There are few greater sights in football than seeing a player cannon a ball into the back of the net with ferocious power. Players with thunderous strikes, if twinned with at least a degree of accuracy, can be some of the most feared in the game. Many tend to be set piece specialists, delighting in the opportunity to put full force behind a shot from a deal ball situation and 'testing the goalkeepers fingertips', so to speak.
The players on this list had/have incredible power. When these players shoot, defenders and goalkeepers have two options; either get very hurt, or let the ball sail past you and cross your fingers that it doesn't find the back of the net. Somewhat surprisingly, it is often defenders who have some of the most powerful strikes in the game, and this list features no fewer than seven defenders.
In the modern era we have been able to measure the speed of shots, making it much easier to know who does in fact have the most powerful shot in the game. In years gone by, we have to rely often on grainy back and white footage and tails from our forefathers. The list is ranked by the power in which the player was capable of, the regularity in which they exhibited that power and their ability to also find the target.
In 1994 BBC Record Breakers recorded a Nicky Summerbee shot at 84 mph, which they believed to be the hardest ever. Unfortunately, the shot was not made in a competitive fixture, excluding it from the official rankings. Had the shot been made in an official fixture it would be the eighth hardest in the history of English football. Summerbee, who had a 17-year career, spent most of his playing days with Swindon Town, Manchester City and Sunderland as a midfielder. He played for England U-21s and England B Team but never won a full cap for his country despite his cannon of a shot.
Here are the top 25 soccer players with the hardest shots:
25 Cristiano Ronaldo
24 Pavel Nedved
With a name like 'Hulk', you'd best have some power about you, and Brazilian forward/winger Hulk most certainly does. Not only is the Zenit Saint Petersburg man built like a mountain, he also has one of the fiercest strikes of any active player within the game. Having made his name with Porto, Hulk joined Zenit in 2012, and has won 45 caps for Brazil.
22 David Luiz
PSG defender David Luiz holds the record for the highest transfer fee ever set by a defender, when he moved from Chelsea to PSG in 2014. Luiz was regarded as something of a liability in England, but when deployed alongside Thiago Silva for either PSG or Brazil, Luiz has looked far more assured. L
21 Ritchie Humphreys
20 Michael Tarnat
19 Paul Scholes
"Paul Scholes, he scores goals," used to ring out from the stands at Old Trafford and whileit may have been partly inspired by the rather handy rhyme, in his early years especially, Scholes was rather prolific from midfield. In his finest goal scoring season, 2002-03, Scholes scored a mightily impressive 20, and over his entire career, Scholes scored 169.
18 Tony Yeboah
17 Alan Shearer
Another player of the Premier League era and arguably the greatest player of the PL era. Certainly, in terms of goals, no one comes close to Alan Shearer. With 260 Premier League goals, Shearer is 73 goals clear of his joint nearest rivals in the form of Andy Cole and Wayne Rooney. Shearer scored all kinds of goals, he was tremendous in the air, powerful, capable of sniffing out chances and taking goals first time.
15 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
14 Jorg Albertz
13 Peter Lorimer
A Portuguese legend and without doubt one of the greatest footballers of all time, the great Eusebio was physically incredible. Known for his tremendous athleticism, Eusebio kept himself incredibly fit and strong, and his greatest strength was in his legs, where Eusebio possessed one of the fiercest shots in the world.
11 John Arne Riise
Norwegian full-back John Arne Riise played for the likes of Monaco, Liverpool and Roma in a 19-year career which in now coming to a close with Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League. Without doubt Riise played his best games during his seven years at Liverpool, where he won the Champions League in 2005.
10 Ronald Koeman
8 David Hirst
7 David Trezeguet
Legendary France striker David Trezeguet was one of the best forwards of his generation, with his best days coming at Juventus. Trezeguet won the World Cup, European Championship, Ligue 1, Serie A and numerous other trophies, with the Champions League being his only notable failure, being a losing finalist in 2002-03.
6 Ferenc Puskas
5 David Beckham
The most recognizable and marketable footballer of all-time, on the pitch, David Beckham was perhaps best remembered for his iconic free-kicks. One of the finest strikers of a dead ball the game has ever seen, Becks scored a total of 146 goals for club & country, 65 of them free kicks.
Former Santos, PSV, Chelsea and PSG defender Alex was nicknamed 'the Tank' due to his physical strength and thunderous shots. The Brazilian central defender has had a highly successful career, winning league titles in four different countries, and currently plays in the Serie A for AC Milan.
3 Lee Wai Tong
Chinese superstar Lee Wai Tong is a player who we sadly have to rely largely on hearsay with regards to his shot power. Tong played football in the 1920s, 30s and 40s and is widely regarded as China's greatest ever footballer and one of the best to originate from Asia. Legend has it, many goalkeepers would rather concede a goal than try and get in the way of one of Tong's shots.
2 Ronny Heberson
1 Roberto Carlos
Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos is well-worth top spot on this list, such was the prevalence and accuracy of his long-range scorching efforts. Carlos was renowned for his venomous strikes from distance, both in open play and from set pieces. Now aged 42, Carlos is currently working as a player/manager for Indian Super League side Delhi Dynamos, but Carlos' best years came with Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Carlos had remarkable power in his legs, with the stamina of his running, strength in the challenge and most notably the power in his shooting.
Roberto Carlos scored 102 goals in 820 games at club level and 11 goals in 125 caps for Brazil, in a career in which he won four La Liga titles, the Champions League three times, the World Cup and 19 other trophies. He was the FIFA World Player of the Year runner-up in 1997 and the Ballon d'Or runner-up in 2002. His most famous goal was probably his 1997 Confederations Cup free-kick against France, which travelled at 85.2 mph.
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