MEET Britain’s most ripped footballer.
Muscle man Leon Scott, 34, currently plays for West Auckland Town F.C., competing in the ninth tier of the English football league system.
But you may recognise the handsome ex-Darlington FC midfielder from one of his many fashion campaigns.
Leon got into modelling when he was asked to wear Sik Silk’s first ever clothing range in 2012.
From there, he has appeared on billboards in the US and starred in campaigns for JD Sports and Footasylum – working as both a fashion and fitness model.
“I always wanted to feature in a magazine or in a fashion shoot, but I knew with my size I was too small,” he told SunSport.
“As a kid I always had to eat a lot of carbs, because otherwise I’d lose a lot of weight.
“I educated myself and learned what I needed to do to bring my weight and muscle mass up.
“I needed to be very careful with that because I was still playing football at a decent standard, and once you become a certain size there’s a borderline between being a fashion model and a fitness model, and I wanted to be both.
“Whatever I do I go all in. I knew I was playing at a good level but it was about where I was going to progress my career more.
“I was honest with myself, I probably wasn’t the best of footballers, but I was always the first one in and last one out.”
For super-fit Leon, training didn’t end after a two-hour session with his club.
While many players would head home and rest, the County Durham boy from a council estate would push his body further.
“I would lift weights for an hour and half, then potentially finish on a high-intensity circuit.
“My output of energy was very high, which is why I always ate lots of carbs.
“If I wanted to put more size on, I would eat 200, 300 and potentially 500 more calories than required.
“For me, it was about slowly building myself up with my strength. And that’s how I found myself getting bigger over time.
“My day-to-day diet would start with oats with some blueberries, that would be my go-to breakfast each morning.
“Mid-morning I would have two eggs, a protein bar. Then lunchtime I would eat chicken, rice and vegetable or jacket potato and tuna.
“Just before I train, I always have something high in sugar like a chocolate bar, bowl of Rice Krispies or two or three bananas.
“After that, I would have my protein shake. I eat sometimes up till 10 or 11 o’clock.
“I would say I eat around 2,800 to around 3,500 calories per-day.”
Leon’s start to his modelling career came from an unlikely place.
Starring for Whitby Town FC, he was scouted by Sik Silk – a brand now worn by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – to pose in their clobber.
“I was playing for Whitby Town and a young guy approached me after the game and said he had a clothing brand and if I’d be interested in modelling it.
“A few people had said to me in the past I should model, but I never really took it on board.
“I did do a shoot for him, I did it for free down an alley in Scarborough.
“Then the brand just blew up and I started getting loads of people reaching out and asking if I would model for them.”
Soon, JD Sports, Footasylum and many more clothing houses approached Leon and made him their poster-boy.
“It was surreal,” he said.
“I was just a small kid from a council estate and I was doing campaigns all over the world, in LA, New York and Las Vegas.
“Then I started seeing my face on shop windows. It didn’t feel real.”
Scott, who then signed for Darlington, revealed his team-mates were delighted for him.
But he’s most thankful to his former understanding boss and close pal, Martin Gray
“Football being football, the lads have their banter. They were all sound about it and congratulated me.
“But football started getting hard. I would get offered campaigns that were shot over the weekend.
“I had to explain to my manager what the payment was and what I was doing, but I was lucky that he would let me go.
“He knew I loved playing football and gave my all, so it was a hard choice for me.
“He would say, ‘We’ve got a game next Saturday. That campaign in LA won’t happen next Saturday.’ So if I wanted to do it, I could come back next week.”
Behind every great man is a greater woman. Leon’s longterm partner Melissa Jacques has supported him as a footballer and fashion model.
They laid eyes on one another in a gym 17-years ago, when she had a better six-pack than his working as a personal trainer.
“She met me when I was at Middlesbrough as a youth player,” Scott revealed.
“We’ve been together for 17-years, and she knew me first as a footballer and then as a fitness and fashion model.
“It was a bit hard for her at the time because my face was everywhere and I did get contacted by women on Instagram.
“But there’s always been a lot of trust between us. If there were ever any issues, we always talked things through.
“I think that’s why our relationship has always been so strong 17-years later.”