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Style

PORTRAITS: The beautiful game

With the world’s eyes on the players who make this the beautiful game, we take an historic look at those who were revered for their sartorial style off the pitch

Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that ~ Bill Shankly

For better, for worse, football has become the most popular and most adored sport on Earth. Few, if any, occasions bring the world together in a cross-cultural celebration of a shared commonality with the fervour and passion that the FIFA World Cup galvanises every four years.

Since players like George Best captured the imagination and adoration of not just die-hard football fans who would never miss a match on the terraces, but the general public with his swashbuckling and cavalier approach to life, the exponents of the beautiful game have become superstars. A polytheistic gamut of modern deities to which there is truly no compare. For better. For worse.

With the labels of superstar, icon and role model comes scrutiny. On and off the pitch. What they say, do and wear is the daily fodder of the media: professional and civilian. It is no surprise, then, that what these fleet-footed demigods wear is the subject of much debate and flash photography. And some have captured the public’s attention with their sartorial prowess off the pitch, as much as their skills on the pitch.

Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that ~ Bill Shankly

[David Beckham]

The man who defines the tag of famous footballer. The quietly spoken lad from Leytonstone has become not just one of the most famous footballers, but one of the most famous men ever ­— thanks, as much to his right foot as his lavish outfits that became newspaper fodder throughout the ’90s and ’00s. From the sarong that showed men it was okay to step outside mainstream expectation to the sharp tailored suits he effortlessly dons in Haig Club ads, we could all aspire to bending the fashion rules like Becks.

Get the look

Czech & Speake

No.88 Shaving Set & Stand
AED 1,800.00

Sunspel

Q82 Short Sleeve Crew Neck Black
AED 249.00

Duke + Dexter

Crowning Glory- Black
AED 1,000.00

Quay Australia

CASSIUS-SILVER/MIRROR
AED 231.00

[George Weah]

The first non-European to win the Ballon d’Or (in 1995) the ex-AC Milan, Manchester City and Chelsea striker became the 25th President of Liberia at the end of last year. Always an honourable professional on the pitch, the 51-year-old is one of the few footballers able to make the transition from sporting arena to political theatre. And he’s always done it in style. Whether it’s presidential garb, or an unorthodox approach to a shirtless waistcoat look, the Liberian legend is a style icon for all.

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Anchor & Crew

Red Noir Belfast Bracelet
AED 714.00

Code of London

Mayfair grey and green check 'self fabric' waistcoat
AED 875.00

Code of London

Fulham grey with green check single breasted jacket
AED 1,800.00

Anchor & Crew

White Noir Falmouth Bracelet
AED 620.00

[Cristiano Ronaldo]

With a record-equalling five Ballon d’Or trophies lining his shelves, the Portuguese pin-up is one of the game’s most recognisable names and faces. Never shy to whip off his shirt to celebrate big moments in big games — if only for the press coverage  — the no. 7’s immaculate physique also makes him a popular clotheshorse. Whether it’s a dapper suit and double cuffs, or a relaxed T-shirt and jeans, Ron’s style oozes confidence and charisma.  

Get the look

Brooklyn

Commando pomade 2 oz.
AED 134.00

Sunspel

Q82 Short Sleeve Crew Neck White
AED 249.00

Timothy Everest

Timothy Everest X Fullcount Jean
AED 2,097.00

V76

Energising Shampoo
AED 85.00

[Neymar]

The most expensive footballer in the history of the game, Neymar Jnr’s sizeable price tag of €222 million has bought Paris Saint-Germain not just a deadly finisher on the pitch, but a style icon that attracts attention from fans and big business. The Brazilian’s easy-going street look is simple but tough to pull off quite as effortlessly as he does.

Get the look

Code of London

Barbican
AED 1,800.00

Sunspel

Q82 Short Sleeve Crew Neck White
AED 249.00

Finlay & Co

Draycott Tortoise - Gold Mirror
AED 1,075.00

Timothy Everest

Timothy Everest X Fullcount Jean
AED 2,097.00

[Hidetoshi Nakata]

A veritable style icon, Nakata is adored not just by his native Japanese followers, but by football fans with an eye for the dapper across the world. The former Japan international and Roma midfielder retired at the tender age of 29 because he had lost his passion for the game, had earned enough money and wanted to become a “better Japanese person” having lived away from his home country for too long, he said. If it weren’t for an immensely successful career as a footballer, those chiseled cheekbones and devil-may-care mid-distance gaze would’ve seen him swagger onto a catwalk for many an admiring fashion label.

