Ranking World Football's 50 Fastest Players
The modern game has introduced many changes to the way in which football clubs set about winning matches, including the evolution of tactics and formations, state of the art facilities and equipment as well as sport science to ensure that conditioning is as effective as possible.
The one thing that is still valued as highly as anything else by managers transcending numerous footballing cultures across the globe is speed. That's right, raw pace and acceleration can be almost impossible to stop, no matter how sophisticated or advanced the tactics and preparation have been.
With the margins between the elite sides in world football so fine, pure speed can often tilt the balance, which is why it is desired so much by scouting networks around the world, often being attributed to the bulk of certain players' valuation, especially when breaking into first teams.
Here are 50 of the fastest players in world football. I have aimed to put together a list that best provides a combination of both sprinting ability, acceleration and speed with the ball.
Let me know if I have missed somebody that you think should be on the list and join the debate in the comments section below.
50. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint-Étienne)
49. Scott Sinclair (Manchester City)
48. Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
47. Loic Remy (Marseille)
46. Junior Hoilett (QPR)
45. Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
44. Javier Hernandez (Manchester United)
43. Jesus Navas (Sevilla)
42. Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich)
41. Mark Gonzalez (CSKA)
40. Neymar (Santos)
39. Maicon Marques Bitencourt (Lokomotiv Moscow)
38. Ahmed Musa (CSKA)
37. Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona)
36. Victor Obinna (Lokomotiv Moscow)
35. Obafemi Martins (Levante)
34. Eljero Elia (Werder Bremen)
33. Jefferson Farfan (Schalke)
32. Ola John (Benfica)
31. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
30. Vladimir Bystrov (Zenit St. Petersburg)
29. Jonathan Pitroipa (Stade Rennais)
28. Nathan Dyer (Swansea)
27. Cristian Tello (Barcelona)
26. Michel Bastos (Lyon)
25. Max Gradel (Saint Etienne)
24. Christian "Chucho" Benitez (America)
23. Luton Shelton (Karabükspor)
22. Waris Majeed Abdul (Hacken)
21. Jose Maria Callejon (Real Madrid)
20. Edgar Alvarez (Dinamo București)
19. Jimmy Kebe (Reading)
18. Dominic Oduro (Chicago Fire)
17. Gareth Bale (Spurs)
16. Mohammed Tchité (Club Brugge)
15. Kyle Walker (Spurs)
14. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
13. Eliseu Pereira dos Santos (Malaga)
12. Luciano Narsingh (PSV)
11. Seydou Doumbia (CSKA)
10. Ignazio Abate (Milan)
9. Aaron Lennon (Spurs)
8. Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
7. Lucas Moura (Sao Paulo)
6. Victor Ibarbo (Cagliari)
5. Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan)
Ryo Miyaichi is one of Arsenal's brightest young stars and has already impressed in a loan spell with Bolton last season.
The Japanese star has explosive pace and is destined for a big future, probably operating from the wide areas where the 19-year-old enjoys exploiting defenders in one-on-one situations.
4. Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids)
Marvell Wynne might not be known to the majority of the European football audience, but the American is most definitely a candidate for the fastest player in the sport, as many MLS fans will tell you.
As a defender, it is almost impossible to knock the ball past the 26-year-old and retrieve the ball on the other side.
The Rapids stalwart recently began his international career with the Stars and Stripes and will prove to be a tremendous asset to Jurgen Klinsmann.
3. Joffre Guerron (Beijing Guoan)
Joffre Guerron is one of the most dangerous attackers in world football when afforded the time and space to take on defenders in one-on-one situations.
The Ecuadorian will glide past you with ease and can now be seen tearing up the Chinese Super League, which is perhaps a shame when you consider how little we now see of this explosive winger.
2. Jonathan Biabiany (Parma)
Jonathan Biabiany first introduced himself to the global audience for Inter Milan under Rafael Benitez, utilised as a devastating right-winger who would relish the opportunity to dribble the ball into space, something much less common under Jose Mourinho's Nerazzurri before.
The Frenchman ultimately failed to make the grade with the Nerazzurri and has begun to rebuild his career with Parma. Sebastian Giovinco took most of the plaudits last season at the Gialloblu, but Biabiany was not far behind and is a player who uses his speed to great effect.
Most at ease when allowed to drift between the lines before darting through the space towards goal.
1. Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
The question on many an Arsenal fans' mind is: where would Theo Walcott be without his pace?
Perhaps that is a little unfair as Walcott has developed some other parts of his game in recent seasons, namely his finishing due to craving the chance to be used more in a central position.
Walcott's pace is frightening at times and you wonder what an incredible player he could be if he was just able to develop some consistency with his end product.