The fight for titles and individual prizes can often be decided by the smallest margins: a metre, or maybe just a centimetre. On Tuesday, Uefa released a report with a player ranking based on the distance run across the four Champions League group matches that have taken place thus far in the 2017/18 campaign. And European football's governing body decided to include a separate comment to highlight the data of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who did not feature in the Top 10.
Cristiano and Messi compared
The Real Madrid and Barcelona stars that have dominated the podium at Uefa's award galas in recent years are shown up significantly by the figures, although it is clear that their styles vary considerably from others listed. The Portuguese forward has covered 36,870 metres in the four games for Los Blancos while the Argentine just 29,802 metres for Barça. With both completing the total 360 minutes involved, that means that Cristiano has covered an average of 1,767m more per game.
De Bruyne and Eriksen top the charts
One of the stand out players of the competition so far has been Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne. And it's not just been the quality of his play that has grabbed the attention but also the 48,052 metres that has accumulated in his legs, more than anyone else. In terms of highest average, however, that goes to another Premier League star. Christian Eriksen has completed an average of 140.5 metres per minute in the three full games he has played for Totteham Hotspur. As a comparison, Cristiano and Messi have covered 102.4 m/min and 82.8 m/min respectively.
Players covering the most distance: 2017/18 UEFA Champions League
|8||De Bruyne||Man. City||48,052||360||133.48||8.01|
|(...)||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||36,870||360||102.41||6.15|
*Minimum 200 minutes/three games played
Draxler covering the ground
Interestingly, if we eliminate the 200-minute minimum requirement that Uefa stipulated for their report, the player who covered the most distance per minute was Julian Draxler. The PSG midfielder has covered 19,185 metres in 139 minutes of play, an average of 138 m/min.
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