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
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...
9. Taribo West, Nigeria, 1998
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.
8. Ronaldo, Brazil, 2002
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.
7. David De Gea, Spain, 2018
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.
6. David Beckham, England, 2002
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
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
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
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
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
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.