Who Is Faster Ronaldo Or Messi?

Andrew Kovacs

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Who Is Faster Ronaldo Or Messi

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the world’s best soccer players. They have both won multiple awards, including FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or.

Messi has been with Barcelona for most of his career, while Ronaldo has played for Real Madrid and Manchester United over the years. They’re known for their explosive play on the field as well as their flashy fashion choices off it.

Be sure to check out some of their amazing goals and skills in upcoming matches.

Who is Faster Messi or Ronaldo?

Both Messi and Ronaldo are known for their speed, agility, and dribbling skills, but who has the edge when it comes to sprinting?

There are different ways to measure speed in football, such as top speed, acceleration, average speed, and speed with the ball. Depending on the method used, the results may vary.

However, based on the available data, we can try to answer the question of who is faster Messi or Ronaldo?

Top Speed

Top speed is the maximum velocity that a player can reach during a sprint. It is usually measured by tracking devices worn by the players or by cameras that capture their movements. Top speed can vary depending on factors such as fatigue, pitch conditions, weather, and distance covered.

According to FIFA, the official top speed recorded by Messi in his career is 32.5 km/h (20.1 mph), which he achieved during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. On the other hand, Ronaldo’s highest-ever measured top speed is 34 km/h (21.1 mph), which he reached during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

This means that Ronaldo is 1.5 km/h (0.9 mph) faster than Messi in terms of top speed. However, this does not necessarily mean that Ronaldo is always faster than Messi in every situation. Top speed is only one aspect of speed and does not reflect how often or long a player can sprint at that level.


Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity over time. It measures how quickly a player can increase or decrease their speed from a standing start or from a lower speed. Acceleration is important for footballers because it allows them to create space, beat defenders and react to changes in play.

Acceleration is harder to measure than top speed because it depends on the initial and final velocities and the time taken to reach them. However, some studies have attempted to compare the acceleration of Messi and Ronaldo using GPS data or video analysis.

One study by ESPN in 2014 found that Messi had a higher average acceleration than Ronaldo over 20 meters (21.9 yards), reaching a peak of 8.7 m/s^2 (28.5 ft/s^2) compared to Ronaldo’s 7.6 m/s^2 (24.9 ft/s^2).

Another study by Sport Science Lab in 2018 also concluded that Messi had a faster acceleration than Ronaldo with the ball, reaching a peak of 9 m/s^2 (29.5 ft/s^2) compared to Ronaldo’s 8 m/s^2 (26.2 ft/s^2).

This means that Messi can reach his top speed faster than Ronaldo, especially when he has the ball at his feet. Messi’s low center of gravity, quick feet and balance give him an advantage over Ronaldo when it comes to accelerating from a standstill or changing direction.

Average Speed

Average speed is the total distance covered divided by the total time taken. It measures how fast a player moves over a given period of time or over a certain distance. Average speed can indicate how consistent or efficient a player is at maintaining their speed throughout a match or a season.

Average speed is also influenced by factors such as position, role, tactics and style of play. For example, a winger may have a higher average speed than a central midfielder because they run more along the flanks and make more sprints.

A counter-attacking team may have a higher average speed than a possession-based team because they rely more on fast transitions.

According to Opta Sports, the average speed of Messi in La Liga in the 2020/21 season was 23 km/h (14.3 mph), while Ronaldo’s average speed in Serie A in the same season was 22 km/h (13.7 mph). This means that Messi had a slightly higher average speed than Ronaldo in their respective leagues.

However, this does not necessarily mean that Messi is always faster than Ronaldo in every match or every situation. Average speed is only an approximation and it does not account for variations in intensity, frequency and duration of sprints.

Speed with the Ball

Speed with the ball is the ability to control and manipulate the ball while running at high speeds. It is one of the most important skills for footballers because it allows them to create chances, score goals and avoid tackles.

The speed with the ball is difficult to quantify because it depends on factors such as technique, touch, vision, and decision-making. However, some metrics that can be used to compare players are dribbles completed, dribbles attempted, dribble success rate and dribble distance.

According to Opta Sports, Messi completed 144 dribbles out of 200 attempts in La Liga in the 2020/21 season, with a success rate of 72%. He also covered a total of 3,629 meters (3,965 yards) with the ball at his feet.

Ronaldo completed 63 dribbles out of 113 attempts in Serie A in the same season, with a success rate of 55.8%. He also covered a total of 1,847 meters (2,019 yards) with the ball at his feet.

This means that Messi had more than twice as many dribbles as Ronaldo and also covered almost twice as much distance with the ball. Messi also had a higher dribble success rate than Ronaldo, indicating that he was more effective and efficient at beating defenders and keeping possession.

