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Carlton defender Adam Saad has credited the holy month of Ramadan as the inspiration behind his outstanding AFL performances on return from a spell due to COVID-19.
A devout Muslim, Saad fasts from dawn to sunset throughout the annual observance and has found a way to balance his altered diet with playing commitments over eight AFL seasons.
The 27-year-old missed round three under health and safety protocols but found a rich vein of form during Ramadan, which was observed in April this year.
Saad averaged 23 disposals across four games in that period and was one of the Blues' best in their 50-point thumping of North Melbourne in round seven.
"It's the best month for Muslims all around the world," Saad told AAP.
"It's a month of forgiveness, it's a month of reflection and it's a month just to get closer to God.
"I love going through it and I feel like my form gets better through the month.
"God gives us the strength and the motivation just goes through the roof with your attention to detail and preparation."
Saad said he recovered well physically after COVID-19 symptoms limited his training program for a brief period.
"I had body aches and a bit of fatigue but it was only the first couple of days," he said.
"I only missed one week and I was rapt to get back the following week."
Saad is in his second year at Carlton after his high-profile switch from arch-rivals Essendon and is loving life under new Blues coach Michael Voss.
With a 5-2 start to the season, Carlton are well-placed to end an eight-year finals drought as they prepare to take on Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
"Vossy has been awesome," Saad said.
"He's built very strong relationships with everyone around the club and we've loved the fresh ideas and the fresh faces.
"It's more of an 18-man system and everyone playing their roles and celebrating little things.
"We're building strong belief and it's very exciting."