9 of football’s most astonishing glow-ups incl. Madrid, Barca & Man Utd legends…
Nobody stays the same as they get older, but some people age like a fine wine as these former footballers from the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid demonstrate.
Elite-level footballers have a multitude of advantages over the general population; daily exercise, personalised diets and a legion of staff members dedicated to their general well-being. No wonder many of them transform their appearance during those years of pampering.
We’ve identified nine famous footballers who went from gawky to god-like during their professional careers.
The GOAT (of body transformations before we start a Twitter war).
Ronaldo arrived in England in 2003 as your typical teenager – spots, braces and a horrific sense of fashion – but his dedication to the gym and self-improvement soon saw him blossom into one of the world’s most recognisable faces.
You’d put money on Ronaldo looking the same at 60 through nothing more than bulgar wheat and moisturising.
Imagínate que te vuelva a buscar tu ex por un Glow Up como el de Cristiano Ronaldo. pic.twitter.com/ycZhuu0WjW
— Tio Faitelson ®️ (@PutazoFaitelson) August 27, 2021
Ronaldo’s great rival has also become easier on the eye over time. From straggly hair and shy posture, Messi has blossomed into a man clearly comfortable in his own skin.
Lionel Messi’s glow up 😍😍 pic.twitter.com/vEG82y5UYQ
— ™️ (@DonWillix10) March 23, 2021
Before joining Barcelona, Griezmann was the golden boy of French football; with angelic looks and a stacked trophy cabinet, the forward was an advertiser’s dream.
But his move to Camp Nou saw him enter an alarming mid-life crisis. How could we tell? His hair effectively abdicated from his body, transforming Griezmann from prince to backpacker in an instant.
Hilariously, a move back to Atletico saw him revert to his former cherubic self. Perhaps Diego Simeone insisted on a haircut as part of contract negotiations.
What exactly went wrong 😭💔? pic.twitter.com/dtm5IR6mWW
— Sara 🦋 (@SaraFCBi) September 8, 2021
Amazing what a neat trim and beard can do, isn’t it?
Entry #4 – and one of the all-time greatest football glow-ups:
Sergio Ramos, confirmation that a beard and a haircut goes a long way pic.twitter.com/O5KNUjV6hb
— Football Glow-Ups (@footballglowups) February 1, 2019
The world was at Potter’s feet following
the death of Lord Voldermort his move from Brighton to Chelsea in September 2022.
Widely regarded as the most promising English manager in the Premier League, Potter spent the first of his Stamford Bridge millions on a fresh coat and even fresher fade before his first match.
Sadly, that was as good as it got. But we’ll never forget how sharp he looked during those hope-filled opening matches.
"Somebody said to me that I have had a 'glow up'. I have no idea what that is."
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) October 16, 2022
The guy responsible for Conte’s transformation from the Puglian Bobby Charlton to the perfectly coiffured proponent of grindset football, while winning no awards for subtlety, deserves a substantial pay rise.
Conte's hair transplant really is a tremendous piece of work 👏 pic.twitter.com/rVHnghXArE
— Kit Crimes ⚽️ (@KitCrimes) November 2, 2021
Goretzka’s life was transformed when Bayern Munich introduced him to protein powder.
Within a year, the midfielder had gone from slim to Dwayne Johnson’s hench cousin – and that five-o-clock shadow doesn’t harm his coupon either.
Leon Goretzka body transformation
— Naija Football Talk ⚽️ (@NaijaFT_tweet) October 9, 2021
The guy follows a ‘backwards eating’ diet and employs a sleeping coach to ensure he’s in the best condition – you’d feel embarrassed if you didn’t glow up after that level of dedication.
— . (@BGFtbl) January 12, 2019
Bale moved to Tottenham at the age of 17, looking every inch the awkward British teenager that hadn’t yet grown into his bodily features. Just like you and I.
After becoming the best player in the Premier League, the Wales international swapped London for Madrid and packed on a load of muscle – some of which was required to keep his infamous top knot in position.
Gareth Bale's Real Madrid transformation was incredible 💪 pic.twitter.com/U8vRaPtO4y
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 9, 2023