It has been said that the elephant is a friend to man more than a dog, but few knew they could compete with humans on the pitch.

Meet Donna, a young Asian elephant with enough talent with a soccer ball to make English Premiere League stars jealous.

The 2-year-old pachyderm showed off her expertise as she smoothly kicked the ball around the field at England's ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Baby elephants are "very similar to young children," Lee Sambrook, Whipsnade's assistant curator of elephants says (Via People). "They like to play and run around and roughhouse. It gives us a great opportunity to just increase our bond with them, really."

In addition to the bond, the large mammals get lots of exercise running after the soccer ball.

"They're naturally very playful, very inquisitive animals, Sambrook disclosed. "Once they've actually overcome any kind of concerns about the ball, obviously when they first see it, it's this weird object in their enclosure. When they realize they can run around and push on it and kind of jump on it, then playing just comes naturally to them."

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is the UK's biggest zoo. No word on Donna's plans to follow David Beckham into the MLS.

-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.

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