10 Most Powerful Athletes in World Football
Power is the most important factor in modern football, and when combined with great skill, the player in question can become almost unstoppable.
We can all think of the blunt instruments, the guys who are athletes before footballers.
But who are men who have incorporated strength, pace, stamina and skill into their game in equal measures to become the most powerful athletes in football?
A trial, or a competition in the mould of Superstars, would definitely be the best and easiest way to measure footballers' physical fitness and power. But as incidents like this can happen and footballers are now so well paid and so valuable to their clubs, we'll have to come up with a system ourselves.
Read on to see who are the 10 most powerful athletes in football.
All sports specialise in one aspect of physical fitness, or another.
Football, however, is almost unique in that the sport demands that its players must become expert in numerous physical disciplines to reach the top.
The impact of physical fitness on the modern game has made players faster, stronger and able to jump higher than ever before. Players must now incorporate sprinting, middle distance and long distance running, flexibility, strength, stamina and skill like never before.
The physical load expected of players is while carrying out tasks is then expanded, depending upon the formation they are utilised in.
This increase in fitness levels and expectations has almost made wing-back play in the modern game redundant as its demands are so great upon the player in question.
What makes a player powerful?
Power in football is a combination of pace, strength, stamina and skill.
Without any of these elements, a player becomes less effective, and he/she drifts towards becoming an athlete who plays football rather than an athletic footballer.
Read on to see who have made the top 10 and why...
The Zenit St. Petersburg striker is one of the most explosive players on the planet and has the ability to dominate defences through speed, strength or sheer bullying.
Quite unorthodox for a Brazilian centre-forward, Hulk has made a career out of being an old-style striker. The combined €80 million transfer fee Zenit paid for both him and Alex Witsel would suggest he still has a large part to play in the game just yet, even if it is in an outpost like the Russian Premier League.
Marek Hamsik: 32/40
Marek Hamsik, the Slovakian international, has been a mainstay in Serie A since he made his debut at 17 with Brescia.
Now at the ripe old age of 25, the Napoli player is one of the most dynamic box-to-box midfielders in the game. Hamsik has made a career out of covering every single blade of grass during a match and has developed almost unheralded levels of stamina for the Napoli cause.
Bastain Schweinsteiger 32/40
Bastian Schweinsteiger is the best midfielder on the planet at this very moment in time. Whether he is organising and running Bayern Munich or the German national team, Schweinsteiger is the real leader on the pitch that every player looks to for example.
He patrols the pitch like a guard dog and covets his space and the ball jealously. When playing against him, you know you have to win the physical war before you can even attempt to play.
Fernando Torres: 33/40
Fernando Torres is one of the strongest strikers on the planet.
The Chelsea hit-man can play the game a number of ways, but his true strength lies in getting the defender into one-on-one situations where he can use his speed and strength to expose the other player.
Dani Alves: 34/40
Dani Alves is the very epitome of what a modern-day full-back needs to do.
He marauds up and down the right-hand-side like he is on skates and is available to support both his midfield and defence at every opportunity.
The Brazilian defender has made a career from his incredible levels of stamina and speed, and in another life, he could easily have been an Olympic-level middle-distance runner.
Gareth Bale: 35/40
Gareth Bale is probably the most complete athlete in the Premier League if not world football.
The Spurs man can do everything at a world-class level from short-distance sprinting to long-distance running. It should come as no surprise to find out that he often represented his school in short-, middle- and long-distance running before becoming a professional footballer.
Wayne Rooney: 35/40
The most complete footballer in the planet is also one of the game's best athletes.
Rooney can do everything on the pitch, and his versatility is a spin-off from his incredible athleticism as a player.
His manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, often plays him wide, behind the striker, as striker or in central midfield. His incredible power as a player provides the very foundations for all his good play, regardless of position.
Yaya Toure: 35/40
Yaya Toure is an absolute beast of a player.
The man is simply huge and plays off his incredible strength and stamina to make him Manchester City's best player and one of the most effective players in world football.
His strength is so massive that when he gets moving with the ball, he is literally impossible to stop, and players often bounce off him in all directions.
Lionel Messi: 35/40
He might be small, but he is not frail. You have to ask yourself when considering the most powerful athletes on the planet: Who works harder on the pitch than Lionel Messi?
Quite simply, no one.
Messi is the best player on the planet, and maybe of all time, because he works the hardest. He is incredibly quick, has superb stamina, is almost impossible to knock off the ball and has the strength to back every single claim up.
He might be the second best player on the planet, to Lionel Messi by the width of a credit card, but there is no misunderstanding in the claim that Cristiano Ronaldo is the most powerful athlete in football.
The Real Madrid forward is known to work incredibly hard on his game, as the top players do.
He is also known for going that extra mile, never mind an inch, by training even harder than his teammates. When stories of the Portuguese doing extra training and 3,000 sit-up workouts began to emerge a couple of seasons ago, few wondered aloud if he could keep it up.
Well, he has, and more. There is no doubting that Ronaldo, as a physical specimen, could play in any sport.