Cutting and styling a man’s hair is an art form. I have my hair cut at a Korean café under the railroad, and there the master barber from Seoul insists he’s the best in London. He once told me, “I’m not cutting your hair, I’m blessing it,” and also nonchalantly informed my flatmate, “Most hairdressers would only see three ways to part your hair; I see twenty-five.” It’s hard to find hair inspiration now though. When I was a boy you could bounce up to your local barbershop with a folded photo of, say, Chris Packham from the Really Wild Show, in your pocket but these days TV presenters and pop stars don’t have the exciting haircuts they used to; rather it’s footballers that are pushing the boundaries and showing us what’s possible and, most likely, coming to a catwalk near us soon. Top players have to wear matching kits, with boots chosen by their sponsors, and they’re not allowed to wear a slogan T-shirt under their top – or even a snood! – so really they can only express themselves through their haircuts (and what they do with the ball). That’s where the magic happens. And while their Instagrams have brought their lives closer to ours than ever, their football-futuristic crops are defiant monuments to the fact that they still live in a more thrilling world than the rest of us. Here are the top 5 World Cup haircuts.
I don’t wish to kick a boy when he’s down – and the Brazil team are way down in the hole, having their harrowing Requiem For A Dream moment – but Brazilian Vogue cover star and oftentime underwear model Neymar once celebrated a goal by donning a mask of his own face, so he hopefully won’t mind me talking about his hair, which is blond and has a lot of lift. He looks like Miley Cyrus, or a porcupine. He was one of many players who had haircuts, and in his case lighter shades of bleach too, during the tournament; unsurprising really when you have to spend so much time hanging out in a highly-mirrored hotel with nothing much to worry about apart from your hair. Also his teammate Dani Alves deserves a shout-out for dyeing his grey like Tavi.