Ronaldo Nazario: Brazil legend apologises for 2002 World Cup haircut

  • Kat Lucas

There was a strange time in the early 2000s when people everywhere felt the need to copy footballers’ haircuts. 

Kids had an array to choose from – there was Freddie Ljunberg’s mohawk, not to mention David Beckham’s various monstrosities. 

Now, this may still happen today. Schools may be littered with Gareth Bale man-buns and replicas of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new locks, but we’re probably just too old to be aware of them anymore. 

In 2002, though, parents everywhere had to watch on in horror as their children’s hair was stripped away with a tiny island left at the front. Yes, we’re talking about ‘the Ronaldo’. 

Ronaldo Nazario was one of the stars of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win. 

Lighting up the tournament alongside Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, ‘El Fenomeno’ received the Golden Boot and scored twice in the final. 

Ronaldo had his hair trimmed before the semi-final against Turkey. He says that was because he had been injured in the build-up to the clash and didn’t want the media to dwell on it – so he gave them something else to talk about. 

“I saw my teammates and asked, ‘Do you like it?'” he said, per Ole.

“They said, ‘No, it’s horrible! Cut this off!’ But the journalists saw my haircut and forgot about the injury.


“I apologise to all mothers who saw their kids make the same haircut.”

With eight goals between the group stages and the final, Ronaldo had nothing to apologise for in Japan and South Korea. 

Such heroics did inspire a generation of rather strange haircuts, though. 

As Aubameyang is learning the hard way this season, if you’re going to have a wacky barnet, you need to be in the type of goalscoring form to pull it off. 

And it’s remarkable that Ronaldo enjoyed such a fine tournament in 2002. 

In 2000, the forward’s career had been rocked by a horror knee injury. It’s often debated, in fact, whether he would have become the greatest player of all time if he’d stayed fit. 

We’ll never know, but the Selecao legend certainly made the 2002 World Cup memorable. 

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