Best Dressed Players in World Football
Money may not buy you love, but it can certainly open the doors to an extreme upgrade in the contents of one's wardrobe.
As some of the best-paid athletes in the sports industry, it's only right that footballers look the part as well as playing it, though some superstars have shown themselves to have a better dress sense than others.
Fashions change from continent to continent, border to border, but we've compiled as cosmopolitan an array of style icons as possible, though some will undoubtedly not be to everyone's taste.
Smart or casual, formal or informal, we've perused a catalogue of football fashion, and it's hardly surprising that the European elite, those with the means to affording the best of the best, find themselves sitting among the top 10.
Only active players have been considered for inclusion, and all Instagram photos featured come courtesy of official club and player accounts.
Honourable Mention: Djibril Cisse
For some people, Djibril Cisse's "cutting-edge" approach to clothes might warrant a place near the top of this countdown, but we cannot decide just which side of genius or insanity the Frenchman lands on.
Cisse has always been an obscure personality, and if you couldn't get that impression from his crazy hairstyle choices or head-to-toe tattoos, then at least what he wears on top of his skin gives a clearer message.
The Bastia striker owns his own clothing label, Mr Lenoir, giving a sense of just how much prominence the fashion industry plays in his life, and it's likely that life after a playing career will see Cisse step further into this aspect of his being.
10. Keisuke Honda
Ex-Japanese international Hidetoshi Nakata laid down a marker for the Asian footballer/fashion guru, and it's a fork in the road that compatriot Keisuke Honda has followed to some extent.
The Milan midfielder always maintained a fine sense of style during his days with CSKA Moscow, but that no-holds-barred take on how to dress has finally made its way to one of Europe's higher-profile divisions.
Japan is something of an Asian hub for the industry, and some "out there" hair-styling can often be just the tip of the iceberg in how far the nation is willing to go in standing out among the crowd.
Of that contingent, Honda is a proud flag-bearer, his bleach-blond barnet containing a healthy dosage of new fashion ideas ready to be showcased in Serie A.
9. Cristiano Ronaldo
Granted, Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the highest-paid footballers on the planet, but that doesn't guarantee the funds will be put to good use in dressing up the man behind the talent.
For the most part, Real Madrid's superstar forward is spot on with his attire. On the pitch, Ronaldo looks as flashy as the rest, thanks to his affiliation with Nike, but a sponsorship deal with Emporio Armani is just one of the agreements that helps him look his best off of it, too.
Whether it's a gala event, such as his triumphant 2013 Ballon d'Or announcement, or a flat-peak-warranting stroll around town, there's seldom an occasion where Ronaldo is caught looking anything other than dapper.
8. Juan Mata
For all the manicured and maintained confidence that Ronaldo exudes, however, Juan Mata is the embodiment of effortless class when it comes to strutting his wardrobe.
After all, who else can pull off a turtleneck with so much ease as the Spaniard does in the Instagram photo above?
Though his move to Manchester United means that Mata is now far from the fashion Mecca that is London, the Old Trafford dressing room has acquired a fine mind when it comes to garment choice, never mind his talents on the pitch.
As the Mail Online's Charlie Skillen shows, the playmaker sports a Dolce & Gabbana suit with some aplomb, too, and if extra points were given for stubble, Mata's score would be reading off the charts.
7. Pablo Osvaldo
Bad boy though he may be, Southampton's Pablo Dani Osvaldo, currently on loan with Juventus, knows how to pull off an outfit.
As Sam Cunningham of the Mail Online details, the striker had to leave St. Mary's after being suspended by the Saints for a bust-up he had with teammate Jose Fonte.
Though those actions may have changed the way people look at him, one thing Osvaldo is in complete control of is what they see on the surface, and at least he continues to do a fine job in that sense.
There's not many people out there who can casually flaunt a pair of thick-rimmed glasses while meeting the Pope in Vatican City, but then again, Osvaldo isn't just your average player—more so in the fashion game than anything else.
6. Thierry Henry
For years now, Thierry Henry has been terrorising defences across England, Spain and now North America, and like a fine, cliched French wine, the veteran's fashion sense is only getting better with age.
Unlike some of the hit-and-miss entrants on this list, the New York Red Bull talisman is consistent with his apparel.
This is especially frustrating when one considers that Henry effortlessly pulls off such a high aesthetic standard when we all really know he's strolled out the door in just about the first thing he's pulled off the floor of his Arsenal-themed bedroom.
Again, if the former face of Gillette could have facial fur taken into account for his whole look, Henry would be right up there with the world's finest fashionistas.
5. Gerard Pique
Defenders aren't generally regarded as the most fashion-aware of profiled footballers, and Gerard Pique's sometimes clumsy presence wouldn't give you the sense that there's an intuitive clothing complex in that cranium of his.
However, being married to pop princess Shakira must have rubbed off on the Spaniard, whose interest in the fashion industry is something of a surprising twist on his persona.
Though the baggy, knitted jumper shown in the Instagram image above is something of a casual testament to Pique's clothing know-how, any clack-tie events that the centre-back has attended show that there is a much more fine-tuned side to his fashion character.
Back in 2011, The Telegraph's Natasha Cowan disclosed that Pique had been chosen as the face on Mango's male clothing line, and it doesn't seem as though the old ball-and-chain allows her husband out the door looking anything less than fabulous.
4. Raul Meireles
Like the aforementioned Cisse, Fenerbahce's Raul Meireles sits as one of the more obscure characters in the football sphere, from the hair to the ink to the clothes on his back.
However, the Portuguese shows much more conventional restraint when it comes to the items he wears, and so, he comes closer to the side of "genius" than he does "insanity," something which we've yet to decide in Cisse's case.
As his official Instagram account shows, 30-year-old Meireles isn't yet old enough to have shirked his love of a flat-peak cap, but he and wife Ivone Viana are just as capable of totting themselves up for a more high-brow occasion, as can be seen above.
Combining more classic tastes with (perhaps unnecessary) modern additions, Meireles isn't afraid to act as a pioneer in his fashion forays, though it's a risky approach that doesn't always come off cleanly.
3. Stephan El Shaarawy
The second of three Italians to have made our countdown, Stephan El Shaarawy is a part of the next generation of budding fashion icons, and the future looks bright in his hands.
And what more suitable a site for the forward to go about his business than in Milan, one of Europe's fashion capitals and a European hub of clothing inspiration.
Though his choice of cutting-edge hairstyle is up for debate, a much more sensible tack is taken with El Shaarawy's dress sense, one of the more youthful options on this list that works wonders.
2. Alexandre Pato
The only South American to manage a spot in our top 10—not counting the Buenos Aires-born Osvaldo—Alexandre Pato brings his own touch of Samba flair to the mix.
The Corinthians striker is an active user of his official Instagram account, and when he isn't snapped in training clobber, Pato does a good job of looking the part in his day-to-day.
The heat in Brazil makes for perfect open-buttoned shirt weather, but as the above image shows, the former Milan sensation can clean up with the best of them.
1. Andrea Pirlo
Cool, functional and without all the bells and whistles, Andrea Pirlo's style when it comes to clothes is nothing short of synonymous with his approach on the pitch.
After all, as the Mail Online's Graeme Yorke shows, there aren't many out there who can rock a double-breasted red peacoat, khakis and a pair of Raybans with quite so much guile as the Juventus man-marvel.
It's unfair to take Pirlo's hair and beard into account, but the Italian's aesthetic extras undoubtedly lend themselves to the model-esque qualities of his entire look, which is among the most appetising in the industry.
If you needed further evidence as to why he's the best-dressed man in football, look no further.