20 Best Afros in Soccer History

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterJanuary 30, 2012

20 Best Afros in Soccer History

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    The Afro holds a flamboyant, nearly mythical place in world football history.

    Back in its heyday in the 1970s, the Afro was the preferred style for footballers of all backgrounds. Sure, the word derived from the name of one particular continent, but that didn't stop pasty white boys from rocking it in far-flung locations around the globe.

    The Afro maintains its undeniable coolness to this day, and that's why we've compiled a list of the 20 best examples from world football history. Like the game itself, this list is a diverse affair with representatives from different times, places and backgrounds.

    Ready? It's time for these 20 footballers to strut their stuff.

George Berry

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    Which of these is true about George Berry?

    (A) He was born in West Germany.

    (B) He played internationally for Wales.

    (C) His haircut was badass.

    (D) Come on, dude, you know it's all of the above.

Carlos Valderrama

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    Glorious. Tina Turner-esque. Inspirational. Classic.

    Colombian international Carlos Valderrama was a true No. 10, if only because he always had the best hair on the pitch.

David James

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    Equal parts footballer and male model, goalkeeper David James obviously spends the long stretches of time between saves thinking up new hairstyles.

    It appears he's been hitting the history books lately. This hairstyle was quite a hit in ancient Rome.

Jorge Mendonca

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    Mendonca was a member of Brazil's 1978 World Cup team, the gold standard of collective great hair.

    Here's a picture of both Mendonca (bottom row, third from the right) and the team.

    That, friends, is the pinnacle of footballing coiffure (and fashion, for that matter).

Tommy Caton

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    Take heart, pasty white boys. In spite of your limited coolness, you, too, can cultivate an appropriately functional Afro.

    For assistance, inquire with Mr. Tommy Caton.

Socrates

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    Socrates was a man of glorious contradiction.

    He was a medical doctor who smoked two packs of ciggies a day. He was one of the best footballers of the 20th century, but he played only one season in Europe.

    There was nothing contradictory about his hair, though. Socrates was cool, and so was his mop.

Rene Higuita

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    Everybody knows Rene Higuita for his world-famous Scorpion Kick.

    We think his hair is worthy of some fame, too.

David Luiz

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    The latest footballing heir to Sideshow Bob, David Luiz also serves as everyone's favorite video-game character.

Marouane Fellaini

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    Marouane Fellaini's Afro is so powerful, it makes Chuck Norris punch himself.

    True story.

Alan Brazil

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    Alan Brazil isn't from Brazil. He just wanted everyone to think his hair was.

    It didn't work.

Paul Breitner

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    In another entry from the pasty-white-boy files, now cometh Paul Breitner—West Germany's resident Maoist, McDonald's spokesman, suspected players' strike organizer, nude photography model and two-time World Cup final scorer.

    To read up on all that, click here.

    To see why his hair became known as Der Afro, take a look at the picture.

Dante

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    In the Middle Ages, Dante was an epic poet who wrote allegories about the seven deadly sins, heaven, hell and purgatory in an effort to draw his readers closer to God.

    In modern football, Dante is a Brazilian defender who wears an Afro in an attempt to draw opposing attackers offside.

Kevin Keegan

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    King Kev has been many things in his life, from game-show contestant to pop star to wacked-out football manager.

    None of that, of course, measures up to his most famous role: poodle-perm-wearing footballer.

Alex Song

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    Yeah, it's borderline as an Afro, but Alex Song's close-cropped up-do with matching peroxide-dyed beard is so awesome, it warrants inclusion anyway.

Rafael da Silva

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    Don't be fooled. This is not a character from High School Musical. It's Manchester United's Rafael da Silva.

    He's not, by the way, the only da Silva on this list…

Fabio da Silva

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    The other da Silva brother, Fabio, looks more like a member of Menudo than his musical theater-loving brother.

    In fact, he and Kevin Keegan really should start a band. We hear Andy Cole is available.

Ruud Gullit

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    Another borderline candidate, Ruud Gullit warrants inclusion—and earns extra points—for his fabulous mustache.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

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    We're almost afraid to ask, but here goes.

    Is this Tottenham Hotspur defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto? Or is it Lily Munster?

Abel Xavier

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    And this dude!

    Is this former Portuguese international Abel Xavier? Or is he that creepy Chris Tucker character from The Fifth Element?

Terry McDermott

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    Terry McDermott is probably the only coach to earn the nickname "Black Box."

    More importantly, he was one of approximately 37,000 footballers in the 1970s who really shouldn't have been wearing an Afro but did anyway.

    Nice mustache, though.