In this weekly column, Impact Sport takes out its red pen to assess different categories within the world of sport. First up, beards.

There are not many ways to express one’s individuality in a team uniform. Jewellery is dangerous. Tattoos look naïve. Headwear is impractical unless essential. But Mother Nature has handily equipped men with the ability to sprout and tend to a multitude of fine thread-like strands of keratin on cheek and chin. The beard’s Neanderthalian statement has endured from the caves to the sports field.

Few have it because their virility simply has nowhere else to go. Many superstitiously refuse to shave during win-streaks or playoffs. Some just make you question. Here is how the razorless compare:

 

Antonio Nocerino

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As primped as Prada, one look at Antonio Nocerino’s stubble and you would think he is in Milan for fashion rather than football. Striking the perfect balance between thickness and trim, it frames his strong jawline and lends itself to the jealousy of pogonophiles.

A+

 

Boston Red Sox

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In one of the most superstitious of sports, Boston’s bearded brotherhood offers a means by which the team can develop trust in each other and connect with the fans. Playing through the itch and the sweat, the Red Sox will not care much about the aesthetics. That is, as long as they keep winning in their hirsute pursuit of World Series rings.

A+

 

Brian Wilson

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He turned down a $1 million offer from a razor blade company to shave the growth all off. It is fair to say Brian Wilson has long been inscribed in facial-hair folklore. (He also sports a mohawk – even though baseballers always wear caps – and claims he is a “certified ninja”.)

A

 

 

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea-Pirlo

From the Nocerino school of stubbleometry, Andrea Pirlo wears his whiskers the way he kicks his footballs: with an elegant arrogance that makes his onlookers unworthy. When he’s not dropping shoulders and spraying passes, expect him to be sipping fine cognac and smoking a cigar with Dimitar Berbatov.

B+

 

Greg Zanon

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Bearded ice hockey players are clever. How else do you keep your chin warm on the rink? Heck, you could even block a slapshot with that thing. Luckily, Greg Zanon’s UDHS (upside-down head syndrome) is easily treated with the aid of a helmet.

C

 

Abel Xavier

Abel-Xavier-cropped

It remains unknown whether he has played for more clubs than he has had hairstyles. What is all too obvious, however, is that bleach-blonde-goatee-sideburn combo. Abel Xavier can teach you a thing or two about how to stand out on a football pitch. Literally.

D+

 

 

Robert Pirès

Robert-Pires_1253539

Who gave his son a Sharpie?

E

 

Alexi Lalas

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The US soccer G.O.A.T.’s goatee is famous enough for a Twitter account (@AlexiLalasBeard). Unfortunately for Alexi, Teletubby Laa-Laa dons a better chinstrap.

E-

 

 

Scott Pollard

scot-pollard-11

You’re doing it wrong, Scott.

F

 

John Mastrini

@honzamastrini

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