Football, particularly in the modern game, is a very physically demanding sport. The fitness programs, dietary requirements and training regimes implemented by professional teams, particularly at the highest level, leaves little room for unfit players. Down are the overweight footballers today.

5. Adriano

A fearsome spearhead of the Brazilian attack, Adriano played 48 times for his country, scoring 27 goals. But since 2010 the striker’s career has been on the slide, and his weight gain has been the heavy issue.

He spent a period of the 2011-12 season on a sort of house arrest when Corinthians demanded he loses weight. He last played for Miami United.

4. Adebayo Akinfenwa

At 5ft 11 in and weighing more than 16-stone Akinfenwa cuts quite a figure. He admits: “Because of my size, I automatically fall into the category of being too big to be a footballer.”

However, that has not stopped him from having a long and successful career in the Football League and any extra weight looks to be muscle rather than fat.

3. Gonzalo Higuain

Joining Juventus from Napoli, striker Gonzalo Higuain, knew what the critics were. He scored on his Serie A debut for his new club, handing them a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Fiorentina.

He then told his doubters to continue questioning his fitness and he’ll just continue scoring goals: “Keep calling me fat, I will continue to score goals.”

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