Footballing flair – A look at changing hairstyles of the world game

Footballers have had a number of different looks and styles over the years. Some have been more successful than others and some have even reached iconic status. Here FourFourTwo have partnered with Beijing 101 to explore eight well known styles from football history...

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1. David Beckham, late 1990s

If we’re going to start talking about hairstyles and footballers there’s really only one place to start – David Beckham.

From the late 1990s well into the new millennium, Beckham’s ever-changing style was a constant talking point, almost as much as his exploits on the pitch.

We begin with those bleached, parted curtains that arrived soon after he began dating Posh Spice.

The word at the time was he became so sick of teenage boys attempting to copy the boy band-esque look, it led to his next move, shaving it all off and starting again.

2. Ronaldo, World Cup 2002

This was another haircut that shocked all that witnessed it and brought about plenty of mockery.

Did the clippers explode before the crew cut could be completed? Was he given the haircut in the dark?

But in the end, the hefty magician would have the last laugh, scoring eight goals to win the golden boot and lead Brazil to a fifth title.

3. Marouane Fellaini, present

The Belgian has also been the subject of mockery for his impressive afro-style ‘do, outside of previous club Everton, where he was something of a cult hero.

He then had a tough time following his big-money move to Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal, but he has silenced some of the critics with some important contributions under Jose Mourinho.

So just to make sure some of that mockery continued, he decided to put a rinse through it ahead of the 2016 European Championships. Only he knows why…

4. Djibril Cisse, ongoing

The Frenchman put a huge amount of effort into his hair – and not just that which appeared on the top of his head.

An incredibly talented attacker, injuries prevented him from realising his full potential, including two broken legs.

But he did pick up Champions League and FA Cup medals from his time with Liverpool, plus a reputation for dedication to his hair follicles.

5. David Beckham, 2003

Time for another stop on the Becks show. To celebrate his move to Spain to join Real Madrid, Beckham decided to tap into his fashionista roots – pardon the pun – and grow out his locks.

It resulted in, thankfully, a rather brief appearance with a double ponytail.

The former England captain didn’t enjoy much on-field success with his Galactico teammates.

We’re not saying this haircut was the reason, but we’re also not saying that it wasn’t.

6. Sergio Ramos, circa 2010

No, Sergio. So much no.

Ramos has had an exceptional, trophy-laden career, whether it’s on a personal, club or country level. World Cups, Champions League, domestic titles, Euro dream teams, he has them all and more.

On the hair front, he’s generally known for long flowing locks earlier in his career and then a very sensible short, back and sides, both of which are more or less acceptable for the odd brethren that are defenders.

This, however, is less than acceptable.

You’re a very good footballer Sergio, but very few people – if any – are cornrows-on-top, flowing-locks-by-the-neck good.

7. George Best, 1960s

It’s only fair to throw a more historical hairstyle into our list and we’ve opted for the audaciously talented Northern Irishman, George Best.

As Beatlemania was taking hold, Best’s dazzling footwork and goalscoring ability emerged while playing for Manchester United, catapulting him into the spotlight while still a teenager.

His mop-top hairstyle quickly earned him the nickname ‘the fifth Beatle’.

Sadly Best’s later years were punctuated by years of problems related to alcohol, passing away at the age of 59 back in 2005. But any younger readers unaware of Best’s ability should Google him. It’s worth it.

8. David James, career

For our final entry, we could have gone a number of ways.

Roberto Baggio’s superb business-at-the-front, party-at-the-back mullet from the 1994 World Cup deserves special mention, as do Harry Kewell’s own attempt at a double ponytail and any number of Beckham’s other looks.

But for sheer creativity and dedication to the craft, we’ve decided to opt for a goalkeeper – the one and only David James.

If the 194cm gloveman didn’t already stand out enough, he made sure of it with a series of outlandish haircuts over the course of his 25-year career at the top level.

Cornrows, an afro, some kind of slicked over parted number – that’s the best description we can come up with – plus a series of alternating colours, James tried it all.

You can see a montage of just a few above, courtesy of

To his credit, a man that earned the nickname "Calamity" also had an outstanding career, including donning the gloves for England at Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup.

So that's our list. Now, Beijing 101 and FourFourTwo would like to reward you with an opportunity to win some terrific prizes.

If you click on that link and fill in your basic details, the top prize is a football jersey of your choice*.

Ten other lucky winners will walk away with a Hair Care Travel Kit (worth $68) and a $20 shopping voucher to spend at Weston.

So what are you waiting for? Click on this link for your chance to win!

90% visible results – Beijing 101 Hair Consultants have been solving hair loss issues for 43 years. They are dedicated to treating common hair issues such as hair scalp concerns, greying hair, premature or excessive white hair and various patterns of hair loss problems. Beijing 101 have won various multiple international awards across different countries.

*Subject to availability