With each passing week it seems that Lionel Messi scores another goal, breaks another record and assists Barcelona in battling it out on domestic and European fronts.

Why, just a dew days ago he was hailed for one of the greatest performances of his life as Barcelona completely outplayed Manchester City in a classic Champions League encounter.

However, just a few short months ago things were very different.

Barcelona were struggling in the league and Messi was struggling with his form, whilst his arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo banged in the goals at a terrifying rate of knots.

For the second successive season Messi surrendered the Ballon d’Or to the Portuguese superstar and could do very little to stop Real Madrid from opening a healthy lead at the top of La Liga.

That has all changed, however, with the Argentine now surpassing Ronaldo atop the La Liga scoring charts with 32 goals to his name and with the Catalan club one point ahead of their rivals in La Liga.

According to Spanish newspaper AS, the reason behind Messi’s superb form is a 3.5 kg weight loss  – that’s half a stone, for those over the age of 30.

And how has he done it? Simply by cutting pizza out of his diet.

You’d think that the rigours of training and playing top level football would keep anyone fit regardless of calorie intake, but Messi is just the latest star to prove that theory wrong. And when you hear that the Argentine was apparently chomping his way through a few slices even before matches, it’s easy to see how he could have overdone it.

Those days are behind him now, though. The Barca front man is looking as lean as ever and will go into this weekend’s Clasico hungry for goals, not Italian food.