Samson may have had long hair to keep his prodigious strength, but the soccer players on our list simply had long, flowing locks because they looked cool.
Some of the greatest players ever to grace the game have flown across the soccer field, hair bouncing everywhere, as they took apart teams, terrifying opponents and scoring for fun.
Not that long hair is a preserve of strikers, there are many examples of giant defenders with long hair.
Players who might have looked fashionable but knew how to stick the boot in to remind strikers that they wouldn’t get everything their own way.
Let’s take a look at some of the greatest ever players who sported long hair; there’s a definite continental and South American feel to the list, and it seems to be more common for players of European or Latin countries who find that long hair does the trick.
Here are the 15 greatest soccer players ever with long hair.
15. Mauro Camoranesi – Argentina
The first, but certainly not the last Argentinian soccer player on our list is the superb Mauro Camoranesi.
Despite being born in Argentina, Camoranesi actually played his soccer for Italy on the international stage, and his ponytail became iconic at both Juventus and the Italian team.
Despite being extremely fond of his long hair, Camoranesi promised to have his locks cut off if Italy won the 2006 World Cup. True to his word, the player asked teammate Massimo Oddo to cut his ponytail off while in the center circle after Italy lifted the trophy.
One of the finest players to play for Juventus, Camoranesi typifies the Latin look, and his ponytail looked great right up until Oddo took the scissors to it.
14. Hector Bellerin – Spain
Okay, Hector Bellerin is as likely to be seen with short hair these days, but when he first burst onto the scene at Arsenal, the young, industrious Spaniard had long, flowing hair that would chase him around the soccer field like an excited puppy.
At times, Bellerin would run around the pitch like an excited puppy himself and quickly became a fan favorite at Arsenal.
The Spanish right-back would prove to be a hardworking, dynamic player in his ten seasons with Arsenal. Easily identifiable by his long brown hair, Bellerin eventually left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2022.
13. Diego Forlan – Uruguay
With 525 career appearances in the league and 222 goals, Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan has proven himself to be one of Europe’s most consistent and lethal strikers.
It’s only during his spell at Manchester United that the player seemed to lack the cutting edge to score on a regular basis.
Even at United, his work rate was superb, and he’s still regarded with affection by Manchester United fans despite his poor haul of ten league goals for the club. With a South American look to him, Forlan was tanned, athletic, and had long hair held back by a headband.
After Leaving Manchester, the superb Uruguayan moved to Villareal, where he averaged a goal every two games.
His form in Spain prompted Atletico Madrid to buy the player, where, yet again, his stock rose sharply as he again maintained an average of a goal every two games. Forlan has the honor of being the first Uruguayan to reach 100 international caps.
12. Antoine Griezmann – France
A world-class forward for years, Antoine Griezmann’s trademark shoulder-length hair would flap behind the French international as he tore through defenses with Atletico Madrid.
His quality made Griezmann the fifth most expensive player of all time when Barcelona bought him in 2019.
While things haven’t worked out at Barcelona, Griezmann’s international career has remained strong, with the player winning the World Cup in 2018 and finishing second in 2022 after losing on penalties to Argentina.
A left-sided forward, Griezmann is able to play on the wing and in the striker’s role and is known for his assists, loping runs down the wing, and lustrous hair.
11. Edinson Cavani – Uruguay
Having played for some of the most well-respected European clubs, Edinson Cavani, the Uruguayan striker whose goals helped Paris Saint Germain to six Ligue 1 titles, is regarded as one of the most prolific strikers of his era.
It’s also said that the Uruguay international is among the most likable, most down-to-earth players around.
With his long, curly dark hair and chiseled good looks, Cavani cuts quite an imposing figure, and to see him on the pitch, you’d think he was a ruthless, single-minded athlete. And with a game to play, he is; you don’t become PSG’s all-time top scorer without being ruthless.
Off the pitch, Cavani is thoughtful, generous to a fault, and so down to earth that he’s been seen catching the bus rather than driving.
10. Erling Haaland – Norway
The new kid on the block, Erling Haaland, has every attribute required to become the greatest striker of all time. He’s built like a bear, runs like an Olympian, and always hits the target.
His goalscoring record since joining Molde is astonishing. At Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City, his statistics are frightening.
It’s hard to miss Haaland while he’s on the soccer field; he’s over 6 feet tall, has long, pale blonde hair, and has a stare that can curdle milk.
At only 22, Haaland has the world at his feet and is showing every sign of being single-minded in his goal of being the best.
Few players can match the Norweigians’ desire to be the best, every time the ball enters the opponent’s half, getting on the scoresheet is all the striker can think about.
It makes him a nightmare for defenses; he’s strong, quick, and agile and looks set for an incredible career in elite soccer.
9. Pavel Nedved – Czech Republic
Former Lazio and Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved was one of the Czech Republic’s finest players. He was a dynamic, intelligent attacking midfielder with a thunderous long-range shot.
He had the pace and ball skills to maneuver around opposing players, wreaking havoc from his attacking midfield berth.
A stocky player, Nedved had long blond hair down past his shoulders and became a fan favorite with Serie A fans and pundits.
Only the second Czech player to ever win the Ballon d’Or, Nedved was a Scudetto winner with both Lazio and Juventus.
He is one of the few superstar players that stayed with Juventus when the Calciopoli scandal saw the club relegated to Serie B in 2006. He helped the club immediately return to the top division of Italian soccer.
Despite his silky skills and handsome appearance, Nedved was often accused of being too reckless when tackling opponents.
