Sergio Aguero has revealed how he won his battle to beat the bulge – by ditching his favourite barbecue.
Manchester City's record goalscorer has admitted that his taste for prime Argentine beef was showing itself on the scales – and that the extra pounds started giving him dizzy spells on the pitch.
Then, four years ago, an Italian nutritionist advised him to swap steak for chicken and rice.
It led to Aguero proving to Pep Guardiola that his appetite for goals shows no sign of being sated.
The 31-year-old striker now fires up the asado – a traditional South American grill – no more than once a week.
Aguero said: “I think it was from 2013 to 2016 that I could not adapt to food well.
“From there I met an Italian doctor online – and he changed my mind a little."
“I told him what I usually ate, which was to eat a lot of meat, and when he told me to try it just once a week I was like 'uhhh'.
“Then I adapted. He told me that when I am very hungry I should put rice and chicken together – and today I am a big fan of rice.
“In football, even if it's only half-a-kilo, you feel the difference. It is incredible.”
Aguero has scored 254 goals in 368 games for City since arriving from Atletico Madrid in a £36million deal nine years ago.
He is planning to head back to his first club Independiente when his contract at the Etihad expires next summer.
But there were doubts about Aguero's future when Pep Guardiola arrived in the summer of 2016.
A succession of muscle injuries raised fears that the Argentine would not be able to cope physically with the demands the City boss puts on his team.
Guardiola keeps strict control on every player's weight and body fat measurements – and on his arrival he immediately banned pizza and chips from the training ground.
Aguero then proved himself up to the challenge by losing some bulk.
Speaking to Argentine publication TyC Sports, he said: “In 2016 and 2017 there were games that lowered my pressure. I felt bad.
“I started with a little dizziness. Many said that It was because of so many pills, anti-inflammatories and vitamins.
“In football, there are a lot of things to (help you) recover as quickly as possible.
“I told them that I always took those things, so in the end I think it was because of the weight.
“If I remember, my weight was 81 or 81.3 kilograms.
“Normally I weigh 79.5 or 80 kilograms. At the moment, I am 79.5.
“When I arrived at Atletico Madrid, I was 77, so in 13 years I have gained two kilos.
“I think we can agree that the body I had at 18 is not the body I have now.”
One of Guardiola's first moves was to bring in top Spanish nutritionist Silvia Tremoleda.
But City also have an army of medics who monitor the players closely – especially during lockdown.
Aguero said: “They control us all the time. Sometimes I say I'm going to try to reach 78kilos, but when I reach 78.5 and I feel bad. I swear, I feel weak.
“Sometimes they control you by measuring blood. The things that exist are incredible.
“But I always weigh myself. If you control yourself every day then at least you have an idea.
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