Players' hair turns heads at World Cup
By Helen Popper
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters Life!) - The shaggy manes and bushy moustaches of soccer days past have been replaced by bleached beards, "city boy" crops and headbands at the World Cup in South Africa.
Players; hairdos are a perennial talking point at soccer's biggest spectacle and players face razor-sharp scrutiny -- right down to their shaving routines.
Brazil's Robinho has been sporting a new-look beard at the tournament and bloggers back home have launched an online campaign urging the baby-faced forward to visit the barber's.
"Ugly face, beautiful game -- God willing," Robinho, 26, told reporters last week, laughing off suggestions he grew the beard in a bid to frighten opponents. "I just forgot to shave," he said.
Meanwhile, at the camp of South American rivals Argentina, the new greying beard worn by Diego Maradona is being seen as a symbol of a more serene, mature air in the squad that seems to be bearing fruit on the pitch.
Maradona, nicknamed El Pelusa (Fuzzy) for the voluminous hairdo of his 1980s playing heyday, grew the beard because he could not shave after his pet dog bit him in the face, but it looks like becoming a permanent fixture.
As far as footballers' haircuts go, award-winning British hairdresser Mark Woolley said they have got more conservative and sophisticated of late.
The famously clean-cut Cristiano Ronaldo has become one of the sport's leading style icons and Spain's Fernando Torres recently chopped off his highlighted locks, opting for a discreet crop. Continued...