There are many ways a footballer can score a goal: through headers, lobs, curlers, you just name them. However, one technique that many really admire is when a player is able to score long rangers – with power and fierce shots.
Talking about shots, there are some players who have gained notoriety for their impeccable shooting abilities. Former Brazil international Roberto Carlos is fondly remembered for his goal against France in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where he struck the ball with pace, power and precision.
In recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo has also built quite a reputation for himself as a player who strikes the ball very well with both feet. But how fast or hard do you think Carlos or Ronaldo can strike a ball, especially when measured in kilometres per hour (km/h)?
To give you some perspective, though, both Ronaldo and Carlos are way off the mark when it comes to the fastest shots recorded in football history, despite their evidently impeccable shooting abilities. You must then be wondering which players top this list, right?
So, let’s take a look at the top 10 fastest shots in football history:
#10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 150 km/h
It looks like there is nothing in football that is beyond Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And in terms of taking shots, too, he has plenty of it in his locker. The former Sweden international has achieved almost everything in the game, except for winning the World Cup, UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.
On a personal level, though, he boasts quite a resumé, which includes playing for some of Europe’s elite clubs, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Manchester United. While playing for PSG, Ibrahimovic recorded one of the fastest shots in football history against Anderlecht.
In a Champions League game against the Belgian giants, Zlatan scored a goal from a fierce shot which was measured at 150 km/h. The pace of the ball was so blistering that the goalkeeper could barely do anything about it.
#9 David Trezeguet– 154 km/h
Many people remember David Trezeguet for his exploits with Juventus and the France national team. However, the Frenchman is also very much remembered for his hard hitting shots, especially the one he hit against Manchester United in the 1998 season.
Then playing for AS Monaco, a young Trezeguet netted from a pacey shot against the Red Devils, leaving goalkeeper Raimond Van der Gouw with no chance at all. The ex-France international hit his shot at an incredible speed of 154 km/h.
To put that in perspective, some of the fastest trains in the world run at a speed of between 120 km/h and 140 km/h. But despite how fast Trezeguet’s shot was, it only puts him in 9th position among the fastest shots recorded in football history.
#8 Tony Yeboah – 154 km/h
When we talk about Africans with great shooting ability, it is easy to look the way of Tony Yeboah. The Ghanaian striker made his name in the Bundesliga before joining Leeds United, where he became known for scoring spectacular goals.
Yeboah’s goals were indeed very special, as he mastered the art of scoring golazos with both his right and left feet. In a game against Wimbledon in the 1995/96 season, the former Ghana international scored with a rifling shot from his right foot.
The shot flew straight into the net and was measured at 154 km/h. It was a brilliant goal by all standards and it didn’t come as a surprise at all that Yeboah’s strike against Wimbledon ended up as Goal of the Month.
#7 Ritchie Humphreys – 154 km/h
Fault yourself not if you do not know who Ritchie Humphreys is. The 41-year-old had a very quiet career, playing for teams in the Premier League, Championship and in the other lower tiers of English football.
But if for nothing at all, Humphreys’ wonder goal against Aston Villa in 1996 makes him a visible personality on the internet. You can’t search for the fastest goals scored in football history without spotting his name somewhere.
Humphreys scored for Sheffield Wednesday with a net-busting shot at an incredible speed of 154 km/h. The former England U21 star is a joint holder of this record, alongside Tony Yeboah and David Trezeguet, who also scored goals from shots which travelled at 154 km/h.
#6 David Beckham – 158 km/h
David Beckham’s career was built of his uniqueness when it comes to dead balls. The former England and Manchester United star scored quite a number of goals from set pieces, often curling the call beyond the reach of goalkeepers.
Beckham wasn’t just about the free-kicks, though. Technically, he was very gifted and could also shoot from long range. In the 1996/97 season, Chelsea found out just how good the winger’s shooting ability is when the Blues visited Old Trafford.
Beckham hit a fierce effort that reached 158 km/h on its way to the goal. ‘Bend it like Beckham’ became a thing but, perhaps, ‘shoot it like Beckham’ could not have been far off, too, considering how many goals he scored from shots.
#5 David Hirst – 183 km/h
Former England international David Hirst comes in 5th place on the list of players to have hit the fastest shots in football history. Unlike the others above, Hirst’s great shot did not end up at the back of the net, as it rather hit the crossbar.
Then playing for Sheffield Wednesday, he hit the shot at a pace of 183 km/h in the 1995/96 Premier League season. It is fair to say that it was best for the ball to have hit the crossbar, rather than the goalkeeper saving it.
This is because, for a shot hit with such a speed, the goalkeeper could have broken a few bones on the fingers had his hand come in the way of the ball.
#4 Ronald Koeman – 188 km/h
So far the only centre-back among the lot, Ronald Koeman’s exploits as a footballer are well documented for all to see. Although he is currently seen on the touchlines, he used to be a huge fan favorite during his playing days with Ajax and Barcelona.
Koeman, although a defender, was known for scoring goals and ended his career with over 200 goals to his name. Such is his love for scoring that many of his goals were headers and thunderbolts.
In the 1992 season, the Dutchman netted with aplomb for Barcelona during their Champions Cup final game against Sampdoria. Koeman’s bullet of a shot flew into the net with a speed of 188 km/h.
#3 Steven Reid – 189 km/h
189 km/h! Incredible as it sounds, that was the measured speed with which Steven Reid’s shot flew into the net against Wigan Athletic. Then playing for Blackburn Rovers, the right-back scored one of the most iconic goals in the Premier League.
It was a strike that got fans talking for weeks, with some even joking that, had the shot touched the Wigan goalkeeper, it could have sent him into a coma. Nowadays, Reid has taken to coaching, where he is part of the backroom staff of the Scotland national team.
However, there was a time when he was blazing the Premier League, and he currently sits as the player with the third fastest shot in football history.
#2 Arjen Robben – 190 km/h
Arjen Robben himself would be the first to admit that his time at Real Madrid was not the best. The Dutchman definitely enjoyed better success at Chelsea and Bayern Munich than he did at the Bernabeu.
The flying winger recently retired from football, having won it all at club level. And his goal against Borussia Dortmund in one friendly game puts him second on the list of players to have hit the fastest shots in football history.
Robben hit his shot so fiercely that it left the Dortmund goalie rooted to his post, as the ball flew straight into the back of the net. The Dutchman is fondly remembered for his sweet curlers from his left foot, but this shot against Dortmund, measured at 190 km/h, was truly special.
#1 Ronny Heberson – 210 km/h
Ronny Heberson may never have had the opportunity to play for the Brazil national team, but he has certainly made his mark playing in his country and in Europe. The 33-year-old started his career at Corinthians and went on to play for Hertha Berlin and Sporting Lisbon.
And it was at the latter that he set the record for the fastest shot ever recorded in football history. In a league game against Associacao Naval de Maio, the defender scored from a shot at an incredible speed of 211 km/h.
It is a record that may never be broken, considering the fact that the ball flew into the net at a faster pace than the fastest train in the world.