Tim Howard and the 10 Best Beards in World Football
Curiously, the American shot-stopper attributed his skills to his facial hair. "I think I’ve gained most of my strength from the beard," he joked with The Metro.
Regardless of whether Howard's face fuzz gives him Samson-like qualities, it is one of the finest examples of beard growth in world football. Here are 10 more.
In his early days at Ipswich and Charlton, Darren Bent would sport stubble or a goatee. In the past few years, however, the 29-year-old striker has rarely been seen without a full-on beard.
It also has a practical purpose: It kept him nice and warm on the bench at Aston Villa.
I have dark brown hair, and whenever I attempt to grow a beard, it turns a fiery red colour if the razor has been neglected for more than two weeks. This is why I relate to Xabi Alonso and his marvellous ginger face.
It also keeps him from being confused with Jason Bateman.
Alonso's Spain teammate Gerard Pique generally sported a clean-shaven look when he was at Manchester United, where he made only 12 appearances and wasn't a part of the full Spanish national team.
Since joining Barcelona and forgoing his trusty Gillette, however, the centre-back has been a mainstay in one of the best club teams in the world and won a World Cup.
Coincidence? I think not.
Daniele De Rossi
Daniele De Rossi is Roma through-and-through, right down to every menacing follicle that sprouts from his chin and cheeks.
Provided Francesco Totti doesn't keep playing until he is 106 years old—which seems possible—De Rossi's beard should one day help him become the Giallorossi captain.
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola follows the same follicle principles as The Guardian's James Richardson, teaming a balding pate with a distinguished salt-and-pepper beard.
The streaks of grey running parallel to his ears seem almost as artful as the style of play he endorses.
Landon Donovan's beard is a little unkempt, as if he doesn't make much effort to maintain it. However, he wears it very well.
It's the kind of beard that says, "straight after training, I go and lay on Hermosa Beach, listening to Dave Matthews Band live albums."
Thierry Henry isn't always faithful to his beard—sometimes he will completely expunge all his hair by chopping off the beard and shaving his head—but when he does choose to let it grow, it looks brilliant.
While playing at Kilmarnock, striker James Dayton had a beard that would make a lumberjack green with envy.
Tragically, he shaved it off, but he did provide an amusing picture from the arduous process.
Now here's a beard you can set your watch to.
Former Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg often trims his beard down to let his high Swedish cheekbones poke through, but when he lets it grow—like he did at Euro 2012—he looks every bit the burly Scandinavian.
Andrea Pirlo doesn't just have the best beard in football, he has the best beard in life.
Just look at it. Much like the passes he sprinkles across the field, it is evenly distributed, and awe inspiring in its magnificence.
The Italian legend blessed us with his facial hair in the summer of 2012, just because he felt like letting it grow. "Now I don’t waste time shaving," he told Football Italia. Don't ever change, Andrea.