A lot is made of footballers’ haircuts in the modern game, most notably the likes of Paul Pogba, in which more is made of his appearance than his actual footballing ability.
Whilst the rise of social media has increased the discussion on a footballer’s appearance a lot more than it used to, that didn’t stop the games’ stars taking to the pitch in eccentric fashion back in the day.
You can bet your house on the fact that the players below would be the subject of ridicule all over the internet should they be playing their football today. However, luckily for them, their strange locks have slipped under the radar for far too long – but not anymore.
Here are six of the, erm, best (?) haircuts in World Cup history…
6. Ronaldo (Brazil) – 2002
A haircut that has become iconic, Ronaldo’s decision to shave all but the front of his head in the latter stages of the 2002 World Cup baffled everyone; although their was good reason behind it.
After a groin issue had the world talking about R9’s fitness in the build up to the semi finals, the forward decided to turn up for training the next day in unusual fashion.
“My groin was hurting. I was only at 60%. So I shaved my head. Everybody was only talking about my injury. When I arrived in training with this haircut everybody stopped talking about the injury.”
Fair enough, we suppose.
5. Gervinho (Ivory Coast) – 2014
One of football’s great unsolved mysteries; where, oh where, does Gervinho’s forehead actually begin?
The Ivory Coast forward often dons a headband to cover up his unfortunate hairline, but every so often, we are treated to a glimpse of the fascinating sight.
Just shave it off mate…
4. Carlos Valderrama (Colombia) – 1990, 1998
Regarded as Colombia’s greatest-ever player, winning South American footballer of the year twice, Carlos Valderrama definitely looked the part as well.
The Colombian number 10 captained his country in three successive World Cups, whilst his sheep-like perm has become an iconic look in the history of Colombian football.
3. Rene Higuita (Colombia) – 1990
Best known for for that ridiculous scorpion kick save – closely followed by his flowing locks – Rene Higuita just could not keep himself out of the spotlight.
Even in the picture above, the infamous keeper had gotten himself into a pickle after losing the ball to Roger Milla with his goal untended.
When he wasn’t being a calamitous figure in between the sticks, Higuita was always on the lips of football fans for his eccentric choices at the barbers.
2. Roberto Baggio (Italy) – 1994
An iconic player needs an iconic haircut, and in Roberto Baggio’s rat-tail, he had just that.
Whilst it may look scruffy to the untrained eye, Italy’s legendary number 10 left a legacy just by his haircut alone. His phenomenal dribbling skills looked all the more aesthetically pleasing with his tail flowing in the wind, whilst it also left a mark on the history of Italian football.
One thing’s for certain; thanks to Baggio, thousands of impressionable Italian children were almost definitely begging their parents to let them adopt the iconic look.
1. Taribo West (Nigeria) – 1998, 2002
Where to start? Just look at it.
Whatever was going through Taribo West’s mind when he decided to construct this monstrosity of a look is unfathomable. But credit where it’s due, the Nigeria international was definitely committed to it.
West donned the strange green locks for a large chunk of his career, with onlookers watching inquisitively as the long green strands diminished into the small stumps you can see above.
A sad demise.