Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski are among the best football players in the world. To really make it at the top, both have demonstrated remarkable endurance, consistency, fitness, and mental durability. Can it be that the football world has been presented such naturally unique physical specimens? Or is there more to the story? Diet?
Cristiano Ronaldo- from health fanatic to global superstar
Cristiano Ronaldo, a 5-time winner of Fifa’s prestigious Ballon d’Or, is a work of the Gods. A fitness fanatic and gym freak, Ronaldo constantly proves his critics wrong, time and time again. Having done it all and won it all, the laws of age and nature bend at the very sight of CR7. But behind every great man is a great woman, and a great diet. So yeah, what did they feed him in Madeira, Cristiano’s hometown by the sea in Portugal? According to The Sun, Ronaldo focuses on 3 pillars- training, rest and relaxation. The regimen comprises of 5 gym sessions, pilates and swimming.
Diet is key. Ronaldo has six meals a day, yes, six! Fish is central to the legend’s diet, with swordfish, tuna and braised cod as particular favourites of the Portuguese international. Chicken is his go-to source of low-fat, high-protein food. For breakfast, ham and cheese and low-fat yoghurt is the way to go. A typical lunch consists of chicken and salad. Or maybe tuna with salad, eggs and olives. As for dinner, meat or fish would get the job done. We’re talking steak and calamari, something filling and high in protein. Check out other article about food here.
When Ronaldo signed for Juventus, the goal machine had only 7% body fat and a muscle mass of 50%! And he’s not going anywhere, having declared that he intends to play well into his forties. Is there more to it than just exercise and religiously following a healthy diet? Maybe the secret lies in his £50,000 Cryotherapy chamber, where “for around three minutes, liquid nitrogen freezes Ronaldo to between minus 160 and minus 200 degrees Celsius”. According to The Sun, “Cryotherapy beats muscle soreness and reduces swelling, inflammation or sprains”. But Ronaldo adds that just as importantly, he focuses on spending time with his partner Georgina Rodriguez and his four children, as supporting a good mental health “is just as important as physical strength”. Wow, keep it up Ronnie, and hopefully your example sets the standard for a new generation of aspiring, dedicated athletes!
The Case of Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski continues to defy the odds and hit new heights. Having just turned 33 years old, what is it about the Bayern Munich striker and Pole international that makes him so ready, so hungry for success? An article by Marca reveals that on game day, Lewandowski consumes lots of protein, starting with tuna for breakfast. Gluten and lactose are a big no no, having identified them as allergens that hamper his body performance. The day before gameday, Lewandowski finishes off his eating regimen with a bowl of rice pudding to supply his body with ample amounts of glucose and carbohydrates. Post-game, recovery food consists of plenty of vegetables and avocado.
All the credit goes to Lewandowski’s wife, Anna Lewandowska, who is a health and nutrition expert- and fanatic. She reveals that “The most important thing is training and nutrition. We refrain from lactose and wheat flour. It’s about quality food”. She also adds that “Sometimes after training we drink beetroot juice with cinnamon or cayenne pepper. When we mix many foods at once, sometimes we aren’t doing the right thing”. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Lewangoalski- as teammate Thomas Muller calls him- has achieved so much. The 2019/20 season, for instance, was a stellar season for the Pole international, having won 5 trophies, including the Champions League, the Bundesliga and the European Super Cup. Personal accolades cannot be forgotten, with Lewandowski scoring over 50 goals and being the top scorer in both the Champions League and Bundesliga. Recently, Lewandowski even broke Gerd Muller’s 40-goal Bundesliga record during the 2020/2021 season. A true legend of the game!
However, Robert Lewandowski’s road to greatness was not always so rosy. In 2006, he was released from his hometown club, Legia Warsaw, for “being too weak”. Krzysztof Sikorski, one of his early coaches, recalls: “He was very thin. His legs were like sticks, and I was always scared that others would break them”. Unbelievable, right? It says a lot about how far you can go in life with the right mix of knowledge, attitude, perseverance, and mental fortitude. Indeed, it takes a tremendous level of self-belief to make it so far on the international stage. And Lewandowski’s coaches have played a big role in nurturing his raw talent. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s current manager, had managed Lewandowski back at Borussia Dortmund. Reflecting back on his years at Dortmund, Lewandowski praises the influence of Jurgen Klopp, “He released that striker’s instinct in me and that allowed me to make the next step up. I didn’t know that I still had so much potential, more than I thought, and that means he saw something in me that I couldn’t see”. He adds that “He made a huge impact on my career. I have to be thankful to him because of what we did together at [Borussia] Dortmund. We grew together and it’s led me to where I am today. He’s a great coach and a great person. I learned a lot from him”.
We don’t hear the stories of footballers who don’t make it at the highest levels. Take the case of a 30-year-old second division player who still struggles to pay his rent. Or a big talent who had to retire so early due to injury. What about them? For every player who makes it to fame and fortune at Real Madrid or Barcelona or Manchester United for instance, many are left behind, often dealing with the mental, economic and social pressures of making a living and finding a new career after hanging up their boots. The cases of Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski are rare examples where everything came in place to forge incredibly talented athletes who fortunately managed to stick around at the highest levels for so long.