Angel Di Maria challenged himself to an 'Adidas Speed Test' over 40 metres in 2015

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Football fans just love to know how fast players are.

There is always great interest when the Premier League release the latest batch of speed statistics and controversy is never far away when EA Sports decide on their annual pace ratings.

That's not to mention the intrigue when two of the fastest players are, by chance, pitted against one another in a footrace while chasing a long-ball.

However, for all the discussion around how fast football players can run, the evidence of professionals actually allowing themselves to be recorded over set distances is miniscule.

Perhaps the most famous example is Cristiano Ronaldo. He took on Spanish sprinter Angel David Rodriguez over 20 metres during the brilliant documentary 'Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit.'

'Adidas Speed Test'

To cut a long story short: Ronaldo teetered awkwardly in his blocks and was smashed by 0.3 seconds over a distance that's one third of the briefest IAAF-approved race.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Hector Bellerin has recovered 40 metres in 4.42 seconds, although the validity of that is an entirely different discussion in itself.

Nevertheless, one of the most interesting examples actually came in 2015, when Angel Di Maria took on an 'Adidas speed test' during his Manchester United days.

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Di Maria tested with and without the ball

The footage was published by the 'F2Freestylers' and has garnered over two million likes, yet another reminder of the interest in footballers' pace.

Di Maria was tested over 40 metres with the ball and without the ball. Each run took place from a standing start, across grass, in football boots and appeared to be recorded by hand.

Considering Di Maria was rated 90 for pace when the video was filmed, his time of 05:11 seconds is actually pretty average. 

What makes his performance so impressive, is the fact he recorded 05:24 with the ball at his feet.

Although it might seem obvious that footballers can travel quickly with the ball, it's remarkable that Di Maria can do it so well that he can almost match his regular sprinting performance.

Take a look at the video down below: 

With a few amendments to his technique, it wouldn't be difficult to lower his 'without the ball' time but his alternate run is what's really important and stands out the most.

Being able to run with the ball at pace is incredibly important at the top-level, while simply being fast can only be useful in a set number of circumstances.

And fair play to Di Maria, who opted against simply hoofing the ball down the pitch and actually recorded his time with what appears to be five touches. 

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The only disappointment is that more players haven't taken the same test because it would finally give supporters clear evidence to compare.

We'd bet that plenty of footballers would demolish his 'without the ball' recording. His other time will take some serious beating, though.

Who do you think is the fastest footballer in the world? Have your say in the comments section below.

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