In the world of professional football, the UEFA Champions League is seen as the pinnacle of the sport, with the final being the greatest spectacle the game has to offer.
It brings together the best clubs (and players) from across Europe, and the latest edition is shaping up to be one of the best yet.
One of the defining player traits of Champions League brilliance comes in the form of pace. Speedy players from Europe’s elite leagues come together in this competition, in an explosive smorgasbord of electrifying pace.
In this blog post, we will look at the 5 fastest players in the Champions League in 2023, and how their breathtaking pace benefits both them and their respective teams.
5. Gabriel Veron - Porto (36.4 km/h)
Gabriel Veron, the Brazilian winger plying his trade at Porto, kicks off our list with an impressive top speed of 36.4 km/h. Veron’s acceleration and ability to reach high speeds quickly have made him a constant threat on the flanks for Porto.
A chalk-on-the-boots winger, Veron exploded onto the scene in his debut season, adding a thrilling dynamic to Porto’s Champions League group stage success, and their run to the Last 16.
4. Rafael Leão - AC Milan (36.5 km/h)
AC Milan’s explosive winger Rafael Leão has long been one of the most coveted wide men in Europe, and with a top speed of 36.5 km/h to add to his tally of 47 strikes for AC, he continues to be a powerful weapon in their attack.
What makes Leão so deadly is the fact that he combines his blistering pace with excellent dribbling technique, and top finishing as well. His ability to stretch defences wide provides space for his teammates and forces opponents to make unprecedented mistakes.
3. Ousmane Dembele - Barcelona (36.6 km/h)
Once one of the top prospects in world football, Ousmane Dembélé’s career has been stop-start as a result of injury, but on his day the Barcelona forward remains one of the most formidable speed demons in the modern game.
With a top speed of 36.6 km/h, the French winger’s rapid sprints down the wings have been a trademark of his playing style.
Unfortunately, Barca seem to be struggling in Europe right now, and manager Xavi will be hoping he can be deployed more effectively.
2. Mykhailo Mudryk - Chelsea (36.66 km/h)
Mudryk was one of Europe’s most feared wide players during his spell at Shakhtar, and recorded one of the highest speeds ever in the Champions League, with 36.66 km/h.
Unfortunately, his move to Chelsea has failed to yield the same kind of success, and though his pace is still a potent weapon, the Ukrainian is clearly short on confidence and support.
1. Alphonso Davies - Bayern Munich (37.1 km/h)
Making the grade in another of our lists, Bayern pace merchant Davies is a force to be reckoned with for opposition players.
The Canadian has claimed the crown as the fastest player in the Champions League for 2023, with a jaw-dropping top speed of 37.1 km/h.
Davies’ ability to cover ground rapidly in both defensive and offensive phases of the game makes him an invaluable asset for Bayern Munich.
His speed not only terrifies opposing defenders but also allows him to recover defensively, making him a key part of the club’s Champions League campaign.
In the Pantheon of Fastest Ever Footballers
While these players may not surpass the absolute fastest recorded speeds in the history of football, their performances place them among the elite in the modern era. The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mohamed Salah have set speeds in the competition, but the current crop of Champions League speedsters is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Benefits of Speed in the Champions League
Speed not only terrifies defenders but also provides the ability to break away from markers and cover large distances quickly, complementing both offensive and defensive situations. In the Champions League, the flair and creativity of the continent is combined with the fast-paced and counter-attacking approaches of more pragmatic leagues, and this provides the ideal blend for fast players to thrive.
In conclusion, the Champions League in 2023 has played host to a spectacular array of speedsters, with Alphonso Davies leading the pack. As the tournament progresses, these players will continue to leave their mark on the tournament, and it’s possible we could see someone beat Davies’ record before the competition is over.