Heading a football is an art in itself, and whilst height can play a major role, there is more to it than that, with the ability to leap almost as important.
The techniques and the methods to measure jumps did not previously exist, so it is only comparatively recently that this type of data has been collected.
When it comes to the records for the highest jump in football history, one player dominates the list and that is Cristiano Ronaldo, who can jump as high as an average NBA player.
He also has the ability to hang in the air, meaning that he can not only out-jump most opponents, but also remain in the air for longer.
In his career, he has scored more than 150 goals with his head for club and country – more than any other player in history.
Even at the age of 38, he still has the physique of players half his age.
It is no accident that he has scored so many goals of this type. He has spent many hours on the training ground honing his technique and timing, so that he is able to replicate that in a match situation.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid v Manchester United 2013
The highest ever recorded leap was by Ronaldo himself playing for Real Madrid against Manchester United (the club he had left to join the Spanish champions).
Playing in the first leg of a round of 16 Champions League match, he rose to meet a left wing cross, towering over Patrice Evra who was attempting to mark him, and he guided his header into the net.
His leap was subsequently measured at 2.93 meters.
2. Youssef En-Nesyri, Morocco v Portugal 2022
Youssef En-Nesyri’s jump vs Portugal was 2.78 meters high. TWO POINT SEVEN EIGHT.
for context, *that* Ronaldo header v Sampdoria was 2.55 meters 🤯 pic.twitter.com/omMr3m4jsf
— Karim ⛱ (@Futball_Karim) December 10, 2022
Ironically it was Ronaldo’s Portugal side who were on the wrong end of the second entry in the list, as Morocco beat them in the Qatar World Cup to become the first African and Arab side to reach a World Cup semi-final.
En-Nesyri leaped above the Portuguese defence, including goalkeeper Diogo Costa, reaching the ball and heading it downwards into the net. He set a new world cup record in the process, with his jump measured at 2.78 meters.
3. Bevis Mugabi, Motherwell v Ross County 2021
Average person jumps = 50cm
World record for high jump = 245cm
Cristiano Ronaldo = 256cm
Bevis Mugabi @B_M321 = 262cm
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) January 31, 2021
Bevis Mugabi may not be a familiar figure to many, although the defender is a Ugandan international, having played 15 times for them, even though he was born in Harrow.
Since 2019 he has been played for Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership, and it was during a league game against Ross County that he earned himself a place in the record books.
Going up for a corner, he scored with a towering header, with a jump that was later calculated at 2.62 meters high.
4. Fikayo Tomori, AC Milan v Juventus 2021
Fikayo Tomori beat Cristiano Ronaldo's 'highest jump to score' Serie A record 🚀👏
CR7 – 8ft 5in
Tomori – 8ft 7in pic.twitter.com/E2iA0vihYV
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 12, 2021
England defender Fikayo Tomori broke a Serie A record that had previously belonged to Cristiano Ronaldo in a 3 – 0 home win for AC Milan against Juventus in 2021.
When his side were awarded a free kick midway through the Juventus half, Tomori pushed into the area, and met to heat the free kick powerfully past the Juve keeper. His jump was officially measured at 2.61 meters high, with Tomori out-jumping Giorgio Chellini among others.
5. Victor Osimhen, Napoli v Spezia 2023
Victor Osimhen scores so many spectacular goals he is getting tired of celebrating them. Ho hum.
I mean look at this jump, coupled with a perfect technical header.
— Maximiliano Bretos (@MaxBretosSports) March 15, 2023
If Napoli win their first league title since 1990 this season, the goals of Nigerian striker Victor Osenheim would have gone a long way to securing that Scudetto success.
One of his goals came in the league win at Spezia in January 2023.
He took advantage of Spezia’s inability to clear a box from their own penalty box, leaping up and steering the goal over the keeper with a jump that was subsequently deemed to have been 2.58 meters.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus v Sampdoria 2019
CRISTIANO RONALDO HIGHEST JUMP😳😳😳 pic.twitter.com/mBsQV4uV7c
— Kashii Alli (@KashiiAlliCr17) June 15, 2022
Before Tomori and then Osenheim beat him, Ronaldo had held the Serie A record with the 2.56 meter jump that formed part of the header that he scored against Sampdoria in Serie A in 2019.
In many ways it was a textbook goal. Juventus played patiently in midfield, before switching the ball to Alex Sandro. His cross was met at the back post by Ronaldo who hung in the air as he powered the header past the helpless home goalkeeper.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimović, AC Milan v Inter Milan 2020
Another man who has used his natural height to score some fine headed goals is Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović. He was in his second spell with AC Milan when he scored against another of his former clubs Inter, in the Milan derby.
In this case, though, it was the assist that he provided for Ante Rebić that made the headlines, leaping 2.53 meters in the air enabling him to nod the ball down for his strike partner. Ibrahimović, himself, scored with his head soon afterwards, before Inter completed a fine comeback with four unanswered goals.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus v Torino 2019
In May 2019 Torino were eyeing a rare win in the Turin derby away from home.
They led until the 84th minute when Ronaldo rose higher than his marker and thumped his header into the back of the net. His leap was subsequently measured at 2.44 meters.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid v Osasuna 2011
In November 2011 Osasuna visited the Bernabeu Stadium for a league match, and found themselves on the wrong end of a 7 – 1 thrashing. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick that day, a towering header that enabled him to glance a right wing corner into the box. It was measured at 2.44 meters, a La Liga record at the time.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus v Sassuolo 2021
He was to equal that height playing for Juventus in a league match against Sassuolo in January 2021, when he went up for an aerial duel with Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli, who lost out, despite having the benefits of his arms to help him gain extra elevation.
Afterwards, even the Sassuolo players were amazed at the height that Ronaldo had managed to reach.
The only pity is that there were no fans in the stadium to see it, because the match was played behind closed doors because of the Covid pandemic.