The Fascinating Evolution of Lionel Messi's Hair

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2014

The Fascinating Evolution of Lionel Messi's Hair

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    ENRIQUE ALONSO/Associated Press

    The evolution of Lionel Messi's career—from a young man in Rosario who needed growth hormones to the biggest superstar in the world—has been nothing short of fascinating. 

    Today, however, I'm looking at the Messi evolution that really matters: his hair. 

    In honour of his new cut—which the Mirror purports to be one of the worst in football—here's a look at the long and hairy road that has brought the Barcelona forward to his current cut... 

September 2005: The Fluffy Mullet

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    LUCAS NUNEZ/Associated Press

    In his second season in the Barcelona senior side, Messi turned up with a haircut that wouldn't have looked out of place on Simon Le Bon in 1982.  

    He appeared to be about 20 years late to the party with this one. 

October 2005: The Mod

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    Associated Press

    A month after sporting the Fluffy Mullet, little Leo channeled his inner mod and restyled with a haircut that could have landed him a gig with The Who.

    All he needed was a parka, a moped and propensity to fight rockers on Brighton Beach, and he could have been Paul Weller's best friend. 

December 2005: The Ashton Kutcher

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    MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

    Messi's mod chop grew out to a style that made him look like a very short Ashton Kutcher. 

    If Demi Moore didn't have her glasses on... 

February 2006: The Free-Flowing Locks

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    Luis Bagu/Getty Images

    You know how Radamel Falcao has hair that always looks like he stepped straight out of a shampoo advert?

    Well, at the start of 2006, Messi had a shampoo advert look. ... A bounding Labrador in a dog-shampoo advert, that is. 

June 2006: The Dumb & Dumber

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    Jan Pitman/Getty Images

    On the cusp of his breakout 2006/07 season, Messi still had a haircut that looked like its design involved his mum and a pudding bowl. 

    Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber would have been proud. 

September 2006: The Long Mop

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    Luis Bagu/Getty Images

    As the 2006/07 campaign progressed, Messi's hair grew in direct correlation to his fearsome reputation. 

    If we extrapolated this correlation, Messi would have had hair down to his knees by the following season. 

June 2007: The Hairband

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    Bagu Blanco/Getty Images

    What do David Beckham, David Ginola, Alan Smith and Leo Messi all have in common? They all succumbed to the hairband. 

    At the start of the 2007/08 season, Messi kept his mane off his face with the help of an Alice band.

    Is it a coincidence that he didn't win anything that season? Probably!

December 2007: The Bob

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    At the end of 2007, none of the top three World Player of the Year nominees had a particularly strong hair game.

    Messi's bob did little except accentuate the size of his ears. 

August 2008: The '70s Rock Star

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Messi led Argentina to Olympic gold in the summer of 2008, and he stood on the podium with the luscious, long locks of a rock star—who was holding a bunch of flowers.  

August 2009: Back to Basics

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    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    When Barcelona's Champions League bout with Benfica came around in August 2009, Messi had shorn off the long hair in favour of something much more practical. 

    This was probably his best look to date. 

January 2009: The Tidy Crop

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    John Gichigi/Getty Images

    At the 2009 World Player of the Year Gala, Messi was pulling Zoolander "blue steel" poses that perfectly suited his tidy new haircut—the first one that looked like it might have cost more than £8. 

    Could it be that the bowl chops and hairbands of old had finally been abandoned for something befitting of an international superstar?

    Don't hold your breath... 

July 2009: The Return of the Mullet

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Oh, Leo. We really thought you were past the mullet stage. 

    Please don't tell us you're about to cycle through most of your dodgy old haircuts?

    Sigh, here we go... 

August 2009: The Return of the Hairband

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    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    At the start of the 2009/10 campaign, Messi blew the dust from his Alice band and put it back into his increasingly lengthy barnet. Welcome back, old friend!

November 2009: Dumb & Dumber Pt. 2

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    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    In the season in which he won his first World Player of the Year title and established himself in Pep Guardiola's "False Nine" role, Messi certainly had a lot of haircuts.

    By November, he reverted back to his Dumb & Dumber look, successfully combining a bowl chop, mullet and dopey grin.  

May 2011: The '90s Boy-Band Curtains

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    By the time Messi appeared in the 2011 Champions League final, it had been 15 years since the Backstreet Boys released their eponymous debut smash-hit album. 

    Evidently, the Argentinean felt the biggest stage in domestic football was a good time to pay tribute to the boy-band curtains of the 1990s. Backstreet's back, alright! 

August 2011: The Beginning of the Stylist Era

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    The 2011/12 campaign represented a watershed moment in Leo Messi's career. Not because of all the records he broke and his ascension to become one of the greatest players of all time, but because he finally started getting consistently decent haircuts.

    Apparently, he had swapped those proverbial £8 barbershop visits for the proverbial Toni & Guy salon.

    He clearly had a stylist on board, giving him a short and smart chop that would look good when his face was plastered on video game covers. 

January 2013: The Textured Quiff

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    Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

    Leo, meet hair products. Hair products, meet Leo. 

    At the 2013 World Player of the Year Gala, Messi's decision to start paying attention to his appearance had evolved to a level appropriate to his status. He wore a ridiculous spotted tuxedo and sported some very stylish hair.

    Cristiano Ronaldo had never felt so threatened. 

March 2014: The 'Normal Person' Haircut

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Being a professional footballer gives you the automatic right to have an outlandish haircut that most regular civilians would never attempt. 

    At the start of 2014, however, Messi had a tight back and sides with a little length on top. It's a fashionable but no-frills cut that would look good on your average man on the high street. 

July 2014: The 'You Should Have Stuck with That One'

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    When Messi collected his Golden Boot after losing the 2014 World Cup Final, he did so with an understandably sheepish look on his face. But his hair had never looked better. He really should have stuck with this one a little longer. 

August 2014: The Kim Jong-il

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    Finally we arrive in present day, with Messi sporting a baffling new 'do.

    There's not an awful lot that can explain what's going on here. Is he feeling threatened by Neymar's dedication to silly haircuts? Did he instruct his stylist to shave his head but changed his mind halfway through? Is he a secret Kim Jong-il fan?

    There's one thing we can all agree on here: It's time to bring back the mullet. 

    Find me on Twitter @RyanJayBailey