Since it’s a contact sport, time spent in the gym always adds unique traits to footballers’ physique. Look no further than the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, where Luis Diaz’s efficacy on the wings was terribly hindered because of his inability to get through the bulky and brawny physique of Dani Carvajal.

Similarly, a bulky physique helps strikers to shield the defender, especially under transition. At Inter Milan, Romelu Lukaku often used his buttocks to evade contact and release the ball in open space for his striking partner. Adama Traore is another great example. His transformation from a lanky kid to a henched winger made him an elite ball carrier. 

Let’s take a look at five footballers who underwent an immense physical transformation:

Adama Traore

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This doesn’t look like the body of a man who rarely does weights, as Adama Traore admitted to Marca. “No, I haven’t lifted a single weight. I know people won’t believe it, but it’s true,” he said. Going by his muscular frame, Traore looks more like a powerlifter than a footballer. As Traore would like to put it, “he is built different.” But he was not always like this. When he arrived in Premier League, Traore was a lanky guy, but soon transformed himself under the tutelage of Olympic gold medalist Darren Campbell. 

Leon Goretzka

The extended break due to the pandemic helped Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka transform himself into an absolute beast. During the customary post-match handshake, Goretzka ripped his shirt while extending his hand. “For me, lockdown was both a crisis and an opportunity,” the Bayern Munich forward explained. “A crisis because you miss football and daily training with the team, but also a chance to gain muscle mass in coordination with the physiotherapist.”

Michail Antonio

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After Traore moved to Barcelona last year, Michail Antonio has taken his place as the bulkiest striker in the Premier League. Antonio can generate immense power on his long-range shots, and you can rely upon him to hold the ball and pick out a correct pass even when he is stuck in one corner of the field, surrounded by waves of opposing defenders.

Sergio Ramos

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For the first decade or so of his playing career, there were no noticeable differences in Sergio Ramos‘ physique. While speed and agility were his main weapons in the earlier days, the bulkier physique added another dimension to his game, as he was able to get involved in duels without committing rash fouls.

“Sergio Ramos is the toughest opponent I’ve come up against. He is very strong, has a lot of experience, and is a very competitive player,” said Luis Suarez about Ramos.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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Even at 37, Cristiano Ronaldo can give the youngsters a run for the money when it comes to physique and athleticism. But it was not always like this. As a kid growing up in Madeira, Ronaldo was told to give up the game due to his slim physique. Even at Man Utd, his body size didn’t inspire much confidence. But the Portuguese then underwent an incredible transformation to become one of the fittest sportspersons on the planet.

Featured Image Source: CR7.com