8. Gareth Bale – Wales
Can you classify someone as having long hair when they often wear their flowing locks in a top-knot?
We’re going to say yes, because Gareth Bale, of Wales and Real Madrid fame, certainly fits the bill as one of the best-ever soccer players. And his hair is long; it’s just that Bale often prefers to wear his hair in a top-knot when on the pitch.
Having retired from soccer in January 2023, Bale put to bed one of the most interesting and, at times, controversial careers in soccer.
A star for Tottenham Hotspur and Wales, Bale’s well-documented national pride saw him put in some truly spectacular performances for his country. The same, however, can’t be said of his time at Real Madrid.
Often injured and usually happier on the golf course than the training field, Bale was widely regarded as a flop by Madrid fans.
In fairness to Bale, his three La Liga titles, five (yes, five) Champions League winner’s medals, and three World Club Cup trophies show that while he may not have been the most popular player in the team, he certainly knew how to win. Perhaps it was the top knot that did it.
7. Andrea Pirlo – Italy
Andrea Pirlo is the coolest-looking Italian player of all time (and that’s a claim not made lightly); he oozed class and style.
Pirlo, probably the most outstanding deep-lying playmaker we’ve ever seen, made his name at AC Milan during an incredibly successful ten years, from 2001-2011.
Remarkably, despite his evident skills, Milan allowed Pirlo to leave on a free transfer, believing he was too old.
Juventus, Milan’s Serie A rivals, felt his experience was just what their team needed, and over the next four seasons, Pirlo would win the Serie A title four times.
His trademark long hair and beard became a part of the image; Pirlo, older, grayer, but still the most intelligent and influential deep-lying playmaker in world soccer, bossed the midfield at Juventus.
His range of passing, especially his long-range passes upfield, timing, and ability to find space were incredible. His almost superhuman free-kick-taking made Andrea Pirlo the standard that every midfielder for the next generation has to live up to.
6. Virgil van Dijk – Netherlands
Few defenders in modern soccer are more intimidating than Virgil van Dijk, the giant Liverpool defender with long hair and an even longer stride.
Arguably the best defender Liverpool has bought in the past twenty seasons. It was primarily due to the Dutchman that the Anfield club finally lifted their first trophy in over 30 years.
With his hair scraped back into a ponytail, the huge Netherlands international cuts an imposing figure in defense and has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League for some time.
Whether that’s down to his long hair is anyone’s guess, but we were inclined to think it has something to do with it.
5. Luka Modric – Croatia
One of the greatest midfielders Real Madrid has ever possessed, the former Tottenham Hotspur playmaker has aged like a fine wine.
Luka Modric is a slightly built, creative, intelligent midfielder with one of the quickest soccer brains in the game. Controlling games from the midfield berth, Modric’s signature long hair and rapid movement stand him apart.
Modric has almost single-handedly carried the Croatian national team to two major trophies, helping his team to a runners-up spot at the 2018 World Cup and almost making it there again in 2022.
A reserved and quiet player off the pitch, Modric is regarded as one of the finest midfielders in the world.
4. Sergio Ramos – Spain
Real Madrid’s legendary enforcer, there’s never been a more fearsome sight than Sergio Ramos, long blonde hair flapping uncontrollably, bearing down on your star striker.
With murderous intent in his eyes, Ramos was the consummate winner, and he didn’t mind getting a red card if it meant winning the battle.
The most-sent-off player of all time, Spain and Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos had long hair and dozens of tattoos and looked like an angry biker. He could also play soccer and was a superb passer, tackler, and organizer.
Despite his psychopathic tendency to get a red card every eight minutes, he’s one of the best defenders the world has ever seen, and he had nice hair.
3. Ronaldinho – Brazil
Gliding around the soccer pitch with the grace of a ballerina and the smile of a child at Christmas, Brazilian legend Ronaldinho was one of his generation’s most naturally talented players.
Ronaldinho was a world-class player in his day, a World Cup winner with Brazil and a part of the Barcelona juggernaut that won everything in Europe.
Easily recognizable, the tall Brazilian with a goofy smile and long, flowing locks would easily skip past opponents. There’s never been a player who looked to be enjoying their soccer more than Ronaldinho.
With the game becoming more professional and winning being everything, players can be under enormous pressure, but Ronaldinho just looked like he was having too much fun to care.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden
As mad as a box of wasps rolling down a hill and as self-assured as a movie star, there’s never quite been a player like Zlatan.
When a player refers to himself in the third person, you know they’re confident. And as the Swedish striker says of himself, “I don’t need a trophy to tell myself that I’m the best.”
It’s hard to miss the giant Sweden striker; he’s well over six feet tall, built like a barn door, and has long dark hair. He’s also a martial arts expert, so make sure to keep on his good side.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is excellent entertainment, both on and off the pitch, but he is one of the best strikers of the past three decades to credit him where it’s due.
1. Roberto Baggio – Italy
No list of the greatest players with long hair can only be complete with the inclusion of Roberto Baggio.
With a nickname like “The Divine Ponytail,” it doesn’t take a soccer fan to know that the most significant Italian player of all time liked having his hair long.
A devout Buddhist, Baggio was the most instantly recognized player on the planet, especially with his short hair and long ponytail.
One of World Cup history’s most widely seen pictures is of Baggio, head down, ponytail hanging loose, after missing the deciding penalty in the USA World Cup.
After performing like a champion throughout the tournament, it was a sad end to the story that Baggio would miss the penalty that would give Brazil the trophy.