MARC ILES' WORLD CUP SIDESHOW: Anything goes in hair-raising stakes

The Bolton News: OLD STYLE Bobby Charlton OLD STYLE Bobby Charlton

THE World Cup has a rich tradition of weird and wonderful haircuts and I’m glad to see this year’s tournament isn’t letting anyone down on the bizarre front.

In the past we have had Bobby Charlton’s comb-over, Jairzinho’s full-bodied afro, Carlos Valderama’s poodle-look and Roberto Baggio’s pony-tail.

The last couple of World Cups have been a complete let down. Perhaps it was all the rain in Germany and South Africa.

But in a country as flamboyant as Brazil, it seems anything goes. And for someone as follically challenged as myself – that gives me plenty of ammunition to throw ridicule their way, without the slightest hint of bitterness. Not a jot.

At the time of writing, Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t enjoyed a good tournament. It seems he got a suprise visit from Zorro judging by the marking shaved on the side of his head.

One of the World Cup’s other big superstars, Neymar, looks like someone has Photo-shopped Boris Johnson’s blonde locks on his head. Quite absurd.

Former Sunderland star Asamoah Gyan has put his lucky number of the side of his bonce, presumably in case he forgets it, while Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje has got the look of Mr T’s Clubber Laing from Rocky III with his Mohawk.

You can always count on the Americans for a wacky hairstyle (sorry Stu Holden) as anyone who can remember Cobi Jones or Alexi Lalas will attest.

This year’s squad have a brilliant coiffeur in Kyle Beckerman, the all-action midfielder who looks a bit like a bearded Medusa.

France’s Olivier Giroud sports a gravity-defying parting that balances precariously on his head thanks to the application of copious amounts of hair gel. I am yet to see him head the ball.

Speaking of which, Giroud’s international team-mate Paul Pogba has a yellow streak – although his dissects the top of his head.

And where would we be in a discussion about hairstyles unless we mentioned Marouane Fellaini?

The Belgian powerhouse has promised to shave off his famous bouffant style if Belgium win the World Cup but I doubt there is a set of clippers out there powerful enough to do the job.

In the Brazilian humidity his hair seems to have gained volume, like Monica in Friends when they visited the Bahamas.

Fairly soon, the referee will be ordering players to take shade under Fellaini while they take a rehydration break.

But I think Cameroon’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto eclipses even Fellaini in the hair stakes this tournament. Not only does the Spurs star wear a head-band, making his head look a bit like a mushroom, but he also inexplicably chose to head-butt his team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo during their recent defeat to Brazil. Presumably it didn’t hurt at all.

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