergio Ramos are three of the fastest centre-backs in world football
Here is article number two of the five-part speed series where we compile a list of the fastest footballers in Europe for an array of positions.
Every effort has been made to back up our choices, but this list is sure to be controversial. Have your say in the comments section at the bottom of the page - maybe even share your own top five!
Thiago Silva | Paris Saint Germain
It’s no wonder Paris Saint Germain splashed on Thiago Silva to anchor their expensive quest for success. The Brazilian centre-back is widely recognised as the best defender on the planet and his plethora of strengths emphasise his quality.
The 28-year-old is a true leader, exceptionally quick, powerful, good with the ball and unbeatable in the air. His game is so strong overall that he can mark any type of striker, from Lionel Messi to Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Current manager Carlo Ancelotti is a huge admirer of his top-class defender and certainly believes he can become one of the greatest players of all-time.
"No one has the concentration, the speed, the heading or the sense of anticipation he has,” he told FourFourTwo magazine.
Perhaps the highest possible accolade for a defender, Ancelloti believes the Brazil international is “on track to become the next Maldini.”
Younès Kaboul | Tottenham Hotspur
The Frenchman perhaps doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves as one of the top defenders in the Premier League. His height and power are his most obvious assets, but the deceptive pace of the 27-year-old is perhaps his most potent weapon.
During an interview with Tottenham teammate Kyle Walker, Kaboul was suddenly considered one of the fastest defenders in Europe after The Telegraph asked Walker to reveal the quickest man at the club.
Perhaps rather shockingly, the English fullback told reporters, “Over 100 metres, like the Olympics, I think it would be Younès Kaboul.”
Whether or not a reputation over 100m can be applied to football, Walker’s statement assumes Kaboul is on a similar level to Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in terms of speed.
Nedum Onuoha | Queens Park Rangers
Although he struggled to secure a permanent starting eleven role at Manchester City, Nigerian-born centre-back Nedum Onuoha is certainly one of the most physically intimidating players in the Premier League.
The QPR defender is a nightmare to go shoulder-to-shoulder with, but his solid build masks his unbelievable natural pace.
Onuoha reportedly ran the 100 metres in a scorching 11.09 seconds in 2001, coming second behind current professional sprinter Wade Bennet-Jackson.
However, that stunning time was set as a 14-year-old, and the 26-year-old claims he could improve on his teenage records: “because I’m more powerful and my endurance is definitely better.”
“I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t ten seconds something”, admitted the former Manchester City player.
Sergio Ramos | Real Madrid
An elegant yet versatile defender, it is no surprise that Sergio Ramos has already earned more than a century of caps for Spain.
Comfortable in any position across the backline, the skill and invention of the Spaniard allows him to effortlessly slot into a midfield role as required.
His craft on the ball is remarkable, but the blistering pace of the 27-year-old sets him apart from other world-class players in his position. Have a look at his extraordinary acceleration as he chases down a seemingly lost cause in.
David Luiz | Chelsea
You never know what the unpredictable ‘Sideshow Dave’ will do next - hardly a trait suitable for a centre-back. But despite his occasional blips in concentration, the cheeky Brazilian is capable of both attacking magic and defensive heroics.
Although the debate roars on regarding what position Luiz plays his best football, the 25-year-old is gradually learning to apply his arsenal of qualities to a variety of roles.
The outstanding speed of the former Benfica starlet is a crucial feature in an ageing Chelsea back four that lacks the mobility to cover gaps quickly and quell counter attacks.
Still relatively inexperienced at 25-years-old, the Brazil international must learn to use his pace wisely and commit to tackles sensibly before he can be considered one of the best defenders in Europe.
Is there another lightning-fast centre back you think we left out? Leave your opinion below!
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