Fewer footballers are known for their physique than Cristiano Ronaldo but his Portugal team-mate Jose Fonte has revealed that even the Manchester United star has cheat days.
And, while known for his meticulous condition on the pitch, it appears Ronaldo’s strict regime has an effect off it too, influencing his team-mates’ diets.
But his countryman Fonte has busted the myth that the striker avoids junk food entirely, revealing that Ronaldo has days where he eats whatever he wants.
Even Cristiano Ronaldo (left) has cheat days reveals Portugal team-mate Jose Fonte (right)
‘I’ve seen him eating a little bit of everything,’ Fonte told TalkSport.
When asked if Ronaldo’s strict regime influences his team-mates, the Lille defender answered: ‘One hundred per cent.
‘We always have a look at what he’s eating and what he’s doing.
‘You know he’s the best and you want to replicate what he’s doing because he must be doing something right.
The 36-year-old maintains a strict diet to be able to continue competing at the highest level
‘Obviously as a rule he eats nice and clean, you know the nice quinoas and all this healthy stuff… A lot of eggs, sweet potatoes, the broccoli, he’s into that.’
But even Ronaldo has his guilty pleasures and indulge himself in ‘junk food days’.
According to Fonte, on international duty the forward always reaches for the bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese meal, which is dried and salted cod fish typically served with potatoes, onions, hard boiled eggs, olives and olive oil.
He also apparently enjoys ‘steak with chips and fried egg’ after the games.
The health-conscious Portuguese star has also apparently already impacted on diets as well
The central defender claimed it is easy to see why Ronaldo caves into temptation on international duty as he explained the Portuguese national team’s catering is ‘incredible’.
‘You have to be careful when you go to the national team because when you come back you will be heavier,’ he joked.
Ronaldo re-signed for United in August and has had an immediate impact on the pitch, scoring three goals for the Red Devils so far this season.
Ronaldo made an instant impact on his return with two goals for Man United against Newcastle
But the man who is absolutely meticulous when it comes to keeping himself in top condition is apparently already having an effect on habits off the field as well.
In September, United goalkeeper Lee Grant revealed not one United player went up for dessert after dinner the Friday night before Ronaldo’s debut against Newcastle United – and all because of the Portugal international’s influence.
He told talkSPORT: ‘To give you one instance of the impact he is having on the group right. This was Friday night in the hotel.
‘So, as you guys will be aware, you finish your dinner and usually on a Friday night you’ve got some cheat stuff out.
‘You’ve got some apple crumble and custard or you’ve got a bit of brownie and cream or whatnot.
United goalkeeper Lee Grant revealed how Ronaldo has already impacted on eating habits
‘I tell you now, not one player touched the apple crumble and custard, not one player went up for that brownie because everybody was sat down.
‘One of the lads said to me, “What has Cristiano got on his plate?”
‘So we were having a little goosey gander at what he has got and obviously it is the cleanest, most healthy plate you can imagine.
‘And it just cracked me up how not one single player dared get up and have that junk food that was laid out.’
Asked to elaborate on what was actually on the 36-year-old’s plate, Grant added: ‘I’ll tell you one of his plates – he had several. One of them was quinoa, avocado and a couple of boiled eggs.
The Portugal star also eats plenty of fish but avoids having red meat or eating anything frozen
‘Listen, this guy is in incredible shape. He’s actually got the second best body behind me now at the club – and that’s saying something, so fair play to him!’
Despite approaching 37, Ronaldo is still among football’s elite and his longevity at the very highest level of the game is down to a strict diet and fitness regimes.
In fact, Ronaldo typically eats little and often – six meals a day, spaced out at 3-4 hour intervals – to meet the high nutritional demands of being a top footballer and support the fast metabolism athletes have.
Ronaldo’s diet also allows him to have explosive muscles and a very low fat mass. He has a personal nutritionist who has been following him since his Real Madrid days.
A good diet involving six high-protein mini-meals a day is behind Ronaldo’s stunning displays
He eats whole grains, fresh fruit and lean proteins contained in fish such as swordfish, sea bass, sea bream and cod. They are always fresh and never frozen.
There is always a lot of salad on Ronaldo’s plate and for breakfast he will eat cheese, ham, low-fat yogurt and fruit and avocado toast. He considers chicken one of the magical foods: rich in protein and low in fat.
Patrice Evra, his team-mate at Manchester United, said of him: ‘I recommend anyone to say no if Cristiano invites you to his house, because that boy is a machine and he never stops training.
‘I went there and I was really tired after training, but on the table there was a salad and chicken breast and only water, no drinks.’
Ronaldo is focused and attentive to every nuance of his life away from the pitch. In his diet, all carbonated drinks have been abolished and he avoids eating red meats and frozen foods.
As well as making sure he eats all the right foods, the forward naps throughout the day
Ronaldo’s fastidious attention to nutrition is a far cry from the dietary habits of some of United’s past greats.
Legendary former captain Roy Keane recently admitted he once chowed down on a doner kebab just three hours before a United match.
The Irishman revealed: ‘I played a cup game before Crystal Palace at home and three hours before the game I had a kebab. A doner kebab from the chipper. Three hours before the game.
‘When you’re younger you get away with it, but obviously you pay for it later on. You think you’re getting away with it, having a bit of a laugh about it and being a jack the lad.
‘In fairness though I did live by myself and I didn’t have any food in the house.’
RONALDO’S DIET, WORKOUTS, REST AND PHYSIQUE
His typical daily meals:
Breakfast: Cheese and ham, low-fat yoghurt
Brunch: Chicken and salad
Lunch: Tuna, olives, egg and tomato
Snack: Fresh fruit, avocado on toast
Supper: Fresh swordfish and salad
Dinner: Steak and calamari
Ronaldo supplements squad training sessions with a personal workout plan. His five weekly trips to the gym include 25-30 minutes of cardio, high-intensity sprinting and targeted weights to increase muscle strength. In total, he works out for three to four hours a day.
The superstar naps five times a day. ‘Proper sleep is really important for getting the most out of training,’ he says. ‘Sleep helps muscles recover which is really important.’
A test found he had the body of an athlete 14 years his junior, with 7 per cent body fat — (the average footballer’s is 11). He has 50 per cent muscle mass.