As an elite-level athlete, nutrition plays an extremely important role in the development of a football player, and not just football, preparation for any particular sport needs to be starting from the kitchen. Sources of lean protein and muscle recovery are known to be coming from the most obvious foods such as eggs or lean meat.
However, in recent years, athletes are now switching to the producers in the food chain, by approaching the idea of becoming a vegan. With this, it becomes extremely difficult for an athlete to find their sources of protein and recover every ounce of damaged muscle that they have in their bodies.
Is Lionel Messi Vegan?
Yes Lionel Messi switched to a completely vegan diet about a year ago.
But as the studies have suggested, footballers who have switched to a 100% vegan diet have started performing better and have seen unexpected results. Our 5 picks of the five most famous footballers in the world will shock you completely.
5. Fabian Delph - Manchester City
No. 5 on our list of Vegan Football Players is Fabian Delph. Delph was one of the reasons why Manchester City enjoyed so much success in the 2017/18 season, as his transition from a central midfielder to a left-back was one of the well-struck bargains of the season.
His pace, agility and the ability to intercept passes has made him not just an important player for Manchester City, but also for the English National team.
However, when it comes to his nutrition, the English ace switched to a plant-based diet at the end of 2017 and claims to have seen massive improvements in the way he feels like an athlete.
"I feel like my new lifestyle is a key to the way I have progressed in the recent months, feels like I am strengthening myself with this new transition" - Delph on the importance of switching to veganism.
4. Jermain Defoe - AFC Bournemouth
No. 4 on our list of Vegan Football Players is Jermain Defoe, the english striker is just six short of becoming one of the only few players with 500 appearances in the Premier League and is also the 7th highest goalscorer in the competition's history.
Known briefly for his time with Tottenham Hotspur in the mid-2000s, Defoe is surely one of the great poachers that we remember as Premier League fans. The fact that even at the age of 36 the Englishmen continues to perform is something we need to take note of.
However, the English striker did switch to a plant-based diet earlier in his career and has credited his vegan nutrition to play an extremely important role in avoiding muscle injuries.
In addition, Defoe has also stated that his nutritional plan is something that does not give him the thought of retiring any time soon. Defoe is also one of the only few English players, along with Fabian Delph to follow this particular diet.
3. Hector Bellerin - Arsenal
No. 3 on our list of Vegan Football Players is Hector Bellerin. One of the fastest right-backs in the world, Bellerin has been one of the most important players for Arsenal in the last few seasons. His athleticism, pace and reaction time is the reason why clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich want his signature.
However, the Spaniard shocked the Arsenal fans when he ditched all the animal products due to the effect on the physical health and toxication. Bellerin switched to a vegan diet just for a trial, but it churned out better results and has continued to consume the plant-based diet ever since.
"At first, it was all about trying it. How it tastes, how it feels, and how it helps, but I think it does way more than that, and now I see myself totally dependent on this particular diet. There is no denying that I love it more than anything else on my table"
2. Sergio Aguero - Manchester City
No. 2 on our list of Vegan Football Players is Sergio Aguero. There is no denying that Aguero is easily one of the best strikers in the world. Having a goalscoring record like none other, the all-time Manchester City top-scorer is known to deliver in every single game that he plays in.
A top-quality finisher, his presence on the pitch simply speaks for himself, as the Argentine striker has won 3 Premier League titles in a period of 7 years for his club. The former Atletico Madrid star never disappoints, no matter what kind of competition he plays in.
To everyone's surprise, the Argentine turned vegan in the very last season, after it was recommended by his doctor in order to prepare actively for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Aguero though is reportedly only vegan when he's playing frequently, or during the league season.
1. Lionel Messi - Barcelona
No. 1 on our list of Vegan Football Players is Lionel Messi. No introduction is required for the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner, as Messi now heads into his 30s, maintaining a system of complete fitness. However, a lot of this comes from what he tends to eat in his free time.
Ever wondered why the Argentine legend hardly ever gets injured despite being one of the most fouled players in the world? Well, it is all a reflection of what is on his plate.
By keeping all the animal products off his plate, Messi switched to a vegan diet last year for improving his performances not only in the world cup but also as a football player in general. And just like Aguero, he's reportedly only vegan during the football season.
His transition to this particular diet has given made him lose 3 kilograms worth of bodyweight and has improved his speed to a greater extent. He is known to include a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in his meals.