Based on the available data, we can conclude that Ronaldo is faster than Messi in terms of top speed, but Messi is faster than Ronaldo in terms of acceleration and speed with the ball. They are both very close in terms of average speed.

Who is Better Messi or Ronaldo?

Determining whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is better is subjective and often a matter of personal opinion. Both players are exceptional and have their own unique qualities and strengths.

Here’s a breakdown of some aspects to consider when comparing them:


  • Lionel Messi is renowned for his exceptional dribbling, close ball control, balance, and playmaking abilities. He’s often described as a magician with the ball and is known for his ability to take on multiple defenders and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is known for his incredible athleticism, speed, strength, and goal-scoring prowess. He’s a prolific goal-scorer with a powerful shot, exceptional heading ability, and the versatility to play in various attacking positions.


  • Both Messi and Ronaldo have an impressive list of achievements. They’ve won multiple Ballon d’Or awards, which are given to the world’s best player each year.
  • Messi achieved most of his club success with Barcelona, winning numerous La Liga titles and UEFA Champions League titles during his time with the club.
  • Ronaldo has experienced success with several top clubs, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, winning league titles and Champions League trophies with each of them. He’s also excelled with the Portuguese national team.


  • Messi is often described as a quiet and humble individual, who tends to keep a low profile off the field. He’s known for his dedication to the game and his family-oriented lifestyle.
  • Ronaldo is seen as more flamboyant and confident, often displaying a strong work ethic and an intense desire to win. He’s also known for his philanthropic efforts and his dedication to fitness and training.

Top 10 Fastest Players in Football All Time

The world of football has witnessed the emergence of incredibly fast players over the years. Speed is a coveted attribute in the sport, as it can make the difference between a good player and a great one.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the top 10 fastest players in football, based on their recorded top speeds:

Arjen Robben (37 KM/H)

The Dutch winger Arjen Robben is known for his blistering pace and incredible dribbling skills. He has consistently been one of the fastest players in the game throughout his career.

Alphanso Davies (36.51 KM/H)

Alphanso Davies, a Canadian left-back who plays for Bayern Munich, has lightning-fast acceleration and top-end speed. He’s known for his ability to bomb down the wing and recover quickly on defense.

Kylian Mbappe (36.08 KM/H)

The young French superstar Kylian Mbappe is renowned for his speed and agility. He combines his pace with remarkable ball control, making him one of the most exciting players in the world.

Erling Haaland (36.04 KM/H)

Erling Haaland, the Norwegian striker, is not just a goal-scoring machine but also possesses impressive speed for a player of his stature. He can leave defenders trailing in his wake.

Antonio Valencia (35.1 KM/H)

The Ecuadorian winger-turned-full-back, Antonio Valencia, was a constant threat on the right flank during his prime. His incredible pace made him a vital asset for Manchester United.

Theo Walcott (35 KM/H)

Theo Walcott, an English forward, has been known for his speed since his early days at Arsenal. His ability to stretch defenses with his rapid sprints has been a key feature of his game.

Gareth Bale (34.7 KM/H)

Welshman Gareth Bale combines physical strength with exceptional speed. His ability to pick up the ball deep in his own half and sprint past opponents has been a trademark of his playing style.

Cristiano Ronaldo (33.6 KM/H)

Although not the fastest on this list, Cristiano Ronaldo compensates with incredible acceleration and a high top speed. He’s known for his athleticism and ability to burst past defenders.

Leo Messi (32.5 KM/H)

Lionel Messi may not be the fastest player, but his close control, balance, and dribbling skills are unmatched. He can change direction quickly and leave defenders in his dust.

Frank Ribery (30.7 KM/H)

The French winger Frank Ribery, known for his time at Bayern Munich, possessed good speed and agility, which allowed him to take on defenders with ease during his prime.

To Recap

The debate over whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo is the superior footballer remains a subjective and highly contested matter.

Both Messi and Ronaldo are extraordinary athletes, each possessing a unique set of skills and accomplishments that have left an indelible mark on the world of football.

While Messi is celebrated for his dribbling prowess, playmaking ability, and close ball control, Ronaldo’s athleticism, speed, and clinical finishing have set him apart.

The comparison ultimately hinges on personal preferences, playing styles, and individual biases. Football enthusiasts worldwide can appreciate the privilege of witnessing two of the greatest footballers of all time in action, regardless of personal allegiances.

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Andrew Kovacs

I am a Head Boys Soccer Coach at Amherst Regional Public Schools in Massachusetts. I have coached for the past five years and I am currently working on my master's degree in Exercise Science. I coach soccer because I love the game and I enjoy being around the kids. It is rewarding to see them develop their skills and grow as individuals. LinkedIn

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