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How do you feed top footballers?

Fascinating answers come from experts inside four national team camps in the latest edition of The Technician, UEFA’s technical and coaching publication.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini serves himself lunch during a training camp
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini serves himself lunch during a training camp ©Juventus FC via Getty images

Eat for Victory - read the article

Today’s top-level footballers are thoroughbred athletes trained, tuned and prepared to achieve the peak fitness needed to produce maximum performance week in, week out on the domestic and international stage.

But how do you feed them to maintain and nurture the level of fitness required to cope with the high-speed, high-stakes demands of the modern-day elite game?

A key factor is that players must know and look after their bodies, and have experts on hand to help them to do so – not only through physical and skills training, but also in terms of what they eat and how they ‘“fuel’” themselves…

Juventus players eating lunch at a training camp last summer
Juventus players eating lunch at a training camp last summer©Juventus FC via Getty images

Crucial specialist advice and instructions are given to footballers about their diets – and the whole subject is analysed in depth in Eat for Victory, published in the latest edition of The Technician, the technical and coaching supplement which appears inside the official UEFA magazine UEFA Direct.

Balancing act

So what is the best way to feed footballers?

Responses from experts working with four national teams – Croatia, Hungary, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland – show that the challenge is to find a balance between providing fuel to high-performance athletes and giving them food they enjoy.

The Tottenham team, together with a young ball boy, at their pre-match lunch ahead of an English Premier League game last November
The Tottenham team, together with a young ball boy, at their pre-match lunch ahead of an English Premier League game last November©Getty Images

These are just some of the topics addressed as The Technician delves into an essential facet of a top footballer’s daily life.

• The various approaches to nutrition

• Players’ food intake in the run-up to matches

• ‘Refuelling’ between games

• Eating routines

• Cultural habits

• Meeting special dietary needs, e.g. vegetarian players

Special features

Eat for Victory is accompanied by a trio of topical features:

• Former Arsenal and England defender Lee Dixon talks about how his dietary habits were changed by the London club’s long-serving coach Arsène Wenger.

©UEFA

• Eat for Goals – a recipe app endorsed by UEFA, the World Heart Federation and the European Commission shows youngsters and parents how to prepare recipes chosen by some of the world’s top stars.

• Asker Jeukendrup, a professor of exercise metabolism based in England, answers questions on the science of sports nutrition.

Read the Champions Journal article – “On the Plate” – the favourite food and pre-match meals of the European game’s rising stars

UEFA Direct 190 is available in digital form in English, French and German 

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