1) Rene Higuita
"I'm tired of being ugly Rene, I want to be handsome Rene," explained former Colombian goalkeeping legend Higuita before undergoing an estimated $50,000 worth of cosmetic enhancements in 2005.
Once voted his country's "ugliest icon", the man famous for his scorpion kick had a silicone chin implant, a skin peel, nose surgery and aggressive liposuction on live TV show Cambio Extremo. After hiding out for a month, he emerged a new man – almost. "Bodily, I'm now perfect," claimed the none-too-modest Higuita.
2) Djibril Cisse
"For me, clothes are simply an extension of my personality," claimed the sartorially obsessed France striker Djibril Cisse after signing for QPR in 2012. That being the case, Cisse must have been the most larger-than-life footballer to have ever played the game.
The man who admitted his passion was "sourcing new designer labels and thinking about my look" regularly sported outfits depicting him as a superhero, a hitman, and "a man in touch with my feminine side... I have no problem wearing a skirt when the occasion dictates." Cisse confessed to spending a "small fortune" on clothes and boots and also changed his hairstyle (and colour) on what seemed like a weekly basis. "I'm not averse to people noticing me," he once said. No kidding, Djibril.
3) Charlie Nicholas
"Well Charlie, one of us has got it wrong," laughed former Arsenal midfielder Graham Rix after agreeing to meet new signing Nicholas in his local for a couple of beers after the latter’s arrival at Highbury in 1983.
Rix, donning a pullover, jeans and trainers, was left open-mouthed when his more fashion-conscious team-mate strolled into the pub wearing an all-white leather suit and Italian shoes with no socks. "He looked like something out of Duran Duran," Rix said as Nicholas, who modelled for various High Street brands throughout his Highbury career, admitted "leather trousers aren't everyone's cup of tea."
They certainly weren't Rix's. "I think Charlie thought he was football's version of Jim Morrison, but he was never going to get that kind of adulation at Highbury,” he joked.
4) Andrei Arshavin
When Arshavin wasn’t busy moaning about women drivers (“they’re just not up to the standard of men”) or British taxes (“they’re excessive and downright stupid”) throughout his frustrating four-year spell at Arsenal, the local hairdressers were a group of people likely to incur his wrath.
After Arshavin signed for the Gunners in January 2009, his wife Yulia insisted upon bringing the couple's personal stylist Denis Volkov to London whenever he was needed. "Andrei can afford to fly me over," explained Volkov, “and both he and Yulia distrust hairdressers in London."
Arshavin even had his hair cut extra short just before he jetted over to London in order to save his hard-earned money for a few more weeks; even millionaire footballers have to watch the pennies, you know.
Arsene Wenger takes off Arshavin's hat, the spoilsport
5) Paul Gascoigne
“People can take the piss all they want,” blasted England star Gascoigne in August 1990, “but I know I look the business when I wear them.” Gazza, of course, was referring to the job lot of shellsuits he splashed out on after returning home from Italia 90. The Tottenham man duly wore them on every major occasion, whether it was in the official music video of Fog on the Tyne, or when sporting a pair of false breasts upon his return to England after the 1990 World Cup. Like Gazza himself, the shellsuit quickly fell from grace. "I still reckon I looked good in them suits," Gazza insisted in 2010.
6) Gareth Seddon
Having spent many years working in semi–professional football, Salford City’s joint manager Anthony Johnson was used to players being unavailable because of work commitments. Losing top scorer Seddon to a modelling assignment – which meant the striker missed two crucial matches as Salford pushed for promotion from the Evo–Stik North in 2015 - was a whole new ball game for him, however. “He asked to go away for a week to Germany, which we weren’t happy about. We could have said no, but we didn’t want him to miss out and have a sulk on so we let him go.” Seddon returned, was mocked by his team-mates and then played brilliantly as Salford achieved their goal of promotion to the Northern Premier League. “He looked after himself superbly,” admitted boss Johnson. A model pro indeed.
Football shirt off, modelling one on
7) Cristiano Ronaldo
Shortly after signing for Manchester United from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo confessed to being “obsessed” with clothes and fashion. “Although I come from humble roots, some have accused me of being vain,” he said. Surely not. As his star ascended at Old Trafford, Ronaldo soon became a bona fide fashion icon, a process that accelerated following his move to Real Madrid.
A much sought-after target for clothing designers and fashion magazines, Ronaldo opened his first fashion boutique under the name “CR7” in Madeira in 2006; nothing wrong with that, of course, although many have pointed out that the ludicrously expensive designer gear and permatan have probably done him few favours down the years. After being booed by Dinamo Zagreb fans in Croatia, Ronaldo claimed: “It's surely because I'm good looking, rich and a great footballer. They're jealous of me. I don't have any other explanation.” FFT can think of one or two, Ronny...
8) David Beckham
Beckham may once have described Sir Alex Ferguson as “like a father to me”, but that didn’t stop the Scot selling Golden Balls to Real Madrid in 2003. The reason? “David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson,” insisted, erm, Alex Ferguson in his book titled Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography. Fergie claimed he had become uncomfortable with the celebrity aspect of Becks’ lifestyle as early as 2000, when the United boss was told by one of the 20 photographers gathered at Carrington that he and his colleagues were present because “David’s revealing his new haircut tomorrow”.
In order to keep said style a secret, Beckham wore a beanie hat at all times in the 24 or so hours before United’s match with Leicester City that weekend. “Is that what all the fuss was about?” barked his manager after clapping eyes on Becks’ shaved head. “He was already being swallowed up by publicity agents and became fascinated with the latest look,” the curmudgeonly Fergie later harrumphed.
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