Has any athlete ever won a bigger prize with a worse haircut than Ronaldo did?
The former Brazil striker revealed Tuesday why he played in the 2002 FIFA World Cup with an absurdly bad haircut, saying he did so in order to distract from his recovery from injury during the lead-up to the tournament. As you can see in FIFA’s September 2013 tweet and the ensuing photo, Ronaldo shaved his head on the back and sides but left a patch of hair on the front.
“I had an injury in my leg and everybody was talking about that,” Ronaldo said about that haircut, per ESPN. “I decided to cut my hair and leave the small thing there. I come to training and everybody saw me with bad hair.
“Everybody was talking about the hair and forgot about the injury. I could stay more calm and relaxed and focused on my training.
“I’m not proud about the hair itself because it was pretty strange. But it was a good way to change the subject.”
Ronaldo’s haircut became iconic in soccer lore, as he led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title by scoring a tournament-high eight goals, including two in the 2-0 victory over Germany in the final.
And now, 16 years later, we finally learn what possessed him to wear that haircut in front of a global audience.
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