How Ronaldo and Messi kept fit at home during lockdown… but whose training regime and strict diet was tougher?
THEY’RE not arguably the two best players of all-time for nothing.
Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi has just capped December’s World Cup success with Argentina by winning Fifa’s The Best award while Cristiano Ronaldo was named the Saudi Pro League player of the month for his exploits with new club Al-Nassr following his explosive exit from Manchester United.
During the coronavirus lockdown, footballers around the globe were filling their time by hitting their home gyms.
And leading the way were Messi, 35, and Cristiano Ronaldo, 38, who were happy to show their strict training regimes.
From running up steep driveways to lifting heavyweights, the two were desperate to stay match-fit for when the season restarted.
But whose schedule was tougher? SunSport put on its bootcamp hat to investigate.
MESSI AT HOME
For a man who’s used to having the best training facilities a club can offer at his then club Barcelona, working from home would’ve been tough on Messi.
But, after jovially showing he hadn’t lost his touch by doing the best toilet roll juggling of any footballer out there, he soon hit his home gym.
And as you can imagine, it was fully equipped to help him keep some muscle definition.
He gave us a brief glimpse of his gym on Instagram training with his son, Ciro.
We saw a row of treadmills that overlook his incredible garden and there was also a spinning machine – another extensive cardio workout.
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Like a professional gym, he has shelves for towels. They are opposite weight machines and bars.
Various mats aid him to do core exercises, like pushing up a bar with his stomach while leaning on a box.
Another exercise Messi has been seen doing involves lifting two small dumbbells above his head from his sides.
All of this is done under the watchful eye of Muhammad Ali – or in fact a mini-shrine to former heavyweight boxing champion.
Messi still remains dedicated to his art to maintain his powers.
According to Pinata, the method behind his training regime is to work on his speed.
To build his pace up, he divides his workout into sections with different exercises, including a pillar bridge-front, lunges, hamstring stretches, and pillar skips.
To strengthen his core and leg muscles, Messi also favours hurdle hops and split squats. Then, he’ll finish off with acceleration drills.
Next, is a series of workouts designed to maximise his multi-directional speed.
Pillar skips, skipping ropes, and squats build his leg muscles, while skipping past diagonal cones will maintain his lateral movements.
Given he has such a mega garden with its own football pitch, these can all be done at home, until he warms down with a jog on a treadmill.
WHAT DOES MESSI EAT?
Aside from drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, Messi follows a strict diet.
With the help of Italian nutritionalist Giuliano Poser, who helped him cure his sickness before games, he had a regime designed specifically for him – ditching meat and pizza.
Water, olive oil, whole grains, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables are the base of Messi’s diet.
“Also very good are nuts and seeds,” Poser revealed. But he was adamant Messi had to curb his sweet tooth.
“[Sugar] is the worst thing for the muscles. The farther he stays away from sugars, the better,” he continued.
“Refined flours are also a big problem as these days, it’s difficult to find uncontaminated wheat.”
RONALDO AT HOME
He’s the picture of health anyway, so we’re sure a few days off won’t help. But Ronaldo won’t allow it.
And any given opportunity he had during the coronavirus lockdown, the then Juventus forward sent his followers wild by showing off his sculpted physique.
Behind him is his home gym, filled with toys – mostly weight machines that help build muscle in his upper body and legs.
Ronaldo began his quarantine at his mansion in Madeira that also has a pool on his rooftop.
Then he reportedly rented another home in Madeira.
Like Messi, core work using dumbbells was key to anything he did in his indoor gym.
But it was not always heavy-lifting that kept Ron supple and in shape.
He loves Pilates, which he can do anywhere with a yoga mat, and helps him strengthen his core.
“Everyone has days when they are less motivated and I do too, but I know that in order to continue to play at the highest level, I must push myself even on the days I might not feel like it,” Ronaldo once told FourFourTwo.
We saw Ronaldo doing gruelling sprinting drills with his partner, Georgina Rodriguez.
The Portuguese legend shared an Instagram video of the pair running up a steep driveway, as quick as they could.
Ronaldo is also a big fan of swimming, often unwinding after a tough weights’ workout by doing a series of lengths.
That exercises all of his arms, core and leg muscles. But just as important as pushing himself is rest.
Ronaldo will have hot and cold baths to stimulate muscle regeneration, while jets massage his muscles as he sits in the bath.
He also sleeps eight hours a night, as well as naps throughout the day – sometimes taking as many as five naps in one day.
Ronaldo uses straps, pulleys and resistance work to improve his core strength[/caption]
Ronaldo is even more conscious of what he puts into his body than Messi.
“I watch my diet, eat healthily and avoid things that are bad for me like alcohol, sugary sodas and processed foods,” he revealed.
“I focus on eating simple whole foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. I really like fresh fish and try to get a lot of my protein from it.”
Lisbon speciality Bacalao a la Brasa – a mixture of braised cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs is one of his favourites.
Ronaldo always manages to keep it healthy and shares meals on social media[/caption]
The Juventus star also eats eggs and salad, avoiding sugary foods and processed meats[/caption]
He also eats gilt-head bream, swordfish and sea bass.
Since 2005, Ronaldo has been tee-total – not only because of the effect it would have on his diet, but also after seeing his father die from alcoholic-related illness.
Ronaldo’s diet is why he believes he can play till 40.
Ronaldo just edged it with his all-round dedication to health and fitness.
But both Messi and Ronaldo prove it takes much more than amazing talent to become a superstar.
It requires hard work and dedication, 24/7.