A History of the World Cup in 14 Bad Haircuts

Ronaldo of Brazil
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

The World Cup is here, and with it comes nearly 3.4 billion pairs of eyes who are forced to watch 32 teams of players who have truly bad haircuts run around on their TV screens. Not trying to be harsh, but it’s true that soccer players are the worst-dressed subgroup of male celebrities on Earth, and have the hairstyles to match their expensively distressed jeans, deep V’s, and overly fitted blazers. For ultra-famous people who have incredible bodies and make more money than basically any other athletes on Earth—Argentina’s Lionel Messi reportedly brings in $667,000 a week—there’s no excuse for this. And with each World Cup, the peacock dial only gets turned up—the more creative your rattail and the louder your dye job, the better you’ll play, apparently. (False.) Here, a history of the truly tragic haircuts that will never be forgotten in World Cup history. Not even David Beckham is immune.

Brazil’s Ronaldo, 2002

Apparently, Ronaldo now claims that this haircut was a tactical distraction from his leg injury during the 2002 World Cup. We think this is his tactical distraction from the worst haircut of all time.

Italy’s Roberto Baggio, 1994

It’s hard to say what Baggio will be more remembered for, his missed penalty to lose the 1994 World Cup or this rattail.

USA’s Brek Shea, 2009 (U20 World Cup)

No horses were harmed in the making of this hair cut.

Argentina’s Rodrigo Palacio, 2014

I don’t know much about Rodrigo Palacio of Argentina. But I know I don’t like whatever this is.

Portugal’s Nani, 2014

Yes, thanks, we know. It’s also on the back of your jersey.

Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan, 2014


France’s Paul Pogba, 2014

Usually, the convention is the better you are at soccer the more crazy your hair is allowed to be. Pogba is really good—but is he this good?

Brazil’s Neymar, 2014

There’s a long history of frosted tips and botched dye jobs among soccer players, from which Neymar is not immune.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, 2006

Who knew Jonathan Taylor Thomas was this good at soccer?

Belgium’s Marouane Fellaini, 2014

“What should I do if they pull me by the hair? It sounds like a joke, but it really hurts,” Fellaini once said. So it’s real!

England’s Chris Waddle, 1990

The infinity pool of hairstyles.

Ivory Coast’s Gervinho, 2010

This is what is known in math circles as an asymptote.

England’s David Beckham, 2002

Patient zero of the faux hawk epidemic.

Italy’s Mario Balotelli, 2014

It’s still a worldwide issue.