Cristiano Ronaldo has gone through many different evolutions during his illustrious football career. As a player, he’s gone from a flamboyant and wasteful winger to a lethally efficient wide forward before adapting his game to that of a clinical penalty-box striker. During his ascent to the top of world football, he also became a fashion icon, with his striking looks and athletic prowess matching his footwork and technique to make him the most marketable and possibly the most popular football player in the world.
Whilst his style of play has constantly pushed forward as CR7’s technique adapted to the constant changes in his body that come with age, his hairstyles have been more open to revisiting old ways, with the Portuguese star cycling through a range of different looks throughout his career.
Whilst many will always think of him as a Real Madrid star, there will be countless more in Italy and England who remember him for his exploits at Juventus and Manchester United, respectively. At Manchester United, he initially appeared on the scene as a tricky winger who perhaps liked to do one step over too many but clearly had heaps of potential waiting to be coaxed out of him. The fan thrills this young Ronaldo brought with his trickery was the basis of what was to go on and make him such a star in his final years at United and for the majority of his time at Real Madrid. Even now, passing his mid-30s, that desire to show off playground skill moves still regularly bursts out. The young Ronaldo’s slight teenage frame will always be matched with the long hair and headband that accompanied his gangly legs which put many Premier League defenders on their backsides.
The hairband stopped coming out of the closet for years but as his evolution started to finish at Juventus it came back out. Now a fully grown adult, the frailty was replaced by the confidence of one of the world’s most-disciplined and gifted athletes. Whilst his time at United epitomised his inner child, his time at Juventus when the headband returned epitomised his ability to adapt to the effects of time whilst remaining one of the world’s best players.
For now, the headband seems to be gone again, but fans will always remember it being out for those moments at both ends of his ability’s wide spectrum.
Perhaps at Manchester United for his second stint, the evolution will continue even further and we could be treated to another show of the headband look. Perhaps as his speed, stamina and other physical traits decline with age he will start to play a deeper role than that of the classic 9 which he primarily occupies now. Who could’ve seen the supposedly ‘selfish’ (as a footballer) Ronaldo adapt his game to become a provider from the number ten role in the mould of his countrymen Deco or Bruno Fernandes before him? He certainly has the awareness of space on the pitch and the shooting ability from distance to pull it off. Maybe there are more sides of the player’s spectrum we’re yet to see and with it, another loop of the style choices.