Soccer has felt like it is passing into a new generation for a while now. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are no longer considered the two best players in the world. Many people believe that the discussion has changed to Kylian Mbappé vs. Erling Haaland. But who is faster, Mbappe or Haaland?
Kylian Mbappé is faster than Erling Haaland. Mbappé's highest ever measured top speed is 23.6 mph (38 km/h). Haaland's highest ever measured top speed is 22.39 mph (36.04 km/h). This means Mbappé is 1.24 mph (1.96 km/h) faster than Haaland.
Now that we know Mbappé has a higher recorded speed than Haaland, let's find out who is faster with the ball and what makes Mbappé faster.
Although it's very close, the stats prove that Mbappé is faster than Haaland. Mbappé is often talked about as one of the fastest soccer players in the world.
Haaland may not be as fast but deserves to be in the same conversation.
In fact, Haaland recorded the highest sprint time of any player in the 2020/21 Bundesliga season. His 22.39 mph (36.04 km/h) sprint across the field during a game against Stuttgart is a tough one to beat.
Unfortunately for Haaland, Mbappé has since broken this record.
In a 2019 game against Monaco, Mbappé went on a 50-meter sprint where he recorded his highest speed to date. He reached a speed that surpassed Haaland's incredibly fast record.
During that 50m sprint, Mbappé reached a top speed of 23.6 mph (38 km/h).
Not only did this beat Haaland's highest ever speed, but it also made Mbappé the fastest player in the Ligue 1 that season.
Impressively, 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).
You may also be shocked to discover that Mbappé's top speed was higher than Usain Bolt's average speed when he broke the 100-meter world record in 2009!
It's worth noting, however, that Usain Bolt's average speed was taken over a longer distance than what Mbappé ran.
Bolt's average speed was taken during a 100m sprint, whereas Mbappé's top speed was during a 50m sprint.
In case you're wondering, Usain Bolt's highest ever speed is a record-breaking 27.78 mph (44.72 km/h).
Mbappé is, of course, a long way off that, but to even be compared to an Olympic gold medalist shows how fast he is.
(Click here to find out exactly how fast Mbappe is)
Mbappé isn't the only player looking to match records with professional runners.
During a Champions League game in February 2020 against Mbappé's PSG team, Haaland nearly broke a world record of his own!
After defending a corner kick, Haaland sprinted for nearly the entire length of the pitch at a blistering pace.
As his teammates made their way up the pitch with the ball, Haaland sprinted with all his might to make himself available for a killer pass.
Shortly after, it was revealed that Haaland had covered 60 meters in 6.64 seconds. This works out at an average speed of 20.21 mph (32.5 km/h).
His official time of 6.64 seconds isn't far away from the 60-meter sprint record.
Professional sprinter - Christian Coleman holds the world record. That record stands at 6.34 seconds, only 0.3 seconds quicker than Erling Haaland managed that night.
What's even more incredible is that this wasn't even Haaland's fastest ever speed.
During a shorter sprint in a game against Stuttgart, Haaland recorded his highest ever record speed of 22.39mph (36.04 km/h).
(Click here to find out exactly how fast Haaland is)
The figures speak for themselves.
Although both men are lightning-fast, with records close to professional sprinters, Mbappé is still faster than Haaland.
Mbappé's record speed of 23.6 mph (38 km/h) is 1.24 mph (1.96 km/h) faster than Haaland's record of 22.39mph (36.04 km/h).
So now we know that Mbappé just about beats Haaland for outright speed. Is Mbappé faster than Haaland with the ball, though?
The answer is yes.
Although there aren't any official stats to confirm Haaland's top speed with the ball at his feet, we do know that Mbappé's top speed with the ball is 22.41 mph (36.08 km/h).
This is technically 0.02 mph (0.03 km/h) faster than Haaland's overall top speed.
Given that a soccer player will always be quicker without the ball at their feet, we can safely work out that Mbappé is faster with the ball than Haaland.
That doesn't mean Haaland isn't a fast dribbler of the ball.
If you watch how Haaland moves when he's on the ball, you can easily see how quickly he still moves. He appears to be freakishly fast with the ball for a player of his size.
With all that being said, it's almost impossible that he will have ever topped his own overall speed with the ball at his feet.
Even with the naked eye, it's clear that Haaland runs faster without the ball. Therefore, Mbappé is faster in this category too.
So we now know that Mbappé is faster than Haaland, but why is this?
Firstly, the two superstars are very close in terms of their age. Mbappé was born in December 1998, while Haaland was born in July 2000.
It's safe to say that age doesn't really play a part here.
The fact both men were 20-years-old at the time of their highest speeds also proves there's no advantage either way.
In that case, we need to look at both players' body types. Haaland is a much bigger player than Mbappé.
Sometimes, being bigger can actually be an advantage when it comes to speed. Just look at Ronaldo and Messi, for example.
The taller and leaner Ronaldo is faster than the shorter and stockier Messi.
However, with Haaland and Mbappé, it's slightly different. Haaland is even taller and heavier than a player like Ronaldo.
Standing at 6ft 4in and weighing in at 194lbs, Haaland is a giant of a man.
His body type resembles a basketball player more than a soccer player. It's understandable then that he may move slightly slower than the smaller Mbappé.
Kylian Mbappé is much shorter at 5ft 10in and weighing only 160lbs. This means Mbappé has less weight to move around than the bigger and stronger Haaland.
The size of Haaland also affects the way he runs. Many people make jokes about how funny Haaland looks when he runs, but there's a reason he does this.
If you watch Haaland run, you'll notice that he appears to duck his head down.
The reason he's doing this is to reduce his height, therefore giving himself a lower center of gravity and quicker acceleration.
This unique running style makes the Norwegian run much faster as a result.
The massive amount of power Haaland has in his legs may also be a reason why he runs so fast.
Sadly for Haaland, though, he still doesn't match up to the speed of Mbappé.
Mbappé's naturally athletic build means he's able to run in a style much closer to a classic runner.
With the Frenchman also being on the shorter side, he has a natural lower center of gravity, to begin with. Something Haaland needs to find a solution for.
However, it's worth pointing out that Haaland is obviously able to take much larger strides than the shorter Mbappé. Though, it hasn't benefited him yet.
Although Mbappé holds the highest speed between the pair right now, let's not rule out that changing one day soon. Especially given how young both men are.
It's also possible that Haaland gets even faster as he finds new ways to use his size and power to his advantage.
To summarize, Kylian Mbappé has a faster top speed than Erling Haaland.
Mbappé's speed with the ball is also slightly faster than Haaland's overall speed, meaning Mbappé is also the faster dribbler of the two.
Having a more natural center of gravity and less weight to carry is likely why Mbappé is faster than Haaland.
The top speed both these young players can reach is incredible. The future of soccer is definitely in good hands with these two superstars.