The fastest footballers in the world
Despite Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti’s proclamation that he would have signed Usain Bolt, not James Rodriguez, if he wanted speed, pace is definitely a key factor in modern football.
From squabbles over FIFA Ultimate Team stats to training ground races, players like to be respected for their speed. So, who are the fastest footballers in the world?
That inevitable changes over time, with age, injuries and the distance over which the speed is recorded, all impacting a player’s speed. But here’s a look at some of the fastest footballers in the world in recent memory.
It was world governing body FIFA no less that declared that Flamengo forward Bruno Henrique has reached speeds of 38km/h during a Copa Libertadores win over Internacional in August 2019.
Though now the wrong side of 30 and hampered by injuries, Bale holds one of the top speeds recorded by a footballer. A study found he reached top speeds of 36.9km/h while in his Real Madrid prime in 2015.
The Paris Saint-Germain and France forward was clocked travelling at 36km/h earlier this year, which makes him the fastest player in the world at the moment. A couple of injuries show no sign of slowing down the 21-year-old just yet.
Athletic Bilbao flyer Williams has a top speed of 35.7km/h, putting him just behind Mbappe out of the current crop of players. His pace is one of the attributes that has seen him linked with moves to bigger clubs in recent seasons, but the 26-year-old has so far stayed in Bilbao.
Mexico international Damm seemed like the heir to Bale’s throne when his club Pachuca, supported by FIFA, captured him travelling faster than an electric piñata in 2015. At that stage, aged 22, he was recorded at 35.23km/h and seemed to have the potential to go a bit faster. As it is, he is now aged 27 and recently joined MLS side Atlanta United, so his quickest days might be behind him.
You knew Aubameyang was fast, but did you know he was that fast? Although Bale might have something to say about the situation once he’s up to full speed, Aubameyang is currently the fastest player in the Premier League. Despite now being aged 31, he is still racing through defences at 35.5km/h.
Bayern Leverkusen winger Bellarabi is just behind Aubameyang. The 30-year-old Germany international has a top speed of 35.27km/h.
Manchester City and England right-back Walker is famed for his ability to get up and down the flank at speed. The speed in question is 35.21km/h when he’s going at full pelt.
Walker’s former team-mate Sane has recently moved from City to Bayern Munich. If he can stay injury-free, he will be able to hit top speeds of around 35.04km/h.
Another players about whom you might think, ‘yes, he’s fast, but is he that fast?’ The answer seems to be a resounding yes. The Liverpool and Egypt forward has a top speed of 34.95km/h.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ rapid muscleman was once clocked travelling at 37km/h, which would take him straight to the top of the list. Whether that was recorded with inaccurate equipment or just a one-off turbo boost, general consensus seems to be that his usual top speed is 34.84km/h.
As we said at the outset, there are a lot of factors that determine precisely who are the fastest footballers in the world on any given day. With that in mind, here are a group of players who some sources reckon have a top speed that puts them in contention for this list:
Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Trezeguet (Aston Villa), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Madrid), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United), Tim Fosu-Mensah (Manchester United), Orlando Berrío (Khor Fakkan).