It’s been a relatively strange year1, but at least football has been consistent. Chelsea won the Premier League. Real Madrid won the Champions League. The Lionesses
look looked (editor’s note: we do apologize; it appears the Unusual Efforts curse has struck again) unstoppable in the Euros. When every single breaking news story seems chaotic and unpredictable2, it’s good to know that football will always be steady. A solid anchor of mediocrity, disappointment, bitter anger and recriminations, and that’s just the transfer window.
The Euros are over, but the men’s leagues will be back before you can blink. In fact, Ligue 1 kicked off this past weekend, and will quickly be followed by the Premier League on August 11. La Liga and Bundesliga begin on the 18th, with Serie A starting the next day.
And we can only assume that the leagues and individual players heard our desperate cries for something in life to be simple and familiar, because they’ve stepped up in a big way. If you’ve been paying attention to the Football Instagram Summer Spectacle3, you’ll have noticed a few very clear trends shaping up. Footballers are opting for:
- No-nonsense shaves that definitely feel like a throwback to the late ‘90s and early ‘00s when Captain Planet was on TV and we thought recycling would save everything.4
- Short cuts parted on the left with gel holding down any errant strands, a look so boring it’s like they’re telling us it’s okay to ignore the bad things in life.5
- Close cuts with a modest but tantalising stripe of colour that adds just that pop of whimsy, letting us know things will get better again.
- Shaved sides, undercuts, and floppy tops: an undeniable, if incredibly well disguised, message of queer solidarity.
But each league looks like it has a unique approach to providing solace in these dark times, and we’re happy to break down what you can expect from each one to make sure you can maximize your football stress-relief this season.
Ligue 1 is heading into its 80th season since establishment, and the biggest story around is whether Paris Saint-Germain will … never mind, as we all know, Neymar was signed for a mind-boggling €222m. The league will see some much needed infusion of blond tips in a sea of gelled back ‘dos, like those of Nice’s incredibly solid goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale and Marseille’s wonderkid Florian Thauvin. Of course, Ligue 1 has retained some of its classic hair mavericks, so it’s not likely the league will get any less entertaining this season. While Benjamin Mendy may have shaved his head and moved on to more Mancunian pastures, Edinson Cavani’s flowing locks and Kylian Mbappe’s perfect shave remain in France (for now). As does Mario Balotelli’s fantastic mohawk. Ligue 1 looks primed to be just as interesting as it was last season, and it’ll be good to see if it ends in another against-the-odds victory for a non-PSG side.
The Premier League has set out to break every single transfer record with a vengeance this summer but has overall not really demonstrated a massive net gain in hairstyles compared to previous seasons. Last season, EPL fans were given the gift of Paul Pogba, Sadio Mané, and David Luiz. Sure, this season boasts the likes of Benjamin Mendy, Mohamed Salah, Alexandre Lacazette, and Álvaro Morata but are their hairstyles inspiring enough to warrant the staggering amounts of money being exchanged? Of course, it must be said that Pogba
currently holds used to hold the record for most expensive transfer and best hair in football, so it’ll be interesting to see if the most expensive team this season (currently Manchester City) can try for the best collective hair title, too.
La Liga is almost consistently one of the strongest hair leagues in Europe, especially when it comes to the facial sort, and we can only hope this season won’t be any different. Sergio Ramos is still rocking his ginger beard, as is Lionel Messi6. In fact, it kind of looks like the soft bro beard may be a necessary uniform on certain teams. Then there are the short styles that both Fernando Torres and Cristiano Ronaldo are sporting. It must be said that, while the back-to-basics look work on both of them (and vast swathes of La Liga), it still isn’t the most engaging of styles. But, it’s summer and pre-season training camps are hot. Here’s hoping La Liga returns to its roots before too long.
The Bundesliga said goodbye to Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso at the end of last season, and while their play is definitely the thing we’re going to miss7, it’s still a pretty big loss that the league will hopefully be able to bounce back from with James Rodriguez, Corentin Tolisso, and Ibrahima Konaté joining their ranks. The Bundesliga will also be able to fall back on favourites from last season, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who should almost definitely be your new favourite player (if he isn’t already), Robert Lewandowski – who’s been trying (and failing) to get his hair to be as dynamic as his football, and Emil Forsberg – who has no such illusions of making that happen.
You can expect Serie A to bring you classic styles and looks, as always. From the shaved sides and top puff of Gigio Donnarumma to the shaved sides and top puff of Dries Mertens to the shaved sides and top puff of Andrea Belotti, Serie A has found a winning formula and will probably stick with it. There are some new heads of hair coming into Italy though, with the likes of Douglas Costa newly signed to Juventus and Lucas Leiva headed to Lazio8. Even with the new blood, the league may not recover from its biggest tragedy to date, however: Federico Bernardeschi getting a haircut. Still, we’ll always have Gigi, who is currently sporting shaved sides with just the slightest puff of hair at the top. Buffon will be playing his final season, and it will be wonderful to watch him end it with every trophy he can lay his hands on.
So get ready to kick back, relax, and shout obscenities at players who refuse to live up to their (style) potential. And remember the best news of all: once the leagues begin, we probably don’t have to suffer through another player announcement for a while.
1 I’d call it ‘increasingly horrifying and terrifying’, but we’re trying to keep it light here.
2 Or grimly predictable, which somehow feels worse.
3 Similar to the Football Instagram Season Spectacle but with far more pictures of beaches and players pensively staring at sunsets.
4 Even the whales.
5 Like this ‘do.
6 Still looking more and more like Christian Bale with every passing day.
7 Both had magnificent styles of play. Their side parts, on the other hand, aren’t exactly creative.
8 I’m not okay.