The 10 Most Iconic World Cup Hairstyles

Published 16th Nov 2022 by Josie Jackson
The 10 Most Iconic World Cup Hairstyles Ahead of The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off later this month, hair experts at Chris & Sons have ranked the top 10 most iconic world cup hairstyles to date.

Andrew Vassiliou, Director of Chris & Sons, says: “We’ve all seen or heard of elite sports people performing ritual movements before competitions. From the outside looking in it may seem odd and strange; however, in all sports, superstitions and rituals are widespread and very common practice.”

“When it comes to the World Cup, one of the most evident superstitions is the haircuts. Some players refuse to cut their hair until something happens. Other players refuse to let it grow back out until certain events happen. And then others opt for a wild and wacky hairstyle to mark the event.”

The 10 Most Iconic World Cup Hairstyles of All Time, Ranked by Hair Experts:

10. William Troost-Ekong’s Green Streak of ‘18
Although the superstar defender for Nigeria has had many questionable hairstyles over the years, his dramatic green stripe on top of a low bald fade during the 2018 World Cup was one of his most iconic.


9. Roberto Baggio’s Braided Mullet of ‘94
The attacking midfielder Roberto Baggio revealed his braided mullet, famously known as ‘the divine ponytail’ during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. His eccentric hairstyle became so popular that half of his fans began to style their hair in the same way.


8. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Buzz Crew Cut of ‘18
The Portuguese striker fashioned his unique haircut during the 2018 World Cup that was a slight cross between a buzz cut and a crew cut and has a high hard part razored in. This set a trend for men all around the world that year and is still pretty popular to this day. In addition to being a little more stylish than a traditional buzz cut, it is a good haircut for men with coarse or frizzy hair.


7. Rodrigo Palacio’s Rat Tail of ‘14
Rodrigo Palacio received a lot of attention at the 2014 FIFA World Cup for his throwback rat tail haircut. Many have speculated that this was the worst haircut in World Cup history, but we think it was iconic


6. Taribo West’s Green Braids of ‘98
Nigerian defender Taribo West was a distinctive feature of his country at the 1998 World Cup, thanks to his haircut. He appeared with his green braided hair, which matches the colour of his national team shirt, and kept this tradition up by appearing in different hair colours according to the colours of the clubs he played in.


5. David De Gea’s Man Bun of ‘18
One of the more modern iconic World Cup hairstyles comes from Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea and his man bun. Many have tried to recreate this hairstyle, but be warned, it’s not for everyone. Our top tips: Go long! Tie your hair back and up into a bun shape. Keep it low for a more masculine finish.


4. Gerd Müller's Mullet of ‘74
Gerd Müller's mullet throughout 1974 was one of the first ever iconic FIFA World Cup hairstyles. Although mullets were quite popular at this time, Müller still had an influence and many began copying his iconic hairdo.


3. David Beckham’s Mohawk of ‘02
David Beckham’s mohawk took England by storm in the summer of '02.  The hairstyle, which he launched at the FIFA World Cup defined a generation, and the iconic hairstyle was copied by young men all across England that year.


2. Romania’s Bleach Blonde Team of '98
Why did the Romania FIFA World Cup team die their hair bleached blonde? This was probably one of the most asked questions in 1998! The iconic hairstyle instilled and inspired a sense of team spirit, not only within the team, but throughout the entire country.


1. Ronaldo’s Shaved Patch of ‘02
The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid striker sported a shaved head, except for a semi-circle-shaped patch on his forehead ahead of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The iconic hairstyle - if you can call it that - inspired men all over the world to do the same, and the bizarre hairstyle was seen everywhere you went.

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 16th Nov 2022

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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