The History of the World Cup

The History of the World Cup

The 2018 World Cup has arrived, and 3.4 billion people have been glued to their screens, cheering on their country… and judging some of the horrendous hairstyles in motion. We’re not trying to be cruel but, historically, football players have been guilty of sporting some truly hellish hairstyles while playing the great game. From dye jobs to rat-tails, mohawks to mullets; below we take a look at some of the World Cup footballers that will be remembered more for their tragic haircuts than their fancy footwork...

Chris Waddle, England, 1990

The first crime against style is our very own Chris Waddle, sporting a mullet that would make Billy Ray Cyrus jealous back in 1990! Though Waddle experimented with many styles over the years, it’s his trademark mullet which will forever be remembered in the Footballers’ Haircut Hall of Shame.

Rudi Voller, Germany, 1990

Rudi Voller’s permed mullet gave him the nickname “Tante Kathe” in his native Germany, which loosely translates to “Aunt Kathy” in English. If that wasn’t bad enough, the centre-forward’s hair also made headlines after a memorable falling out with Frank Rijkaard in a match at the 1990 World Cup. After an argument over a foul and subsequent free kick, Rijkaard famously spat in Voller’s luscious locks… and did so again as the pair were leaving the pitch after being sent off. Some sources also say that Voller’s mullet took a third phlegm-ing on the touchline afterwards.

Ronaldo, Brazil, 2002

Before the World Cup in 2002, Ronaldo asked his barber for a short back and sides… and middle, top and, well, everywhere except that iconic fringe at the front. The legendary striker later said that he was trying to divert press attention away from his groin injury… though, it may have worked a little too well as his hairdo is often better-remembered than the eight goals he scored for his country!

Lionel Messi, Argentina, 2006

Whilst Messi might be considered to be the ultimate heartthrob by both women and men across the world in 2018, 2006 was a different story altogether. For his debut World Cup, the youngster sported a crop that was reminiscent of something that your mother might style using a bowl and pair of scissors. Luckily the Argentinian sensation quickly got the chop and is now considered one of the most stylish players in the world!

Taribo West, Nigeria, 1998

The Nigerian defender’s neon green dreadlocks that matched his kit really does encapsulate everything that we remember about about the 90’s. Though this look was a definite style-faux-pas, you really have to admire his dedication to stand-out hairstyles throughout his World Cup career – even despite his impending baldness!

Jose Perlaza, Ecuador, 2006

At Germany’s 2006 World Cup, José Luis Perlaza sported a hairstyle which had even the most experienced barbers scratching their heads. Was it a mullet, or would you describe it as “short front and sides”? Either way, the burnt curl fringe, cropped top and long locks at back certainly got people talking.

Roberto Baggio, Italy, 1990

Roberto Baggio’s iconic rat-tail-inspired style at the 1990 World Cup became so famous that the Italian footballer was given the nickname 'Il Divin Codino'. This loosely translates into English as ‘the divine ponytail’ – but I’m afraid the jury is still out on that one!

Carlos Valderrama, Colombia, 1994

As well as being regarded by many as Colombia’s greatest player ever, Valderrama is also well-known for his iconic ‘do at the 1994 World Cup. Serving up ‘Sideshow Bob’ inspired style, it’s safe to say that all eyes were on him as soon as he stepped onto the pitch.

Trifon Ivanov, Bulgaria, 1994

Whilst the bearded centre-back helped Bulgaria to the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, he’s better remembered by many for his dishevelled look on the pitch. Best known by his nickname 'The Bulgarian Wolf', Trifon Ivanov certainly showed the other countries who to be afraid of.

Romania Team, 1998

Last, but certainly not least, we have the Romanian team’s famous blonde dye-job back in 98’s World Cup. The slim-shady-esque look apparently came to fruition due to the team losing a bet with their coach Anghel Iordanescu, resulting in them looking like they’d had walked onto the pitch straight from the set of Children of the Corn. Image Credits:,,,,,,,,,,
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