Football meets fashion
Often for footballers, ‘money can’t buy taste’ has not been viewed as a cautionary adage but rather as a challenge. And one which invariably ends badly – or worse, in diamante-encrusted Ed Hardy.
This week’s release of Paul Pogba’s capsule collection with adidas is a reminder that, in the right hands, things don’t always go awry. Minimal and largely monochrome, the Manchester United-man’s collection reflects his on-field aesthetic – cool, versatile and undeniably captivating. All of which got us thinking about football, fashion and the highs and lows of the relationship between the two. We decided to enlist an expert, Daniel Sandison (editor in chief of nascent football magazine, Mundial, and a former editor at Hypebeast) to pick apart the good, the bad and the ugly of footballer fashion:
Having hung up his boots for a pair of Rick Owens sneakers in 2006, Pep Guardiola has gone on to become one of the most successful managers football has ever seen. And the same meticulousness that goes into his team’s preparation is clearly replicated in his wardrobe, with impeccable tailoring, an eye for colour-blocking and a seriously impressive collection of Stone Island knitwear.
The Mundial Verdict: Pleasing and angering middle-England Dads in equal measure by twinning Stone Island jackets with Rick Owens footwear, Pep Guardiola is one of the best-dressed managers in the modern game. Effortlessly smart, and with a seemingly good eye for brands, Guardiola’s wardrobe is succinct and considered, unlike his purchase of faltering Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
A man who came of age under Guardiola at Barcelona, and arguably the greatest player to have ever set foot on a pitch, Lionel Messi has been so remarkably blessed by the gods with his footballing talent that he seems to have been given little else. He’s not particularly charismatic or interesting – because to become those things, you need to spend time away from playing football. Plucked from Argentina at the age of just 13 and fed growth hormones, you sense that Messi has never had much of a life outside football – further underlined by his current teenage rebellion phases, of getting loads of tattoos and dying his hair blonde, aged 29. Here he is pictured dressed as a trainee at an accountancy firm, who has just bumped into Barcelona’s answer to JLS.
The Mundial Verdict: Messi’s a bit like Mark from Peep Show if he got really, really into keepy-ups. A substitute geography teacher full to the brim with EPO. he isn’t very cool, and he certainly isn’t stylish, but he gets loads of money for playing football and gives almost none of it to the taxman. Hard to imagine he cares about nice jeans.
The cover star of Mundial Magazine’s most recent issue and the man who they seemingly invented the word ‘debonair’ for, Andrea Pirlo’s personal style is a master class in refinement and understatedness. Channelling the sprezzatura-vibes of the fashion elite that descend on Pitti Uomo each year, the Italian world cup winner is clearly just an impeccable, impeccable man.
The Mundial Verdict: Andrea Pirlo is annoyingly and effortlessly cool. Even when you get past the hyperbole surrounding beards and wine that got us all quite excited a couple of World Cups ago (Pirlo has a very good one, and a vineyard), he’s ace. Blending the classic and the experimental in a manner that only Italians can, Andrea Pirlo’s sense of style is as laid-back and comfortable as a home fixture against Chievo in his Juventus years.
Despite a fierce rivalry, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo share a lot of similarities: they are both peerless in the modern game, have won almost every accolade going, ply their trade in Spain – oh, and neither can dress for shit. At times it actually seems like they’re even trying to outdo each other as to who can brick a fit in the most spectacular fashion. Currently, it’s too close to call.
The Mundial Verdict: Appalling, isn’t it? But sort of admirable. In a weird way. Maybe in many, many years we will look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s mawkish, self-obsessed sense of style in the same way that we get all dewy-eyed about Beckham’s sarong, and Diego Maradona’s debilitating cocaine habit. Maybe not. Only time will tell.
When fit (and that’s a bit of a rarity), the on-field elegance and élan of Daniel Sturridge is a sight to behold. He is capable of feats of magic, lighting up games with a daring unorthodoxy that few Premier League players can match, and celebrating goals with his novel wriggly-arms-dance. Sadly, we get to witness this about four times a season before Sturridge retreats to the comfortable familiarity of the treatment table. All that time off, however, has seen the Liverpool striker honing his wardrobe instead, mixing the likes of Hood By Air, Lanvin and Air Jordans to varying degrees of effect.
The Mundial Verdict: I once spoke to Daniel Sturridge about Air Max ‘95s, and he referred to them as 110s. Whatever you think of him on the pitch, Daniel Sturridge knows clothes. He gets it. He’s more Hypebeast than style icon, but it beats bland any day.
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