Hair is something we can almost universally live without, and yet it is a very important part of a person’s life, from start to end. From your mother admonishing you to comb your hair to growing up in a world that takes extra notice of you because of your appearance – your hair plays an important part in your life (especially when you start losing hair).
Footballers are young men with a lot of time on their hands and a lot of time spent in the public spotlight. The combination – and fast exposure to celebrity status – means that taking care of their appearance becomes an important part of their daily routine, and that means proper hair care, or at the very least, hair loss treatment.
We can laugh at David Beckham’s array of haircuts over the years or Cristiano Ronaldo’s change of hairstyles during a match, but keep in mind that this condescending attitude to hair styling isn’t shared across most cultures. In fact, as CNN’s Pedro Pinto so aptly pointed out on a Guardian podcast during Euro 2012, other cultures place a great importance on personal grooming and do not create negative associations with hair care.
As modern media takes their coverage of celebrity life to a whole new level – as seen with the coverage of Rooney’s hair-loss treatment photos, Ronaldo’s post-Euro 2012 vacation with his family or practically anything David Beckham does off the pitch – players need to look their best at all times, and their hair plays a major role in that.
So here’s a look – in appreciation and no particular order – at footballers with great hair AND great footballing skills:
The Northern Irish national, George Best was well known for his quality on the field, good looks and long hair. He enjoyed a fantastic career with Manchester United and is known to be among the best footballers to have played the game.
David Beckham is the name that is known as far as the game of football is known. He may not possess the skills to be called the greatest but his hairstyles have been copied all over the world for nearly two decades. He came out from the youth ranks of Manchester United and Alex Ferguson made him a star that was desired by the likes of Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Another player to have had the chance to groom under the guidance of Sir Alex, the Portugal captain came to the Old Trafford club from Sporting CP and went on to play for Real Madrid. Ronaldo has been as extravagant with his hairstyle as his foot-work.
The latest sensation from Brazil that still has to make a mark in Europe and on international level but his skills and his interesting hairstyles have caught the attention of many. The Santos forward is a nominee for the 2012 Ballon d’Or.
When Dani Alves rose to fame at Sevilla, he supported spikey hair and a goatie and at Barcelona we saw him transform from a shaved head to thick beard.
Sergio Ramos did not only shift from a right back to a center back, he also transformed from the long-haired Spaniard to a normal-length-haired Spaniard. He has won two back-to-back European championships titles and the 2010 World Cup with Spain.