Ever since the beginning of civilization, the human race has been enticed by speed. There has been an obsession of sorts about being fast. Long after individual speed ceased to be the defining criteria for survival, the speed merchants in the world continued to inspire people with their adrenaline pumping endeavors.
The world of football has not shied away from speedsters either. Instead, they have been welcomed with open arms. In a game that is fiercely physical, speed is a gift, an asset that is not easy to come by. Just being fast is not enough though; one has to be fast with the ball at their feet as well.
But the fascinating thing about the beautiful game is that there have always been players who have been blessed with speed. This season too, the world of football has seen men who have pace to burn. Today we take a look at the top ten fastest footballers in the world, based on the top speed they have attained this season.
#10 Karim Bellarabi (Germany, Bayer Leverkusen)
Top Speed: 35.27 kph
The 28-year-old German International plays for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. Karim Bellarabi is an attacking midfielder who is can play across the front line but is most comfortable on the right side of the attack. It is from here that the German likes to thread in passes and crosses for his teammates. He also likes to cut inside from the right and shoot at goal.
Bellarabi has been decent for his club this season, scoring 9 goals from 24 games. He has also registered 5 assists so far. While the German does have a knack of scoring goals, what makes him vital for his team is the threat he possesses on counter attacks. This is because Bellarabi is extremely fast and has been one of the fastest players in the world this season.
The German has clocked a top speed of 35.27 kilometers per hour, which highlights how deadly he can be when Bayer break away in a counter. He leaves his markers for dead and very few people in the world have the ability to catch up with him on the pitch.
#9 Moussa Sissoko (France, Tottenham)
Top Speed: 35.33 kph
The Frenchman is an important member of the Tottenham team that were fighting for the league at one point in the season. However, Pochettino’s men have been going through a decline of late and are now at danger of missing the top 4 places. But despite their recent debacle, the Frenchman has been a force in the midfield for his team this season.
Sissoko has a rare combination of power and speed, which makes him an asset in the team. This season, the Frenchman has seen his stocks rise, as he has improved his ability to win the ball and his ability to tackle. Even though his finishing has been poor, Sissoko has been fantastic in the build-up play. His speed is an added advantage here, as the Tottenham midfielder has been able to move up quickly during counter attacks. This season, Sissoko has reached 35.33 kilometers per hour, which makes him one of the fastest players in the world.
#8 Patrick van Aanholt (Netherlands, Crystal Palace)
Top Speed: 35.42 kph
The Dutch left-back has been a regular feature in the backline for his club this season, starting in all of Crystal Palace’s games in the Premier League. Van Aanholt has been very effective for his club down the left, where he regularly combined with another fast-footed player, Wilfried Zaha. The two of them have been the creative force for Palace so far.
Van Aanholt is extremely fast down the wings and loves going forward. However, Palace coach Roy Hodgson has preferred to give the Dutchman a restrained role so far. This means that van Aanholt has been asked to stay deeper at times, however, he has managed to shine primarily because of the pace he possesses.
The Dutchman is extremely fast on the pitch and is very hard to stop once he gets going. He has reached a top speed of 35.4 kph this season, which shows just how fast he can be. His offensive contribution has also been decent, as van Aarholt has scored 3 goals and registered 2 assists from 34 games in all competitions.
#7 Jamie Vardy (England, Leicester City)
Top Speed: 35.44 kph
The Englishman has been a constant feature in this list ever since he broke into the scene a few seasons ago. Jamie Vardy has been among the goals this season and is the top scorer for his club once again. He is the only player who has hit double figures for Leicester City so far, scoring 13 goals from 28 games in the Premier League.
Vardy is a cunning striker who likes harrowing and pressing the defense on the field. His finishing is quite good and he is also a threat on the counter-attack. Part of his effectiveness is because the player is extremely fast and has registered a top speed of 35.44 kph this season!
The Englishman is a hard worker, who puts in a lot of effort on the pitch. He likes fast build-up, which helps him use his speed to the fullest. Vardy is also a good crosser of the ball and often pops up in the wings, using his speed to beat the first man. Jamie Vardy is 32 years old right now, but his age has hardly affected his speed so far.
#6 Leroy Sane (Germany, Manchester City)
Top Speed: 35.48 kph
The German is a player who epitomizes speed. Sane has been in blistering form for City this season and Pep Guardiola has molded the player into one of European football’s rising stars. Like a typical Guardiola frontman, the German loves running at people, giving defenders nightmares on the pitch. He is as skillful as he is speedy and is one of City’s most influential players right now.
