UEFA Technical Report Says Ronaldo Scored The Goal Of The Season, Not Messi

The 2018-19 UEFA Champions League technical report was released today, and it’s got 51 pages of highly entertaining and valuable information that analyzes specific tactical and technical trends at the very top of the world’s game. The comprehensive overview of last season’s competition includes some fascinating insights.

For example, here are the 10 fastest sprint speeds recorded throughout last season’s Champions League (KM/H). It’s really just more evidence of how terrifying Virgil van Dijk is, although Manchester City winger Leroy Sané appears twice. You wouldn’t expect to find Sergio Busquets on this shortlist, but there he is at the bottom. 

Champions League Fastest Players 2018-19  

  1. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool): 34.5 
  2. Leroy Sané (Man City): 34.4 
  3. Kyle Walker (Man City): 34.2 
  4. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): 33.8 
  5. Breel Embolo (Schalke): 33.5 
  6. Rafa Silva (Benfica): 33.5 
  7. Leroy Sané (Man City): 33.5
  8. Taison (Shakhtar): 33.3 
  9. Loris Benito (Young Boys): 33.3 
  10. Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys): 33.3 
  11. Garry Rodrigues (Galatasaray): 33.3 
  12. Juan Cuadrado (Juventus): 33.3 
  13. Gabriel (Valencia): 33.3
  14. Maxwel Cornet (Lyon): 33.3
  15. Éder Militão (Porto): 33.3 
  16. Romelu Lukaku (Man United): 33.3 
  17. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 33.3 

Also, here are the 10 players that averaged the most sprints per match. It’s essentially the 10 most selfless attackers on the planet. 

  1. Dušan Tadić (Ajax)
  2. José Callejón (Napoli)
  3. Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
  4. Dele Alli (Tottenham)
  5. Ivan Perišić (Inter)
  6. Raheem Sterling (Man City)
  7. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)
  8. Mário Rui (Napoli)
  9. Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
  10. Denzel Dumfries (PSV)

In terms of average distance covered per game, you’ll find many of the names from above in this list too. However, 33-year-old James Milner comes in at number five here. Incredible. 

  1. Marcelo Brozović (Internazionale)
  2. Matías Vecino (Internazionale)
  3. Marek Hamšík (Napoli)
  4. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
  5. James Milner (Liverpool)
  6. Maycon (Shakhtar)
  7. Miralem Pjanić (Juventus)
  8. Koke (Atlético Madrid)
  9. Djibril Sow (Young Boys)
  10. Dele Alli (Tottenham)
  11. Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
  12. Fred (Man United)
  13. Fabián Ruiz (Napoli)
  14. Dušan Tadić (Ajax)
  15. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)

A couple other things: Bayern Munich had the third-least possession in the attacking third, bettering only AEK Athens and FK Crvena zvezda; Lokomotiv Moscow had the third-most possession in the attacking third, more than both Liverpool and Manchester City; Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana prevented the most goals; 22 percent of corner kicks were taken short; Atletico Madrid did not concede a single goal from a corner and only conceded one shot, on average, from every 4.4 corners.

The report also contains a longer discourse on the 10 best goals scored last season, as judged by the UEFA technical observers. Cristian Ronaldo’s sweetly timed volley against Manchester United — in which he tracked a long ball from Leonardo Bonucci over his shoulder before unleashing a magnificently controlled shot — was given top honors. According to the report, it’s “a triumph of movement, technique and timing.”

However, fan voting for the Champions League Goal of the Season back in August finished with Lionel Messi’s free kick against Liverpool taking the award. That free kick finished second in the technical report.    

Top 10 Goals Of The 2018-19 Champions League

Download the full report here.

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