Manchester United

“I’m Not Fat, I’m Big Boned”

Whilst some professional footballers battle their whole career against injuries others spend their playing days met by chants of ‘who ate all the pies’. We pay homage to some of the game’s larger characters.

  • Wayne Rooney

A world class striker, but the England superstar has battled against the image of being a fat lad from Liverpool.

This week Alex Ferguson again questioned Rooney’s conditioning, admitting that the Manchester United forward’s body type means that he faces an uphill struggle to keep his weight under control.

Whilst both Ronaldo and Diego Maradona looked (enlarged) shadows of their former selves as they piled on the pounds at the twilight of their career. Rooney’s stocky build and sublime skills surely merits him to be crowned as the world’s greatest ever fat footballer.

  • Andy Reid

Something of a folk hero at Nottingham Forest, the portly midfielder has been mocked for his weight throughout his career.

During his first spell at the City Ground, fans used to chant ‘you fat bastard’ at the Irishman, whose chunky size hasn’t stopped him carving out a solid career for himself.

Whilst at Charlton, manager Les Reed called him one of the fittest players in the squad, and referred to his build as similar to that of Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas .

Since his return to Forest, Reid has trimmed down slightly, but will be mostly fondly remembered for as ‘Fat Andy Reid’.

  • Mido

Dubbed ‘Supersize Mido’ during a FA Cup game for Middlesbrough against Mansfield in 2008, the Egyptian striker failed to manage his weight after being sidelined for three months with a stress fracture to the pubic bone.

As a series of injuries reduced Mido’s playing time, his waistline increased and the striker was eventually fined by Middlesbrough after missing the first two weeks of pre-season training for the 2008/09 season.

Mido was then shipped out on a series of loan moves before he finally left Middlesbrough in 2011, joining Egyptian side Zamalek. His return to his homeland was an unhappy one as he struggled again with weight and fitness issues.

In June 2012 Mido joined Barnsley on a free transfer.

  • Adriano

A real powerhouse in his younger days, the former Inter Milan striker has packed on the pounds as a life of partying got in the way of life as a professional footballer.

The striker was dropped from the Brazil squad in 2006 after the coach Dunga called on Adriano to “change his behaviour”.

In 2007 Roberto Mancini dropped the Brazilian after he failed to turn up to training after a heavy night out on the town. He was eventually let go by Inter at the end of the 2009 season.

In 2012 he was let go by Corinthians for his lack of interest, and he returned to his first club Flamengo for the third time on a pay-by-play basis.

  • Jeroen Verhoeven

Although he may be the least well known of the fat footballers on the list, the porky former Ajax reserve team keeper deserves a mention.

He may have only featured three times in three years at the Amsterdam Arena, yet he was warmly received by the home crowd who shouted ‘Pizza’ every time the 16st shot stopper touched the ball in a game against ADO Den Haag during the 2010/11 season.

Currently a free agent Verhoeven is likely to interest any sides hoping to plug a leaky defence.

By Tom Donnelly

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