How fast is Messi without the ball

Speed ​​in football or football as a series sprint sport!

The fastest footballers in the world

The 100m world record holder Usain Bolt ran an average of 37 km / h in his 100m world record.

The measurements by FIFA have shown that Arjen Robben reached a top speed of 37.0 km / h when he scored against Spain with the ball on his foot at the 2014 World Cup!

If you now consider that Robben achieved this performance on a lawn, with the ball at his foot and in the 80th minute (!!!), after already numerous sprints, the enormous requirement in the area of ​​speed becomes clear.

The 30-year-old Dutchman, who is under contract with Bayern Munich, is the fastest football player in the world with his record sprint in front of the goal to make it 5-1 in the World Cup game against Spain.

His opponent Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid came to 30.6 km / h in this sprint, which is also a top value, but no comparison to the incredible sprint value of Arjen Robben.

Here you can find Arjen Robben's record sprint in the video: »Video on YouTube

According to FIFA, Arjen Robben is the fastest footballer ever recorded. But other top sprinters in world football also show enormous values:

  • 1. Arjen Robben - 37.0 km / h
  • 2. Antonio Valencia - 35.1 km / h
  • 3. Gareth Bale - 34.7 km / h
  • 4. Aaron Lennon - 33.8 km / h
  • 5. Cristiano Ronaldo - 33.6 km / h
  • 6. Theo Walcott - 32.7 km / h
  • 7. Lionel Messi - 32.5 km / h
  • 8. Wayne Rooney - 31.2 km / h
  • 9. Franck Ribery - 30.7 km / h
  • 10. Sergio Ramos - 30.6 km / h
  • 11. Alexis Sanchez - 30.1 km / h

It is noticeable that these 11 players are among the absolute world class in football and strangely enough, they are not an unknown player. With such values, many experts often point out the great complexity of speed in football.

Good speed values ​​are a "must"

The fact is: Without sufficient speed values, a player no longer has a chance at the highest level today.

Often it is stated that Xavi and Iniesta are "slow", which is absolutely not true. Although the two do not have the top ratings of the players listed above, they are still in the required speed range. It should also be noted here that there is hardly any other player who has the same game intelligence as Xavi and Iniesta, who, as strategists on the field, determine the rhythm of a game.

The tendency in world football and in training is in any case moving towards perfect training of the players in all areas of the game. But one more thing to make it clear: Without the necessary basic values ​​in the area of ​​speed, no player has a chance today. That is why all the renowned and successful junior departments in the world are working intensively in this area!

Did you know that a football player has 1000-1400 short actions in a game, where speed is the most important factor?

Definition of speed

By definition, speed is the ability to reach a maximum speed of movement.

Speed ​​is the most genetically determined part of the conditional factors and depends to a large extent on the composition of the FT and ST fibers. The specialist literature says that the proportion of FT fibers in a footballer should be at least 55%. This is a very important variable in the area of ​​talent identification and must be taken into account in top-class sport - in the selection, but also in the selection of positions.

Components of speed

Speed ​​in football is complex and consists of several sub-components. The physically faster player is not always faster on the ball. However, physical speed is becoming more and more important. Since nowadays all players have worked at the highest level in the field of game intelligence for years, the scope to compensate for a lack of physical speed is limited!

In football, the required speed is a multi-dimensional, motor and cognitive factor that is much more complex than, for example, the components that a 100m runner needs. Only through the optimal interaction of several speed factors can a footballer meet the high speed requirements in the game.

For this reason, the following components / partial skills must be taken into account in speed training in football.


The time from the appearance of a stimulus to the response. Caution: In football, there are almost always optical and not acoustic stimuli. This means that during reaction training, mainly optical stimuli should be used to trigger a speed action.

Cyclical speed of action:

This type of speed is required for cyclical movements such as a sprint or tempo dribbling.

Acyclical speed of action:

With acyclic movements such as jumping to a header or throwing in.

Speed ​​endurance:

Endurance at speed describes the stamina during cyclical movements with high to highest intensity between 7 seconds and 2 minutes. In football, for example, this would be switching from one goal to the other in a full sprint at a corner kick.