Get the look

Code of London

Berkeley stone coloured single breasted blazer
AED 1,900.00

Timothy Everest

Navy Cotton/Cashmere Knitted Polo Shirt
AED 575.00

Duke + Dexter

Crowning Glory- Black
AED 1,000.00

Amr Saad

520 Urban Infused -Brown
AED 1,300.00

[George Best]

The epitome of the champagne playboy, Best’s cavalier approach to life, love and football earned him a cult following in the ’60s and ’70s that rivalled Beatlemania. In trying to maintain the exhausting pace of his lifestyle, the Irish winger tragically died at just 59. He’ll always be remembered for the uninhibited joie de vivre style he affected on and off the pitch.

Get the look

Code of London

St James brown and blue check single breasted jacket
AED 1,800.00

Richard James

Contemporary Shirt Mesh
AED 690.00

Grenson

Sneaker 1 Men's
AED 650.00

Bennett Winch

COMMUTER-OLIVE
AED 2,200.00

[Zlatan Ibrahimović]

Never one to doubt his abilities, the Swede is — certainly in his mind — a lion in comparison to the mere humans that play the game with and against him. Having won trophies with Barcelona, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and most recently Manchester United, Ibrahimović’s career has been long, eventful and prosperous. Unrivalled in its slickness, the Ibrahimović man-bun is a distinctive feature of the imperious 6’3” centre forward who cuts an urbane figure in anything that adorns his shoulders.

Get the look

Puma

Suede Classic Archive Birch-Peacoat
AED 410.00

Puma

TSUGI Jun Puma White-Puma White
AED 590.00

Grenson

Sneaker 3
AED 650.00

Puma

Clyde SM Puma White-Puma Black
AED 495.00

[Pep Guardiola]

Arguably the most stylish of them all, the Spanish coach has wowed lovers of the beautiful game with his era-defining style of play and his elegance on the sidelines. It shouldn’t be possible for one man to make a cashmere jumper, scarf and jeans seem like a tailored Tom Ford suit, but Guardiola does. And when he wears a suit, he takes dignified style to the next level.

Get the look

Richard James

Pocket Square Abstract Butterfly
AED 225.00

Code of London

Sloane
AED 2,650.00

Peckham Rye

Paisley tie - navy
AED 290.00

Emmett London

Light Blue Twill
AED 600.00

[Pelé]

Widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, the Brazilian striker captured the world’s imagination with his pace and power on the pitch, scoring a record 77 goals in 92 appearances and taking his nation to three World Cup trophies. When he wasn’t racing past defenders and slamming the ball into the top corner, his flamboyant style off the pitch rivalled his extravagance on it. Seen here in a vivid turquoise open collar shirt, Pelé never failed to ignite the Carnival spirit in all he did and wore.

Get the look

Timothy Everest

Timothy Everest X Fullcount Jean
AED 2,097.00

Elliot Rhodes

Smooth Calves Leather Belt
AED 575.00

Bow-Tie

Burton Box Calf Black Leather M
AED 1,100.00

Richard James

Contemporary Shirt Butterfly Print
AED 780.00

[Thierry Henry]

He’s just got that... je ne sais quoi... that... that “va va voom”, as the Renault adverts the Frenchman used to front had as their slogan. Henry’s panache with the ball at his feet and now in a television studio is unrivalled in its sophistication. Puma and Gillette knew what they were getting when they signed up Le Proffeseur to be the face of their brands: this is a man who could sell you air with just a casual glance and a smoothly delivered line in that sultry French drawl.

Get the look

Mr Natty

Shipwreck Soap 100g (soap)
AED 65.00

Haeckels

Seaweed / Geranium Hand Balm
AED 130.00

V76

Well Groomed Travel Kit
AED 180.00

V76

Exfoliating Facial Cleanser
AED 104.00

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