Famous football fatties


Earlier this week, Queens Park Rangers’ midfielder Adel Taarabt came under fire from club coach Harry Redknapp, who accused the Moroccan international of drastically losing his physique.

“He’s not injured. He’s not fit. He’s not fit to play football unfortunately. He played in a reserve game the other day and I could have run about more than he did,” Redknapp claimed.

“I can’t pick him. I pick people who want to try, who deserve to be at a good football club like QPR, who come in every day and want to work, train and show a good attitude. When he starts doing that, if he ever can do it, maybe he’ll get a game.

“I can't keep protecting people who don’t want to run about and train, and are about three stone overweight. What am I supposed to keep saying? Keep getting your 60, 70 grand a week and don't train? What's the game coming to?”

Taarabt is definitely not the first to have to deal with such allegations.

KickOff.com takes a look at five who top our list, including three of Mzansi’s most recent porkers.

Collins Mbesuma

The Mpumalanga Black Aces frontman is definitely a physical presence on the pitch – yet a bit too much so for Vladimir Vermezovic at his previous club Orlando Pirates.

The Bucs mentor earlier this year felt the Zambian forward was in a good position to retire due to his unhealthy state.

"For Collins I realised at training that he is probably a player who knows more about football than most in our squad, but his body looks ready to retire and he is overweight," the Serbian claimed.


The Brazilian icon was a world superstar, turning out for the biggest clubs in Europe, including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Internazionale and AC Milan.

Yet in his final two years of his career, spent at Brazilian club Corinthians, the two-time Ballon d’Or winner definitely let his stomach get away from him a bit, but that did not stop him from scoring 18 goals in 31 matches in the swansong of his career.

Edward Manqele

In-limbo striker Edward Manqele was famously put on a ‘hlasela mafutha’ (fat attack) programme for six weeks by Mamelodi Sundowns for a carrying a little too much weight for his employer’s liking.

“Manqele has been left behind because he was ordered to do a ‘hlasela mafutha’ programme,” a Sundowns official told KickOff.com in July.

“After he is finished with the programme he can then start training with other players.”


Another great Brazilian striker who packed too much of a paunch.
An illustrious career with Italian giants inter Milan was soon forgotten as ill-discipline and lack of fitness resulted in a steady decline in the player’s career.

Eventually ending up back in Brazil with Corinthians, Adriano was once ‘detained’ in a hotel where Corinthians fitness coach Fabio Mahseredjian could monitor what he ate.

"In the hotel we have more control over him ... He knows we're trying to do the best for him. All of us are dedicated, but it depends on him. Weight loss comes only through diet: you cannot lose weight through physical activity alone."

Benni McCarthy

One of South Africa’s best exports definitely let it slip over the last few years of his playing career, and was famously fined £200,000 (R3.5 million) by English club West Ham in 2011 for failing to reach the club’s fitness targets.

This after joining from a successful spell at Premier League rivals Blackburn Rovers, where his body fat percentage was recorded at 24.2% - more than double that of a healthy athlete.

The ex-Bafana striker then joined Orlando Pirates after just 11 appearances for the Hammers, in what would be the last move of his career.


What other famous players in the PSL or abroad can you think of that haven’t been in the greatest shape of late?

Send us your answers in the comments section below!