Basic speed:

It is characterized by its ability to accelerate and is very important because it is largely genetically determined.

Speed ​​of action:

Is the ability to act as quickly and effectively as possible in football.

Anticipation speed:

Is the ability to anticipate situations and to be able to react quickly to changes.

Speed ​​of decision:

Is the ability to choose between different alternative courses of action at lightning speed - for example, a decision between a pass and a shot at goal.

Speed ​​of response:

Speed ​​is also of great importance for actions with and without the ball in today's football game. This is also shown by the sprint distances covered in the game, which range from 5m to a maximum of 20m on average. In a football game, short steps are primarily required, which is also shown in an evaluation by football coach Roland Reichel. Reichel worked as an association trainer at the Badischer Fußballverband and is now a junior manager at FC Ingolstadt.

  • A footballer completes between 40 and 100 appearances, depending on the position and league
  • Accelerations between 0-5m are performed twice as often as sprints between 5-10m
  • Sprints between 10 and 20m are completed 5 times as often as sprints over 20m

Based on these considerations, you should now also work with these distances and frequency in training for speed. In football, versatile speed training should also be used to avoid stereotypes and the associated stagnation.

Longer sprint distances

Longer sprint distances of 40m to 60m should also be taken into account, as the maximum speed is often only reached here. In addition, in modern football, more and more goals are initiated after quick counter-actions. But longer sprint distances are also necessary for certain tactical means, such as a high fore-checking. With high forechecking, there is often a long ball over the upright chain of 4, which means that it must be able to walk through spaces of up to 60m.

If, as a coach, I don't have any players with this speed in my ranks, I probably have to consider how much sense it makes a lot of pressing. This approach makes the tactical component of speed clear.

The basis for a football-specific training methodology must also have a high focus on multidirectional sprint running behavior over the above-mentioned football-typical distances. A footballer rarely sprints straight ahead. Most of the time, the player has to work with changes of direction and so-called “stop-and-go” movements, which should also be taken into account in speed training close to the game.

The forms of exercise based on the speed training should be kept close to the game, i.e. primarily with short steps with high acyclic proportions. By specifying the size of the playing field and the number of players, the focus can be adjusted to the various speed factors. In addition, the playground equipment should be involved as often as possible and speed training should take place in competition. This creates a closeness to the real game situation.

Running coordination, agility, cognition, making decisions

An important part of isolated forms is the training of running coordination, which is ideal for training running technique. This not only makes the players demonstrably faster, but also saves energy for the many explosive actions they have during a game thanks to improved running economy.

Another important term in speed training in football is agility, in which, unlike when changing direction, the player does not know in advance which movement to make in which direction. This scenario occurs in the game, e.g. when defending in a 1 vs 1 situation.

The cognitive area must also be addressed in good speed training in football. Thinking fast and running fast are the requirements in today's football.

It is also important to train the speed of decision-making. That is why one should often work with selection reactions in football, in which the players have to independently choose the best possible decision.

Strength training

When it comes to speed, strength training, which is often seen as a “taboo subject” in football, plays a decisive role. Even if many do not want to admit it, strength is the basis of every kind of performance! In pure athletic training in football, everything in the areas of speed and strength should revolve around the following question:

How do you optimize the following formula? F (force) = m (mass) x a (acceleration)

Strength is the cause of movement (acceleration) and posture. The physical formula is also valid for biological systems, such as a soccer player: Applied to the soccer game, this means that the greater the (muscle) strength, the higher the acceleration (i.e. the increase in speed over time) of a mass (body mass of the player = > Building lean and functionally explosive muscles!).

In addition, there is a significant and proven relationship between the 1-rep maximum and the acceleration, visible in the improved speed values.

Squads 90 degrees: PLUS 21.8kg to body weight. This results in significantly increased speed values ​​for a player!

All world-class players like world star Cristiano Ronaldo train intensively in the strength area, as this area is an extremely important basis for performing in modern football.

In one of our next blog posts we will deal specifically with the topic of strength training, by then you may already be able to take a look at your 20 favorite players in the world. You will notice that these are already visually different from the other professional players and that they have perfect muscles depending on their position and their style of play.