Serie A: 5 of the Fattest Players of All Time
The men who play in leagues like the Italian Serie A are some of the most elite performers in the game.
The players that grace Italian stadia week in and week out are some of the most talented in the world at the peak of fitness.
Well...sometimes you may have to fudge that last bit.
While one would think that soccer requires you to be in top physical shape, there have been some players before us who have been...less so.
These portly practitioners of the game stop short of the line of ideal fitness, and they've come in the form of both role players and big stars.
Who are the biggest? Read on to find out.
As you read through this list, you might notice a trend—there aren't a whole ton of Italians on here.
For some reason, it was difficult to find Italian players that were truly on the heavy side. Easily the doughiest in recent times though is Antonio Cassano.
Cassano has never been the trimmest of folks. Here's a bit of paunch from an unfortunate bout of on-field exhibitionism.
He has never been one to avoid indulgence—this quote from his autobiography taken from The Independent defines his perfect night as sex followed by a meal.
He's definitely a bit thicker around the belly now that he's at Parma. Maybe it's all the prosciutto and cheese.
Never the slimmest of keepers—as this picture from a Euro 2008 qualifier with Poland attests—Artur Boruc has nonetheless been a key member of several Polish international sides. He was also a fixture of the Old Firm in Scotland, appearing in 162 league games for Celtic and keeping 79 clean sheets.
In the summer of 2010, Celtic agreed to sell Boruc to Fiorentina, who planned for him to back up longtime incumbent Sebastian Frey. When the Frenchman fell to injury in late October, Boruc started for the rest of the season and all of the next.
Despite 23 clean sheets in 62 Serie A matches viola fans questioned his play—and his fitness, and he was released at the end of the 2011-12 season. He now plays for English Premier League outfit Southampton.
Diego Maradona might be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, but he was never the model of physical fitness.
Always compact at 5'5", Maradona always had some extra around the middle. His cocaine use certainly didn't help things. By the time he won the 1986 World Cup with Argentina it had grown into a permanent bulge.
However, that extra weight didn't stop Maradona from leading Napoli to the most prosperous period in their history during his six years with the team.
After a promising start to his career with Inter, Adriano's partying ways—and weight gain—began to catch up with him.
At the peak of his form, the Brazilian scored 28 times in all competitions—including 10 times in the Champions League—in 2004-05.
But things went south. Adriano partied, missed training sessions, put on a ton of weight, and eventually was sent packing on loan to Sao Paolo in 2007 to regain his form.
He began to play well, but more off-field incidents followed and he returned to Inter ahead of schedule. By 2009, Inter had finally released him. After a season with Flamengo in Brazil he signed with Roma for the 2010-11 season, but only lasted until March of that season before being released.
Adriano's is a classic, sad case of a promising player letting off-the-field problems doom his career.
One of the most recognizable men in the game over the last 20 years is also one of the most out-of-shape.
It wasn't always this way. With Barcelona and Inter, Ronaldo was a svelte, agile forward who could do things with a soccer ball that were unheard of.
But after his knee gave out in 1999, weight began to become an issue for the Brazilian. Weight issues and the arrival of Ruud van Nistelrooy at Real Madrid led to his falling out of favor with manager Fabio Capello, and the same concerns frequently kept him off the field following his move to AC Milan.
Concerns about his size dogged him at the international level as well. He was jeered at the 2006 World Cup for being slow and overweight—nowhere close to the Ronaldo that had dazzled at the two previous tournaments.