With the Premier League wrapping up and the World Cup just around the corner, people all over the world have their minds on football. There should be plenty of good action ahead, particularly this summer when the best national teams in the world gather in Russia for sport’s greatest competition. But in addition to watching matches, now is also a good time to look to some of the best athletes in the sport for fitness and wellness inspiration.
In that vein, I did a little bit of research on top players and turned up some interesting tips and tricks about nutrition.
Arguably the biggest star in the world, and a player who’s known to show up in big matches, Cristiano Ronaldo should command a lot of the spotlight during the World Cup this summer. He’s had another sensational season for Real Madrid, and so long as he’s active and scoring goals he’ll make the Portuguese national team significantly more dangerous than it would be without him. He also happens to be particularly fit, even for a world-class football star. As you might expect, Ronaldo’s diet plan includes a heavy focus on protein and carbohydrate intake, as he has to keep up his energy level and keep building muscle. However, more than some other top-tier athletes, Ronaldo also emphasizes fruits and green vegetables, which provide nutrients vital for recovery.
Neymar will be looking to have a breakout World Cup this summer – not that he really needs to break out in the traditional sense. He’s one of a few players who will be vying for the unofficial “best footballer on the planet” title once Ronaldo and Lionel Messi age out, and he’s got a chance to add significantly to his growing legacy this summer. The Barcelona star will be leading a Brazil squad that, as always, will be expected to have a chance to win. He’s another star who’s famously fit, in addition to simply skilled, and interestingly glimpses of his diet have emphasized healthy oils. Neymar is known to work olive oil (for heart health, immunity, and keeping fat off) and fish oil (for muscle growth and fat burning) into his diet.
The Egyptian and Liverpool striker has been the breakout star of the Premier League season, and will be in the World Cup this summer. Salah is actually on pace to lead the Premier League in goals scored, which is no small distinction. It’s a major career honor that will go down in record books, and is something fans speculate about (and bet on) before the first game kicks off in the fall. Suffice it to say his win is a surprise, but one that solidifies him as one of the best players in football. Because he’s risen to this level of prominence fairly quickly there isn’t a whole lot of information out there yet about his nutrition. But he is on record discussing his tendency to eat protein- and carb-focused meals the night before a big match or workout. Salah focuses on chicken, fish, and pasta at such times, which is a good reminder to all of us that we still need fuel to exercise.
Harry Kane, the dynamic attacker for Tottenham Hotspur and a standout on the English team, is the man most would have tabbed to lead the EPL in scoring before the season started. He’ll still likely finish in second behind Salah, though the Egyptian appears to have run away with the crown. Nevertheless, more broadly speaking, Kane has been the deadliest scorer in the Premier League for a few seasons now, and is one of the more skilled attackers England has had in a decade. As is the case with anyone who has the speed and persistence to score regularly at the highest level, Kane relies heavily on fitness, and in fact credited a new nutritional plan when he went on a scoring binge back in September. Kane has hired a personal chef to cook him healthy, natural food and help him understand when he needs to eat. That’s not exactly something many of us can afford to do, but it’s a good reminder that natural ingredients and home cooking are always healthier than alternatives.