How fast is Cristiano Ronaldo? When Man Utd star raced 100m champion in 2011 documentary

  • Kobe Tong
Ronaldo running at Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo is fast. Like, seriously fast.

One of the biggest reasons why the Manchester United superstar has ranked amongst the greatest sportspeople in history across his illustrious career has been his furious dedication the physical aspects of football.

Not only is Ronaldo remarkably strong and an expert at leaping for headers, but he also holds his own against top-class players years his junior when it comes to explosive sprints on a football pitch.

Ronaldo’s physical prowess

However, it’s one thing to be fast within the context of professional football and it’s another thing to be so incredibly rapid, period, that you can also hold your own against world-class sprinters.

And whether or not Ronaldo could achieve the latter, which so many fans believe he can if social media is to be believed, was investigated during the fascinating 2011 documentary: “Ronaldo: Tested to the Limit.”

From analysing his jumping ability to shooting strength, the experiments on Ronaldo during his Real Madrid prime remain gripping to watch with the sprinting challenge proving the finest test of them all.

Ronaldo does battle with 100 champion

That’s because it directly pitted Ronaldo against Angel David Rodríguez, who was the Spanish 100-metre champion at the time and competed in multiple Olympic Games, in a 25-metre race.

The pro sprinter was first in the blocks, putting on an absolute clinic for the analysts and infrared beam timing gates by romping his way to a time of 3.31 seconds with brilliantly efficient technique.

Solid, right? Absolutely, but Rodríguez himself said just moments later that he thought there was a chance that Ronaldo could actually beat his time.

However, when Ronaldo launched his own attempt across 25 metres, the difference between an athlete specialising in football and athletics quickly became apparent as he crossed the line in 3.61 seconds.

And while that might not sound like much of a difference, rest assured that it’s a considerable margin in sprinting and especially across a distance as fleeing as 25 metres.

However, it was still a valiant attempt from Ronaldo as he made up for what he lacked in sprinting technique with pure determination, so be sure to check out his ‘fastest man wins’ battle with Rodríguez down below:

Blistering stuff from Ronaldo, but you have to say that the difference is clear.

Ronaldo wins the zig-zag race

And that’s just where the two disciplines differ so much with Ronaldo proving the latest in a long line of speedy footballers to be prematurely and inaccurately heralded as quick as sprinters by supporters.

Having said that, there are ways in which ballers can indeed be faster than sprinters and that’s when you alter the state of play from straight-line running to the more slalom-like manoeuvring you see in football.

It’s a point that was perfectly illustrated in the documentary too with Rodríguez only clocking a time of 6.86 seconds over an alternate zig-zag course whereas Ronaldo took just 6.35 seconds to make it through.

Ronaldo in Real Madrid training.
Football Soccer – Real Madrid Training – Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England – 25/4/16 Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo during training Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

How fast could Ronaldo run 100m?

Plus, Rodríguez was by no means pessimistic about Ronaldo’s chances over 100 metres when he was asked about his sprinting experience with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner year after filming.

According to AS, the Spanish sprinter reflected in 2020: “He is fast and very good at lateral movements. He clearly trains a lot. I took three tenths from him, which is quite a lot. If it was 100 metres, he may be able to get 11.60.”

So, sure, Ronaldo can’t hold a candle to a professional sprinter, but don’t think for one second that his defeat means he’s anything short of rapid. What a machine.

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