Bellerin’s latest follicular misdeed aside, footballers are making fewer fashion mistakes these days. Just take Beckham. The former sarong wearer once scorched retinas the world over with his frosted tips and nineties denim, only to come out the other side as one of the best-dressed men on the planet.
Golden Balls isn’t alone in his back-of-the-net style, either. In a bid to give credit where credit’s due, we spoke to Tom Holmes and Craig Hazell of fantasy football podcast The Gaffer Tapes on their dreamiest off-pitch moves. Better get loosening those braids, Hector.
“If you needed any reminder that tailoring is no level playing field, just cop Jamie Redknapp the next time he sits with Graeme Souness. It’s the sartorial equivalent of Schwarzenegger and DeVito in Twins, and I say that with utmost respect for Mr Souness.
“Redknapp came out of the 1996 spice boy FA Cup final debacle unscathed, oozing style and finesse whether he’s trotting the Wembley turf in a three-piece or opting for double-breasted splintered tailoring on Super Sundays. He was never a real scouser, anyway.”
“Other than a chosen few, most footballers need a stylist year-round. Graziano Pellè is in the minority.
“Often seen in a suit or tux off the pitch, the Shandong Luneng striker cuts an impressive figure on all fronts – slick hair, sharp wardrobe and the most sculpted face furniture in the game.”
“Like a less threatening, sexier Chuck Norris, Andrea Pirlo toes the line between hipster and genuinely cool. And he’s conquered that sweet spot by mastering the Italian art of sprezzatura.
“By looking effortlessly stylish on all fronts, Pirlo plays a game of two halves with structured tailoring underpinned by unbuttoned, laid-back shirts. Bellissimo.”
“Thierry Henry is one of the greatest goalscorers to grace English football. He’s also one of the most immaculately turned out.
“Even the most fervent of Spurs fan would admit that the only bad outfit Henry wore was red with white sleeves, and his status as a fashion icon remained largely dormant until his later years. In retirement, Henry fronted the iconic ‘Va Va Voom’ era of car advertising, arguably kick-started the the beautiful game’s bearded bandwagon and can even sport a cardigan on Monday Night Football without looking like Jon Richardson.
“Oh Thierry, je ‘taime.”
“I can tell you the exact day my mother took an interest in football – the same one David Ginola did a modelling shoot in his pants. She claims it was a coincidence, but then also claimed I wasn’t an accident, which my dad later refuted.
“I digress. Ginola ran on the catwalk for Nino Cerruti, and has more magazine covers than he does national caps – proof that his wardrobe was enviable, to say the least. That said, every man has a cross to bear – Ginola had to play for Villa – but knowing the French striker, he’d probably have made that look great, too.”
“David Beckham is ultimate bridge between ‘fashion’ and ‘footballer’, and if the two words together don’t conjure the image of Golden Balls, then you simply haven’t been paying attention.
“The man initiates and endures trends effortlessly and is quite possibly one of the best-dressed men in the world. Bend it like Beckham? More like trend it like Beckham.”