FOOTBALLERS today will do anything to get an edge over their opponents.
And that means more work in the gym, sculpting their perfect bodies and lifting heavy weights to gain extra muscle.
But these stars didn't always look like body builders.
In fact, these athletes have enjoyed a remarkable body transformation over the years, even when they can't train like they're used to during the coronavirus lockdown.
When former Chelsea star Hazard moved to Real Madrid in a deal worth £130million, Los Blancos were delighted.
But they wouldn't have been happy when he turned up to training seven kilograms overweight.
Even fans pointed out he looked chunky when he reported for preseason games.
However, during the coronavirus lockdown Hazard took his fitness very seriously.
"It’s complicated for me. I’m trying not to eat a lot," he told RTBF.
"I’m trying not to go into the pantry to eat a lot of buns, but it’s not easy."
It appears he laid off the buns – impressing manager Zinedine Zidane at the club's training centre with a more svelte figure.
As a youngster, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was often called too skinny by his coaches.
But through the years, Ronaldo went from lanky winger to powerhouse forward thanks to a strict exercise regime.
"I put it in my mind that my body can improve," Ronaldo said.
"With dedication and hard work in the gym I improved a lot on that – at the end of the day it’s down to the person’s mindset."
A Pilates-based routine that focuses on resistance work to strengthen his core is also key to his success – reportedly giving the Portuguese star the body of a 23-year-old.
When Rashford emerged on the scene in 2017 as a fresh-faced 19-year-old, his body was still developing.
But having Cristiano Ronaldo as a role model at the club when he was a youngster was a big help.
The striker watched Ronaldo in training closely, adding strength and conditioning work to the technical training he does at Carrington, which has given him a more muscular physique today.
The Bayern Munich striker has been sensational for the Bavarian giants, and it's all down to his nutritionist wife Anna.
Through his diet, as well as rigorous training regime with the Bundesliga side, he is now the perfect specimen.
“We changed our diet step by step, first cutting out sweets and then milk,” Lewandowski explained.
“Cows' milk and soya milk isn't good for me. Almond milk and rice milk is OK. I don't really drink alcohol, either. Maybe wine but only sometimes.”
A devastating blend of pace and power, Traore's game has come on leaps and bounds.
And social media blew up when snaps of the Wolves winger emerged showing off a raging bicep that would've put any Hollywood action hero to shame.
But despite his rippling muscles, Traore insists he doesn't do any weight training.
"My training? I don’t do weights," he told Spanish outlet La Sexta.
"It’s hard to believe, but I don't do weights.
"It’s genetic. I exercise, but I gain mass very quickly."
You don't get the nickname 'The Beast" for nothing, as well as a 98 strength rating in FIFA 20.
Football's strongest man Akinfenwa ruffles defenders feathers playing for Wycombe Wanderers in League One.
To fuel his weights sessions, the striker eats like a beast too, although his weight does go up and down.
"Breakfast is Weetabix with honey," he told the Daily Mail.
"At training there will be some kind of chicken. Our chef personally does chicken for me and that makes me very happy.
"Then a shake in the afternoon. For dinner, again it’s probably chicken, potato and coleslaw. My partner is half-Nigerian, half-Caribbean so it may be the curry goat, rice and potato. It’s the carbs I need to eat.
"I throw in the odd Nando's. Quarter-chicken, medium breast, chips, corn on the cob and five wings. I don’t deviate."
The aptly named Brazilian striker has always been admired for his physical stature.
Built like a truck, Hulk is still terrorising defenders back in Brazil for Atlético Mineiro.
But there was a time when the former Porto star looked a little overweight, rather than chiselled.
He has toned up now, and looks fitter than his 34-years suggest.
The Real Madrid defender's Instagram account is littered with videos of high-intensity workout videos.
When he was at Sevilla, he was just a beanpole of a defender. Now, he's the real deal.
“My training routines at home are usually focused on functional and isometric exercises, always ending with some cardio work," he revealed.
And for Sergio, a healthy breakfast is the perfect to start the day.
He revealed: “I usually take a coffee, some whole-grain bread with protein like turkey breast or a poached egg, and a piece of fruit.”
There's no doubt about it, Elokobi is hench.
The former Wolves star, now playing for National League side Maidstone United, was always a crowd favourite because of his size.
At only 5ft 9inches, he isn't the tallest. But he earned the nickname of 'The Body' at Molineux because he was pure muscle.
The defender even stripped down to his smalls on the catwalk during a charity fashion show at the club.
The fiery former Manchester City striker was always tall and lean.
But after celebrating scoring for Italy against Germany in Euro 2012, he was keen to show off a ripped torso as he flexed his muscles shirtless.
However, the normally fit Balotelli was anything but in 2018 when he returned to training for Nice reportedly two stone overweight when a move to Marseille collapsed.
He soon dropped half a stone and was back to normal.
The Inter Milan striker takes his training very seriously.
Former Manchester United star Sanchez enjoys working out alone, and shared a video online strutting his stuff at their Carrington training ground to the famous Rocky theme 'Eye of the Tiger' in 2019.
Sanchez has also been seen in the past enjoying sprint drills on the beach. After all, even though it is pre-season you can't down tools in the summer.
Standing at 5ft 6in, the former Gunner knows he needs strength as an attribute for his game to thrive. And he looks the business.
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