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Saheed Adebayo Akinfenwa is the world’s strongest footballer

Akinfenwa was born in Islington, london. As a teenager, Akinfenwa started his football career when he joined the Lithuanian club FK Atlantas on the advice of his agent, whose Lithuanian wife’s brother knew a member of the coaching staff there.

Saheed Adebayo Akinfenwa, 30, is 16st, 5ft 10inch and with 16 goals to his name in League Two this season. According to video game FIFA 13 he is the world’s strongest player.

He said ‘I’m a naturally big guy and my whole game style is ball retention and strength,’
‘I know how to tailor my body and fitness plan to my game. I’m not saying if I get too big it won’t affect my game, but I know my body and know what will improve my game.’

His hulking frame has not always been a blessing, however, and often proved a burden in his youth.

Big from an early age — a result of Nigerian heritage and a childhood of starchy food — Akinfenwa struggled to get people to see past his size.

‘Managers would say: “We think you’ve got ability but you’re not fit enough”,’ he recalls.

Released by Watford at 18, Akinfenwa went to Lithuania, then Wales, and through 10 clubs in eight years, including four in one year b now settled at Northampton, although his contract is up  at the end of the season,  Akinfenwa admits he is more comfortable in his own skin, but concedes some people may never accept his size.

‘I don’t fit the stereotypical perception of what a footballer should be,’ he says. ‘People look at me and feel footballers should be 10 stone and able to run around all the time. I’ve just taken to accepting it.

‘It’s part and parcel of football. People don’t understand what they don’t know and like to stick things in boxes. I don’t let things like that affect me so much now.’
 

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