Life in the modern age presents us with many canvases. Alongside the traditional mediums, there are a variety of digital tools we can use to create whatever our hearts desire and put them out into the world—or hide them forever because it’s excruciatingly personal. No matter who sees it, our creations are a reflection of both our inner selves and the self we wish to present to the world.
In many cases, we ourselves serve as the canvas, either on our skin, or with our hair. Footballers in particular love to use their hair as a means through which to express themselves. And because hair grows, the tableau of hairstyles is ever-changing, providing a sort of slow-motion personality narrative as players work to outdo each other but also themselves.
The art of the footballer’s hairstyle may not have the permanence of a tattoo, but it does deserve a critical appreciation. What follows is an aesthetic review of select player hairstyles, chosen for their remarkable nature and the fame of the men who wear them.
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Radja NainggolanA study in minimalism dressed with gilded edges that speaks not to the unencumbered nature of minimalism or luxury but to something else entirely. Clearly meant to evoke the dangerous workings of industrial machinery, it serves as a stark reminder that the game the wearer plays is gritty and treacherous.
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Aaron RamseyCurved lines convey a sense of movement with this stunning example of footballer hairstyle art. The color is one of sleekness and affluence, avoiding the gaudiness that might come from another metallic hue. There is a sense of over-trying here, as it lacks any sort of freedom in its overly controlled elements.
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NeymarLazy, which is a surprise. Atrocious color that cannot be defended. Painful to the eye and ultimately disappointing, even as an homage. Overdone, overdone, overdone.
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Paul PogbaAt first glance, a lacklustre affair. Nevertheless, the red color of the "horns" draws they eye and serves to make the work unmissable. A direct reference to the Red Devils of Manchester United, it makes up one some level in execution what it's missing in creativity. The sharpness of the jagged line holds promises of agility and ambition.
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Lionel MessiScreams "desperation", which, if intentional, is brilliant in its simplicity. Subtle directional lines suggest images of flowing beachside grasses, gently riding the wind, while the color pallette ties to the grass and the beach itself. It taken in full, there's a contrast here that tells a story of a subject untethered, unsure of himself, and perhaps, subject to same type of wild winds.
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Arturo VidalHe's a star. That's all. Sometimes art doesn't have deeper meaning.