Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

The 10 most memorable World Cup hairstyles of all time

From corkscrew curls to wondrous afros, with some contemporary spaghetti for good measure, here are the most notable tournament locks

Neymar of Brazil switches up his hairstyle often, but almost always looks good. EPA 
Neymar of Brazil switches up his hairstyle often, but almost always looks good. EPA 

The World Cup may be about football, but it is also an excuse for men to don their chicest strips and strut their stuff on a global stage.

A crucial part of a man’s look is his choice of coiffure, and how a man styles his hair speaks volumes about how he wants to be viewed. With so many players all vying to be alpha male during this World Cup, we take a look at the 10 best cuts that the global tournament has ever produced.

10. Carlos Valderrama, Colombia, 1994

Carlos Valderama (Colombia) in action during a first round match of the 1994 FIFA World Cup against USA. USA won 2-1. (Photo by Christian Liewig/TempSport/Corbis via Getty Images)

A lion's mane of corkscrew curls that brings to mind the myth of Samson, whose strength lay in his hair. While the dodgy blond dye job does lend a whiff of Komondor dog, there is no mistaking the sheer splendour of his crown of orange frizz.

Which lives on today...

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9. Taribo West, Nigeria, 1998

24 Jun 1998: Taribo West of Nigeria tries an overhead kick during the World Cup group D game against Paraguay at the Stade Municipal in Toulouse, France. Nigeria lost 3-1. \ Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster /Allsport

Random sprigs of green braids tied in schoolgirl bunches is not really a look any grown man should attempt and still expect to look his fellow man in the eye, yet somehow, West managed to pull this off with pizzazz. Bizarre and colourful, the sheer brazenness is impressive.

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8. Ronaldo, Brazil, 2002

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JUNE 30: WM 2002 in JAPAN und KOREA, Yokohama; Match 64/FINALE/DEUTSCHLAND - BRASILIEN (GER - BRA); JUBEL RONALDO/BRA nach seinem TOR zum 0:2 (Photo by Sandra Behne/Bongarts/Getty Images)

When Ronaldo turned up with a semi-moon of fluff stuck to his forehead, the world was a little surprised, to say the least. We have since learnt that it was a way to draw conversation away from the injury he was carrying – and for that we say bravo. To knowingly make a mockery of yourself in front of three billion people takes guts.

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7. David De Gea, Spain, 2018

epa06825578 Goalkeeper David de Gea of Spain celebrates the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Iran and Spain in Kazan, Russia, 20 June 2018. (RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial Use Only, not used in association with any commercial entity - Images must not be used in any form of alert service or push service of any kind including via mobile alert services, downloads to mobile devices or MMS messaging - Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage - No alteration is made to, and no text or image is superimposed over, any published image which: (a) intentionally obscures or removes a sponsor identification image; or (b) adds or overlays the commercial identification of any third party which is not officially associated with the FIFA World Cup) EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
De Gea celebrates Spain's 1-0 lead during their 2018 World Cup game against Iran. EPA

A veteran of many hairstyles, the latest incarnation of the man-bun is a keeper for goalie De Gea. Sides and back are kept short and neat, while the bun sits correctly on the back (not top) of the head, for a manly, brooding look. Balanced well with a groomed beard.

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6. David Beckham, England, 2002

OSAKA - JUNE 12: David Beckham of England leads the team out before the FIFA World Cup Finals 2002 Group F match between England and Nigeria played at the Osaka-Nagai Stadium, in Osaka, Japan on June 12, 2002. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. DIGITAL IMAGE. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

A true devotee of ever-evolving hair, Beckham looked his best at the 2002 World Cup sporting a mohawk. Clearly wishing to be taken seriously as a man, he dispensed with the boy-band blonde mop, and arrived instead looking like Travis Bickle.

5. William Troost-Ekong, Nigeria, 2018

VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 22: William Ekong of Nigeria reacts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Iceland at Volgograd Arena on June 22, 2018 in Volgograd, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
William Troost-Ekong during Nigeria's 2018 World Cup match against Iceland. Getty

The sheer swag of this Nigerian defender dying his hair to match his country's strip is breathtaking. Being clad in lime green is one thing. Adding a diagonal streak of it to your hair is on an entirely different level.

4. Alexi Lalas, United States, 1994

UNITED STATES - JUNE 22: FUSSBALL: WM 1994 in USA, 22.06.94 USA - COL 2:1, Los Angeles, Alexi LALAS, Marcelo BALBOA, SORBER, Paul CALIGIURI - USA MAUER - (Photo by Michael Kunkel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

With his haze of red curls – which extended to his moustache and beard – Lalas resembled a hybrid of Bjorn Borg, ZZ Top and Colonel Sanders. A fan of holding his flowing tresses in place with a jaunty headband, he only needs a hammer to take his rightful place in the Marvel Universe.

3. Cho Hyun-woo, South Korea, 2018

Soccer Football - World Cup - South Korea Training - Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia - June 17, 2018 South Korea's Cho Hyun-woo during training REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Already a celebrity in his home country for his ever-changing looks, it’s good to see his follicles getting the global recognition they deserve. A crest of nut-brown hair that defies gravity running upward from occipital bone to forehead, and sits with a devil-may-care curl like he just stepped out of a salon.

2. Marouane Fellaini, Belgium, 2018

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 23: Marouane Fellaini of Belgium looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Belgium and Tunisia at Spartak Stadium on June 23, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The natural successor to Valderrama, Fellaini’s afro is a thing of wonder. Wisely adopted as his signature look years ago, its upkeep involves keeping it trimmed off his shoulders and letting the curls do all the work.

1. Neymar, Brazil, 2018

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group E - Brazil vs Costa Rica - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 22, 2018 Brazil's Neymar looks dejected after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Neymar Jr is another man who likes to switch up his look on a regular basis, so how best to describe his recent upswept porcupine coiffure? In short, you may be cool, but you will never be playing football for your country, at the World Cup, while being-trolled-by-Eric-Cantona cool.


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Updated: June 26, 2018 12:38 PM