6 footballers who shifted weight while playing from Eden Hazard to Alvaro Morata

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Given they are often paid millions by their respective clubs, there are certain standards footballers are expected to adhere to when it comes to their physical condition.

However, it's much easier to stay in shape for some than it is for others. Be it the result of an injury-enforced absence, attitude issues or a tendency to over-indulge during the off-season, sometimes players end up piling on the pounds.

And while some struggle to shake off the excess weight, others have responded to the setback by returning more trim than ever before. Here, Daily Star Sport takes a closer look at some of the game's stars who have commendably shed the pounds during their career and got themselves back into tip-top shape.

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Eden Hazard

Once one the Premier League's most nimble and agile players, Eden Hazard has experienced quite the fall from grace since securing a dream move to Real Madrid from Chelsea back in 2019. Amid an incessant string of injuries, the Belgian baller has seen his career spiral over in Spain, and that summer returned to pre-season training five kilograms overweight.

"I'm not going to hide it, but when I'm on vacation, I'm on vacation," Hazard admitted. "I had put on five kilos, I'm the type to put on quickly and lose so quickly if I'm careful."

However, now in 2022 and it seems the 31-year-old was kept a watchful eye over his weight during the off-season. According to Spanish outlet Marca, the former Blues attacker is in 'perfect condition' at present as he appears intent on reviving his career with Real.

Alvaro Morata

Another who appears determined to make a success of things back in Madrid in Alvaro Morata, who has spent the last two seasons over in Italy with Juventus, on loan from Atletico. Having seen a much-anticipated move away fail to unfold this summer, the striker is set to stay with Diego Simeone's side, and it seems the Spain international is now hell-bent on fighting for his future at the club.

According to AS, Atletico are delighted with the ex-Chelsea forward, who is understood to have recently returned to the club, ready for pre-season, 'not a gram overweight'. The 29-year-old appears to have very much turned things around with Simone and Atletico sporting director Andrea Berta said to have personally congratulated Morata on his outstanding work ethic.

Adel Taarabt

"I can't protect people who don't want to run and train, and are about three stone overweight," QPR manager Harry Redknapp blasted back in October 2014 when probed on why he continued to snub maverick midfielder Adel Taarabt for selection. "Taarabt is not injured. He's not fit. He's not fit to play football unfortunately."

The Moroccan star bit back, publicly posting photos of himself looking particularly slender, to which Redknapp asserted the midfielder only looked slim "because he's had tonsillitis". These days, the 33-year-old looks better than ever and has established himself as an integral member of Benfica's team.

Isco

Another Real Madrid man who has struggled with his weight is creative midfielder Isco. The Spanish midfielder has often seen his physique called into question and in 2018, following surgery for acute appendicitis, it was cited as the reason behind his failure to break into Santiago Solari's side.

In response to the criticism, Isco took to social media to post a picture of himself lifting his top to reveal a chiselled six-pack, accompanied by the caption: "Am I fat?" Clearly the midfielder had overcome reported weight worries, but he still struggled to do enough to earn a spot in Real Madrid's starting XI and has continued to do so since.

Willian

After Willian returned to Arsenal’s pre-season preparations last summer, many fans were frustrated after spotting a seemingly unflattering photo of the Brazilian. The Gunners lost in a friendly against Hibernian and it was Willian’s apparent lack of fitness that caught the attention, something which didn't help his case in attempting to warm to the fans.

The former Chelsea attacker swiftly saw his Emirates contract terminated by mutual consent and he subsequently returned to his homeland to join Corinthians. The 33-year-old has made 30 appearances for the Brazilian giants in the current campaign and very much appear to have got himself into a much better condition.

Gonzalo Higuain

When Coronavirus swept across the globe back in 2020, the whole world were ordered to stay at home and twiddle their thumbs – footballers included. However, while the likes of Paul Pogba kept in good nick by making the most of his indoor swimming pool, gym facilities and mini football pitch inside within his luxurious home, it seems Gonzalo Higuain spent most of his time in the kitchen.

The Juventus striker returned to training in early June "looking like Tony Soprano" as one fan put it. By September the Argentine ace had his Juve contract mutually terminated and he swiftly joined David Beckham's Inter Miami where he underwent quite the transformation. In addition to shedding some excess pounds, Higuain grew out a beard and shaved his head. To say he looked like a new man would be quite the understatement.

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