Football and fashion have become inextricably linked, and today's game is filled with players who follow the trends and also create a few of their own. FIFA.com takes a look at football's highest-profile slaves to fashion and its most unique style-setters.
Dressed to kill
Modern players are idols to millions of youngsters. And while the vast majority of fans can never hope to emulate their heroes' skills on the pitch, they can least console themselves by imitating their look. That said, anyone hoping to copy David Beckham and his many hairstyles will need to count a good hairdresser among their friends.
Since stepping out at Manchester United as a fresh-faced teenager with a floppy fringe, Becks has unveiled a dizzying array of haircuts. The Spice Boy has tried virtually every look, from a skinhead cut to a mohican, and has worn plaits, tinted locks, ponytails and hairbands in a bid to cut an even more dashing figure on the pitch.
When the Englishman signed for Real Madrid he teamed up with another dedicated fashionista in Jose Maria Gutierrez, aka Guti. Together they set the trends in the Merengue dressing room for several seasons.
Capitalising on the huge interest generated by the trailblazing Beckham, fashion, accessory and cosmetic companies started using other prominent players for their advertising campaigns. One star to make a sizeable niche for himself was Sweden's Fredrik Ljungberg, whose shaven head and chiselled torso have featured in some iconic photoshoots in recent years. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Thierry Henry have also branched into fashion, modelling clothes on the catwalk and also designing their own collections.
While not every player is as image-conscious as the luminaries above, many have nevertheless managed to create their own uniquely personal style. The 1960 and 1970s involved the emergence of a host of shaggy-haired stars, who helped break the accepted conventions of the day by sporting improbably large sideburns and letting their locks grow. Two of the most notable pioneers were the Northern Irish wizard George Best and Germany's bubble-permed Paul Breitner, who stood out almost as much for their hairstyles as their dazzling play.
In the 1980s and 1990s, some exotic new looks surfaced. Making a mark alongside the immaculately coiffeured Marco Van Basten in Arrigo Sacchi's all-conquering AC Milan side were fellow Dutchmen Frank Rijkaard, with his unmistakable curly mop, and the dreadlocked Ruud Gullit.
And the Dutch duo were not alone. Italy 1990 threw up yet more extravagant hairstyles including the memorably outlandish perms of Colombian Carlos Valderrama and Rene Higuita, while red-haired American defender Alexi Lalas caught the eye at USA 1994 with his Jesus Christ Superstar look. Not to be outdone, the Argentinian quartet of Fernando Redondo, Ariel Ortega, Gabriel Batistuta and Claudio Caniggia introduced a whole new vogue by sporting hairbands to keep their flowing tresses under control during games.
Much imitated as the hairband was, there were some styles that were too unique to copy. Nigerian international Taribo West broke new ground by collecting his hair in colourful plaits, while Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids completed his braided look with a pair of special dark-rimmed prescription glasses.
Yet, not every footballer has the resources to be so creative. Take England and Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton, for example. Towards the end of an illustrious career, Charlton sought to conceal a balding pate by combing what few remaining strands of hair head he had left back across his head.
Facial hair can also help players stand out from the crowd. A case in point is German target man Kevin Kuranyi, who never takes to the field without checking his carefully sculpted goatee.
Extroverts between the postsFew players come under the same scrutiny as goalkeepers. The most exposed players on the pitch and subject to criticism whenever they make a mistake, more than a few have chosen to express their personality by donning some distinctive items of clothing. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, when the game was played with heavy leather balls, famed Spanish custodian Ricardo Zamora turned out for Barcelona and Real Madrid sporting a well-fitted tartan cap.
Another immortal No1 was Soviet Union's Lev Yashin, who was famed for both his agility and a natty all-black strip, while Dino Zoff, who skippered Italy to glory at the 1982 FIFA World Cup Spain™, was rarely seen without his long-sleeved grey jersey.
Mexico's Jorge Campos broke with tradition with his array of garishly coloured short-sleeved tops at USA 1994, and although his choice of tones was far more restrained, Frenchman Fabien Barthez wore short sleeves no matter what the weather.
Perhaps the most eye-catching keeper in the game today is Chelsea's Petr Cech. After suffering a skull injury a couple of seasons ago, the Czech international dons a black rugby helmet to protect his head from flailing limbs.