For well over a decade, Cristiano Ronaldo has been considered one of the fastest players in the world. With a new generation of superstars emerging, though, many fans now point to Kylian Mbappé as the fastest player on the planet. But who is faster, Ronaldo or Mbappé?
Kylian Mbappé is faster than Cristiano Ronaldo. Mbappé's highest ever measured top speed is 23.6 mph (38 km/h). Ronaldo's highest ever measured top speed is 21.1 mph (34 km/h). This means that Mbappé is 2.5 mph (4 km/h) faster than Ronaldo.
Now that we know that Mbappé has a higher recorded speed than Ronaldo, let's find out who is faster with the ball and what makes Mbappé faster.
When looking at all of the stats, there's no denying that Mbappé is faster than Ronaldo. For many years, Ronaldo was always ranked among the fastest players in the world.
He even recorded the joint highest speed in the 2018 World Cup, alongside Croatia's Ante Rebic.
In 2019 though, Mbappé went on to smash Ronaldo's record in a Ligue 1 game against Monaco.
In a game that helped PSG lift the French title, Mbappé went on a 50-meter sprint where he would get to score a goal at the end of a pass.
During this impressive sprint, he set his fastest speed to date.
During that 50m sprint, Mbappé reached a top speed of 23.6 mph (38 km/h).
Not only did this smash Ronaldo's highest ever speed, but it also topped the fastest Premier League player at that time - Leroy Sane.
Sane's top speed was 22.05 mph (35.5 km/h); Mbappé beat this by 1.55 mph (2.5km/h).
Even more impressive is that Mbappé's top speed was higher than Usain Bolt's average speed when he broke the 100m world record in 2009!
It's worth noting that Usain Bolt's average speed was taken over a longer length than what Mbappé ran.
Usain Bolt's average speed was taken during a 100m sprint, whereas Mbappé's top speed was during a 50m sprint.
Usain Bolt's top recorded speed is a hugely impressive 27.78 mph (44.72 km/h). Mbappé still has a lot of work to do to catch that!
(Click here to find out exactly how fast Mbappe is)
During the 2018 World Cup, Ronaldo would record his highest ever speed. In a game against Spain, Ronaldo reached a top speed of 21.1 mph (34 km/h).
Although this is 2.5 mph (4 km/h) slower than Mbappé, it's worth pointing out that Ronaldo was 34-years-old at the time.
It is well known that most soccer players begin to slow down after reaching the age of 30. It appeared to be the opposite for Ronaldo during the 2018 World Cup!
Along with Ante Rebic, he became the fastest player in the tournament.
Below is the official FIFA World Cup list of the fastest players in 2018:
|1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)||21.1 mph (34km/h)|
|Ante Rebic (Croatia)||21.1 mph (34km/h)|
|3. Luis Advincula (Peru)||21 mph (33.8km/h)|
|4. Santiago Arias (Colombia)||20.87 mph (33.6km/h)|
|5. Kyle Walker (England)||20.81 mph (33.5km/h)|
|Jesse Lingard (England)||20.81 mph (33.5km/h)|
|7. Maciej Rybus (Poland)||20.6 mph (33.3km/h)|
|Marquinhos (Brazil)||20.6 mph (33.3km/h)|
|Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)||20.6 mph (33.3km/h)|
|Dani Carvajal (Spain)||20.6 mph (33.3km/h)|
|Hirving Lozano (Mexico)||20.6 mph (33.3km/h)|
|Heechan Hwang (South Korea)||20.6 mph (33.3km/h)|
Kylian Mbappé actually failed to make this list at the time.
For those who are wondering how fast Mbappé ran during this World Cup, the young Frenchman hit a top speed of just 20.13 mph (32.4 km/h).
As you can see from all the data, Kylian Mbappé now runs faster than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mbappé's top speed of 23.6 mph (38 km/h) from 2019 is 2.5 mph (4 km/h) faster than Ronaldo's top speed of 21.1 mph (34 km/h) from 2018.
So now we know Mbappé would likely beat Ronaldo in a straight-up race. But is he faster than Ronaldo with the ball at his feet?