Sane has already scored 14 goals from 36 appearances this season and has amassed 13 assists in total. He mostly operates on the left forward role for Guardiola in the City side, where he likes to dribble at speed and get past men. His finishing is quite strong, as is his ability to pick a pass, but his best comes out when City counter-attack.
The German’s speed and ball control make him an invaluable asset when City are breaking in numbers. Sane has clocked 35.48 kph this season, which makes him one of the fastest players in the world this year. No wonder defenders dread seeing him on the pitch!
#5 Theo Walcott (England, Everton)
Top Speed: 35.7 kph
Theo Walcott might have never fulfilled the promise he showed as a youth player, but the Englishman did make a name for himself due to his searing pace. Walcott played for Arsenal for 12 seasons, before securing a move to Everton in January of 2018.
During his time with the Gunners, Walcott was a handful for most defenses. He was speedy, skillful and also had a knack of getting goals. Since moving to Everton, the Englishman has shown signs of his old form, but his inconsistency has been costly. However, he does have 4 goals and 2 assists from 34 games in all competitions.
Walcott remains one of the fastest players in the football world and can still give most of the defenders a run for their money. This season, Walcott has achieved a top speed of 35.7 kph on the pitch, which means he is the 5th fastest player in the world at present.
#4 Inaki Williams (Spain, Athletic Bilbao)
Top Speed: 35.71 kph
Inaki Williams is Athletic Bilbao's top scorer this season, has scored 11 goals from 30 games in all competitions and is one of the fastest footballers in the world. Williams also has 4 assists to his name and is a modern center forward who can play across the front three. However, he has mostly appeared as the central striker for his club this season and it is from here that Williams has been most effective.
The Spaniard likes to dribble and is extremely effective on the counter. Because of his red hot speed on the ground, Williams has been able to get the better of the opposing defenses on many occasions this season. If the man gets a head start, it is very hard to gain ground on him, such is William's acceleration on the pitch.
The 24-year-old striker has clocked a phenomenal 35.71 kph this season, which shows how devastating he can be for defenders to handle.
#2 Orlando Berrio (Colombia, Flamengo)
Top Speed: 36 kph
The Columbian is not very well known in the football circuit, but still is the second fastest player in the world right now. Berrio has a top speed of 36 kph, which sees him edge past quite a few big names to become the joint second fastest footballer in the world this season.
Berrio has been riddled with injuries since moving to Brazilian side Flamengo in the Serie A from Atletico National in 2017. This season too, Berrio has faced severe injuries that have limited his game time. But when fit, he still is one of the fastest players in the world.
The 28-year-old has great ball control and likes dribbling. He is a menace with the ball at his feet and combines trickery with pace to beat his markers and advance. Once ahead, his speed ensures that it is very hard to get a hold of him.
#2 Kylian Mbappe (France, Paris Saint-Germain)
Top Speed: 36 kph
The French World Cup winner is having his best season till date and has been brilliant for PSG so far.
On the field, Mbappe is a lethal finisher and a gifted technician. And the Frenchman has the ability to burn up the pitch with his speed on the ground. Mbappe is so fast that it is almost impossible to stop him unless defenders have a head start and even then, very few have the capacity to catch him.
The Frenchman has that extra acceleration in him to give the defenders the slip in the final third. Mbappe regularly uses his speed to open up opportunities in front of goal. The 20-year-old is aware of his pace and has used it to his advantage very well this season. Mbappe has 32 goals from 36 goals in all competitions and is the joint second fastest footballer in the world at present.
#1 Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid)
Top Speed: 36.9 kph
Despite his lack of form and injuries, the Welshman has always been one of the fastest players in the world ever since he broke through the ranks at Southampton. Bale loves to run with the ball at his feet and has great ball control even at breakneck speeds
Bale has tremendous upper body strength and also knows his way to the goal. Bale has been going through a rough patch of late, and has once again suffered from injuries this season. But he has still managed to clock a whopping 36.9 kph on the pitch! This puts him clearly ahead of the competition and makes him the fastest footballer in the world right now.
Gareth Bale has scored 14 goals from 36 games in all competitions and has been relatively subdued so far this season. But the Welshman's speed is clearly still world class.