Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is the quickest player in the world with the ball at his feet according to a new study.
The Welsh winger clocked an impressive 36.9 kilometres-per-hour with the ball at his feet according to an investigation undertaken by Mexican club Pachuca, which was endorsed by FIFA.
The former Tottenham ace was well clear of his rivals, most notably Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who only carried the ball fast enough (33.6 km/h) to be placed in fifth. One of Pachuca's own players, Jürgen Damm, came home in second place behind Bale having been clocked at 35.23 km/h.
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Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, who registered a top speed of 35.1 km/h, completes the top three.
The news may well be of some solace to Bale, who has endured a tough time of late at the Bernabeu. He's been booed by his own fans and been linked with a return to the Premier League and Manchester United amidst claims his relationship with Ronaldo is deteriorating.
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Bale has denied that he has any plans to leave Real Madrid and will stick things out in Spain in the hope of improving his situation.
A surprise entry on the list ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo is Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, who is currently on loan with Everton. The 27-year-old just nudged ahead of the Real Madrid superstar by clocking an impressive 33.8 km/h with the ball at his feet.
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, generally considered to be one of the fastest players in the Premier League, seems to fall away somewhat with the ball as his feet and is only fast enough to register in 6th place.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (32.5 km/h), Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (31.2 km/h), Bayern Munich's Frank Ribery (30.7 km/h) and Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid (30.6 km/h) complete the top ten.
Notable absentees include Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, Alex Sanchez of Arsenal and Arjen Robben, all of whom are considered some of the fastest players on the planet.
It's no real surprise that Bale is at the top of this list. He's quick enough without the ball but perhaps his greatest quality is his ability to dribble without slowing down - and it's a skill he has used to devastating effect in the past. In a game against Almeria last December he left Ronaldo for dead in a straight sprint, despite the fact that he had the ball at his feet.
However that alone hasn't been enough to guard him from criticism this season and the longer he's booed by his own fans, the more likely he is to leave. It would be Real Madrid's loss and Manchester United's gain if he does.
Will Gareth Bale join Manchester United this summer?
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