The answer is yes.
Ronaldo is one of the best dribblers of the ball ever. However, he is far from the fastest and is not as fast as Mbappé.
Ronaldo's highest speed with the ball was recorded as part of a 2017 study.
This study decided that Ronaldo was the 7th fastest player in the world with the ball at that time.
His highest speed was 20.87mph (33.6 km/h).
Below are the top 10 fastest players with the ball, taken from a 2017 study:
|Player:||Top Speed (with ball):|
|1. Gareth Bale||22.92 mph (36.90 km/h)|
|2. Orlando Berrío||22.36 mph (36.00 km/h)|
|3. Jürgen Damm||21.89 mph (35.23 km/h)|
|4. Antonio Valencia||21.81 mph (35.10 km/h)|
|5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||21.49 mph (34.60 km/h)|
|6. Aaron Lennon||21.00 mph (33.80 km/h)|
|7. Cristiano Ronaldo||20.87 mph (33.60 km/h)|
|8. Theo Walcott||20.31 mph (32.70 km/h)|
|9. Lionel Messi||20.19 mph (32.50 km/h)|
|10. Wayne Rooney||19.38 mph (31.20 km/h)|
Of course, Mbappé is not featured in this list. This is because he was only 18-years-old at the time and only just beginning to break through.
Mbappé's top speed with the ball is 22.41 mph (36.08 km/h).
Not only is this faster than Ronaldo's top speed back in 2017, but it is also faster than Ronaldo's top overall speed from the 2018 World Cup.
Mbappé with the ball is 1.54 mph (2.48 km/h) faster than Ronaldo is with the ball. Mbappé with the ball is also 1.31 mph (2.08 km/h) faster than Ronaldo's overall top speed.
So now we know that Kylian Mbappé is undeniably faster than Cristiano Ronaldo. But is there a particular reason why?
The most obvious explanation is, of course, the age difference.
At the time of Ronaldo's fastest speed, he was 34-years-old. Mbappé, on the other hand, was only 20-years-old when he recorded his top speed.
Although Ronaldo is unlike any other player with the way he's gotten better with age, he's no miracle worker.
Ronaldo treats his body like a temple, though it's unfair to expect him to keep up with one of the fastest young players in soccer.
Both players' body types may also play a part in their speeds.
Ronaldo and Mbappé are both in incredible shape. Both men have a body type that resembles that of a professional runner.
Ronaldo arguably has the body type which is closest to a runner. In fact, he's at a similar height and weight to Usain Bolt.
Bolt is 6ft 5in, while Ronaldo is only 3 inches shorter at 6ft 2in. Mbappé, on the other hand, is a fair bit shorter at 5ft 10in.
Although this would probably give Ronaldo the advantage over slightly longer distances, Mbappé's lower center of gravity will undoubtedly give him an acceleration advantage.
When all is said and done, though, the 14-year age gap between the two players is almost definitely the deciding factor for why Mbappé is quicker than Ronaldo.
Knowing that the age gap separates these two superstars, it's reasonable to ask whether Ronaldo was faster than Mbappé when he was in his prime.
This one isn't an exact science.
As we've already touched on, Ronaldo is a rare case where he appears to get better with age.
Even if that's an over-exaggeration, there's no denying that Ronaldo's fitness levels lasted longer than most of his peers.
The general accepted prime years for a soccer player are between the ages of about 25 and 30.
However, Ronaldo's top speed was recorded when he was 34-years-old!
Given that Mbappé surpassed that speed when he was 20-years-old, it stands to reason that prime Mbappé would still be faster than prime Ronaldo.
In conclusion, there's absolutely no doubt that Kylian Mbappé is faster than Cristiano Ronaldo.
With and without the ball, every stat shows that Mbappé can reach a higher top speed than Ronaldo.
This may well be down to Mbappé's younger age. However, Ronaldo was past what many would call his prime when he recorded his top speed, so that argument may not hold up.
With Mbappé already topping speed charts at only 23-years-old, it's scary to think how fast the Frenchman might be in the future.