Almost 20 years later, legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo has finally admitted what we were all thinking about his haircut for the 2002 World Cup final.
Ronaldo had been in electrifying form all tournament as Brazil made it to the showpiece event in Japan and South Korea in 2002, but ahead of the final against Germany, he decided to shave his hair off… aside from his fringe.
It didn’t look too good then, and the man himself admitted it didn’t look very good when he looks back on it now either—but fortunately, he sees the funny side.
“It was horrible!” Ronaldo told Sports Illustrated.
“I apologise to all the mothers who saw their children get the same haircut,” he added.
Children across the globe copied the man of the moment’s look, not just those back home in his native Brazil.
But interestingly, there was a method behind the madness. Ronaldo revealed that in Brazil’s semi-final victory against Turkey, where he scored the only goal, he sustained a minor muscle injury.
The haircut, he claimed, was a diversion tactic to stop people talking about his fitness.
“The journalists forgot about the injury,” he added. “I saw my teammates and I asked them, ‘Do you like it?’ And they said, ‘No, it’s horrible! Cut this off.’ But the journalists saw my haircut and forgot about the injury,” he said.
It certainly worked, but Ronaldo could never have anticipated the extent, considering how much he was still asked about it.
Fortunately for both Ronaldo and Brazil, no injury or haircut could stop them and the striker scored twice in the second half to defeat Germany 2-0 in the World Cup final.
Ronaldo also finished the tournament as top scorer with a tally of eight goals, meaning he won the Golden Boot as well.
The triumph remains Brazil’s most recent World Cup glory with five wins across their history.
Nowadays, Ronaldo owns Spanish side Real Valladolid, who are currently 16th in the La Liga standings, four points above the relegation zone.