In soccer, the most important thing is to score a goal. But how a team is going to do that is up to them to decide. Many sides these days prepare themselves for possession-based style of soccer, slowly working their way towards creating chances. There are teams, however, which prefer counter-attacking and getting into the open spaces.
It is there that speed reigns. Soccer players who are among the fastest in the world can make the most out of those situations, getting away from their opponents. Conversely, defenders which can reach high speeds can also better defend their goal.
Once in a while, a video will go viral on social media, when a certain soccer player manages to reach incredible speeds while sprinting in a match. It is then that companies working with statistics will calculate the top speed of a player’s run.
And while none of the soccer players can come close to Usain Bolt’s highest ever top speed of 44.72km/h (27.79mph) when he broke the 100m world record, these players can reach some incredible speeds. While there are possibilities of slight errors in calculations due to players running very short distances when reaching these speeds, let’s dive into the list of world’s fastest soccer players.
Top 10 Fastest Soccer Players in the World
Here is the list of the players that made the top 10 ever recorded speeds in soccer.
10. Darwin Nunez – 36.53 km/h
New Liverpool striker has already got the attention of the world due to his transfer from Benfica worth around $100m with bonuses. But he is getting into record books with his speed as well, as he was clocked at running 22.7mph, or 36.53km/h.
9. Ousmane Dembele – 36.6 km/h
There are several things Ousmane Dembele is famous for. His numerous injuries, his confusion when he was asked to say with which foot he is more comfortable to shoot (the answer is both!), but also his incredible speed. The Barcelona man was recorded to have ran 22.74mph, as fast as the next man on this list.
8. Mohamed Salah – 36.6 km/h
According to Opta, Nunez’s teammate from Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, is just slightly quicker than him. The Egyptian superstar is known for years as one of the fastest soccer players in the world and he reached the speed of 22.74mph, or 36.6km/h. Now imagine how impressive it is that there are seven players faster than Salah on this list!
7. Anthony Gordon – 36.61km/h
Anthony Gordon recently made his move from Everton to Newcastle, leaving the club which was in the fight to stay in the Premier League, for one that is challenging to play in European competitions next season. What he also left in Everton was his highest ever speed, as the 22-year-old in one match ran 22.75mph, or 36.61km/h. Not many fans knew he was that fast!
6. Jeremiah St. Juste – 36.63 km/h
Not all players on this list are forwards. Jeremiah St. Juste is currently Sporting CP player, but while he was at Mainz in Bundesliga, he reached the speed of 22.76mph (36.63km/h) during the 2021-22 season. He is, according to the Bundesliga, their second fastest player ever recorded.
5. Mykhailo Mudryk – 36.63 km/h
Mykhailo Mudryk is one of those players which appear to have made several clubs almost literally fight for him. The Ukrainian winger was incredibly popular during the January transfer window of 2023, when clubs Arsenal and Chelsea did all they could to secure his services following a spell at Shakhtar Donetsk. Chelsea ultimately managed to do it and Mudryk did not need much time to hit his top speed of 22.76mph (36.63km/h) he played against Liverpool.
4. Adama Traore – 36.64 km/h
One of those players synonymous with speed is Adama Traore. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ winger is best known for his ability to dribble past his players and most often, he is able to do that thanks to his immense speed. Traore reached 22.77mph in one Premier League match, which puts him into fourth place on this esteemed list.
3. Karim Adeyemi – 36.65 km/h
In the first place in Bundesliga history is Karim Adeyemi. He was recorded just above St. Juste at 22.7mph (36.65km/h) in early 2023, playing for Borussia Dortmund in their match against Freiburg. Being the fastest ever in the German league got him to the “podium” on this list.
2. Antonio Rudiger – 36.7 km/h
The second place is the one that could surprise the most soccer fans. Because it is Real Madrid centre-back Antonio Rudiger who occupies it. It is incredible that the German defender has been able to reach 22.8 mph, or 36.7km/h, as most soccer fans would not expect a defender to be so quick. He did this while playing for Chelsea and before securing his move to Real Madrid. So maybe there should be no wonder Rudiger was able for the last couple of seasons to be one of the best defenders in the world.
Who is the Fastest Soccer Player in the World?
And finally, we reached the top spot. It is reserved for one of the best players in the world – Kylian Mbappe with 38km/h.
The Frenchman was already a World Cup champion once, he played in another World Cup final where he became the first man ever to score a hat-trick. He is also the second most expensive player in terms of transfer fees, but the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is also the fastest soccer player in the world.
In one match against his former club Monaco, Mbappe reached an astonishing 23.61mph (38km/h), which was faster than the average speed Usain Bolt was running in the 100m world record. Obviously, Mbappe managed to reach this speed for probably a split-second, while Bolt managed to maintain it over 100 metres. And while Mbappe will not be surprised that he is not faster than the fastest human ever, he can enjoy the fact there is no other soccer player which could race him.
The fastest soccer players in the world are not necessarily all forwards. Kylian Mbappe is the fastest soccer player in the world with top speed of 38km/h, but that is only one of the reasons why he is among the best players in the world. Speed can be incredibly useful on a soccer pitch, but it must link well with other tactical and technical aspects of the sport.
But whatever some people might think about the importance of these top speeds, it is an undeniable fact there is not much more exciting than watching a soccer player run off with the ball as if he was riding on a motorised vehicle!