Who are the fastest soccer players in the world? Well, look no further.
Here’s our list of the fastest soccer players in the game today. Some of the players are a bit past their prime, as in Ryan Giggs, and their speed has perhaps dropped down a few gears, but in their prime they were lightening fast and nobody could catch them if they broke free.
There are a few different categories of speed:
1) pure speed without the ball as if you were running track in the Olympics
This last category of speed is often the most used and crucial characteristic of high quality soccer players. The first step speed or quickness is the foundation of having a change of pace which serves a players ability to beat players on the dribble.
Sure, it’s true that pure speed kills, meaning that it often trumps all other aspects of a player, but soccer is a craft, it requires one to master a round ball with ones feet or all the speed in the world won’t help you.
The reason the first step is often the most valued category of speed in soccer is that the ball moves faster than anyone else and many times all that’s needed is that first few steps to get around the player and then pass or shoot. However, it’s true that overall speed has become even more important in the game today. Wingers with blazing speed have to be marked by defenders with equal pace.
The game itself is being played at a faster pace and faster players are highly sought after – look at the English Premier League, where everyone wants to play because it’s so fast and exciting. Take a look at the somewhat recent phenomenon of short but quick fullbacks like Patrice Evra, Ashley Cole, and Roberto Carlos.
But again in soccer it’s usually the change of pace that trumps all other types of speed. Even if you put Usain Bolt out on the soccer field, and I hear he’s a fan of Real Madrid and Ruud van Nistelrooy, he would blow past everyone only in the open field and on a breakaway, and then he’s still have to slot the ball home with defenders bearing down on him. Yet if you can switch gears with ease after suckering players in, you’ll make defenders miss and have success.
The other factor related to speed is momentum. If a player is charging at a defender then it’s hard for a defender to catch up to him or match his speed. That’s why you often see player obstruct or bump into other player as they breakthrough. Really, the only way to stop them at that point is to foul them.
Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Theo Walcott, and Ryan Giggs are even more dangerous when they’re out on the wing and build up speed as they get past one player and head towards goal. So the key is to get these players the ball when there’s space to attack and build momentum. How do you do this? By switch the ball from one side to the other and counter attacking when defenders are caught up field.
Who are the slowest players? There aren’t any anymore, and if there are, they’re all standing between the posts as goalkeepers.
We’ve broken down the list a bit in terms of each player’s type of speed. Obviously some of these players with fit into all three categories but we picked their best speed trait when putting them into categories.
Andy Johnson (Club: Fulham Country: England)
Speed with the Ball
Ryan Giggs (Club: Manchester United Country: Wales)
Change of Pace
Kaka (Club: AC Milan Country: Brazil)
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