8 ultimate football glow-ups as ugly ducklings become hunks – including Ronaldo

When footballers burst onto the scene, they often only have one thought on their mind: making sure they succeed no matter what.

Years of progressing through the ranks has built to their make or break moment, which is all that matters to them.

As a result, most don't give a second thought to their appearance in the early stages of their career.

However, once they've secured their spot in the sport and made mega bucks, their attention can turn to working on themselves instead.

And that has led to some incredible glow-ups through the years. Daily Star Sport is taking you through eight of the best.

Declan Rice

West Ham's Declan Rice has established himself as one of the Premier League's best midfielders at the age of just 23, but it's not just his football that's impressive.

He looks totally different to the skinny young man who made his England debut with a standard short back and sides.

Nowadays Rice dominates on the pitch thanks to his insanely muscular physique and looks good doing it too with his flowing curtains hairstyle.

Gary Neville

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Gary, if you're reading this, we're sorry – but you were definitely the ugly duckling of the Class of '92.

While Rice's curtain are majestic, Neville's were questionable, and his trim didn't get much better throughout his Manchester United playing days.

Since turning to punditry he's chopped it back and adopted a much more suave appearance, though.

Cristiano Ronaldo

As well as death and taxes, there's one other certainty in life: no one will top Cristiano Ronaldo's glow-up.

When he arrived on English soil in 2003, the then 18-year-old had the teeth and dress sense of someone 60 years his senior and a terrible slicked back hairstyle.

Of course, after thousands upon thousands of hours in the gym and an improvement in his life choices, CR7 is now the envy of every male on planet Earth.

Antonio Conte

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte made the brave decision to get a hair transplant long before they were a well-discussed topic in the early 2000s.

He was clearly unhappy with the severe issues he'd been having, which were often focused on more than his performances.

The 52-year-old Italian has had the last laugh because he nows looks rejuvenated and youthful on the touchline.

Sergio Ramos

In the early days of his career Sergio Ramos sported long hair, and it did him absolutely no favours whatsoever.

Fast forward a few years and he finally got the mop cut, which combined with a new thick beard made him look incredibly handsome while flying into challenges for Real Madrid and Spain.

Ramos, who is also now shredded to the max, has since grown his hair out again, but he's learnt from his earlier mistakes and keeps it tied up in a smart look for PSG games.

Luke Chadwick

Former United midfielder Luke Chadwick was relentlessly targeted for his appearance during his career and became the butt of a joke on TV panel show 'They Think It’s All Over'.

He opened up about how it impacted his mental health in 2020, and then received apologies from presenting pair Gary Lineker and Nick Hancock.

Chadwick looks like a completely different man now, with his infamous braces long gone and a shaved looked suiting him very well.

Leon Goretzka

While Ronaldo's may be the most impressive, Leon Goretzka's glow-up was by far and away the quickest – he went from skin and bones to Popeye seemingly overnight!

Before the 2020 lockdown the Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder looked as though a slight gust of wind could blow him over.

He made the most of the time off and hit the gym like a mad man, so by the time the season resumed he had become football's muscle man. Incredible stuff.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has epitomised the phrase 'ageing like fine wine' both on and off the pitch.

With every of the seven Ballon d'Or's he has collected, the legend of the game looked better and better, though it could only go up from his initial out of control hairstyle.

Much like Ramos, cutting it short and growing a beard brought about a massive upgrade and he is now very attractive as a player and as a man.

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