Thursday, 25 Jul 2024

Whose Football Is Faster: European or NFL Players?

fastest soccer player 40 yard dash

Watching Ronaldo streak across the pitch for Real Madrid, or Arjen Robben for Bayern Munich, you might have thought, “Man, he looks fast.” But, you might also ask, is he fast enough to beat an NFL player?

Fear not, we’ve done the work for you to compare player speeds and give you an answer. In this article, we will explore the fastest footballers in both European football and the NFL.

The NFL’s Fastest Players

(Note: Take these with a grain of salt, as most of these times were from a dead start, requiring the runner time to get up to full speed.)

  • Dri Archer, RB (2014) — 4.26 seconds or an average of 30.9 km/hr
  • Chris Johnson, RB (2008) — 4.24 seconds or an average of around 31.05 km/hr

The fastest-ever recorded time at the NFL Combine actually belongs to Bo Jackson, with a time of 4.12 seconds or an average of 31.95 km/hr. However, the lack of digital timekeeping during Jackson’s era raises some skepticism.

The World’s Fastest Footballers

  • Arjen Robben (2014) — top speed of 37 km/hr during the 2014 World Cup match between the Netherlands and Spain.
  • Theo Walcott (Arsenal) — top speed of 35.7 km/hr
  • Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) — top speed of 35.1 km/hr
  • Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) — top speed of 34.7 km/hr
  • Aaron Lennon (Tottenham) — top speed of 33.8 km/hr
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) — top speed of 33.6 km/hr
  • Lionel Messi (Barcelona) — top speed of 32.5 km/hr
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To put things into perspective, the fastest-ever recorded speed for a human being was when Usain Bolt ran the 100-meter dash in 9.58 seconds, reaching a top speed of 44.72 km/hr or 27.78 mph.

If we consider the data, there is evidence that the fastest European footballers may be faster than the fastest American football players.


While it’s difficult to determine who would win in a footrace between European footballers and NFL players, we can conclude that both groups possess incredible speed and athleticism. The nature of the sports and the different contexts in which speed is utilized make it challenging to compare directly. Nonetheless, the speed exhibited by footballers like Arjen Robben and Cristiano Ronaldo is truly remarkable.

At the end of the day, what matters most is how fast players can perform on the pitch or on the field, rather than just their straight-line speed. Football and American football are two distinct sports with different skillsets required for success. So, let’s appreciate the unique talents and abilities of these athletes, whether they are running past defenders on the football pitch or breaking tackles on the football field.


Q: Who is the fastest footballer in the world?
A: Arjen Robben holds the record for the fastest speed ever recorded by a footballer, reaching a top speed of 37 km/hr.

Q: Who is the fastest NFL player?
A: Dri Archer holds the record for the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, completing it in 4.26 seconds.

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Q: How does the speed of footballers compare to Usain Bolt’s speed?
A: Usain Bolt holds the record for the fastest-ever recorded speed by a human, reaching a top speed of 44.72 km/hr during the 100-meter dash.

For more football statistics and player analysis, visit Pesstatsdatabase.