You don’t have to have a thick head of hair to be a great soccer player. There have been hundreds of good bald-headed players over the years and dozens of great ones. Some players such as Alfredo Di Stefano, may have had a full head of hair when they first started out as pro soccer players, but were folliclly-challenged by the time their careers came to an end. Some of them, including Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben, started losing their hair as young men and figured they may as well shore off their locks completely instead of trying to cover just part of their head.
These following players all went bald at one point in their career or at least 50-per cent bald. Most of them decided to shave their heads, but a few of them held on to what hair they had left and used the famous comb-over tactic to help them appear less bald. We haven’t included players who may have shaved their heads as a fashion statement, such as David Beckham, since they could still grow hair if they chose too. In addition, players like Wayne Rooney and Wesley Sneijder have been omitted since they decided to stop their balding by using hair transplants or plugs.
The following list represents the top 15 bald-headed players in soccer history and there are some great ones on here including many European Champions League, World Cup and European Championship winners. They represent numerous nationalities and include goaltenders, defenders, midfielders, wingers and strikers. Playing the majority of their careers with a lack of hair certainly didn’t hinder these players and they would have been stars in any era of the game.
15 Brad Friedel
Former American international goalkeeper Brad Friedel played 82 times for the U.S. national squad, which is the most ever by a goalie, and appeared in three World Cups. Friedel made a name for himself in the English Premier League with Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham after leaving the Columbus Crew in 1997. Friedel currently owns the Premier League record for the most consecutive matches played at 310 and retired last year with 668 club games to his name.
14 Carsten Jancker
Carsten Jancker was a German striker who played from 1993 to 2009 with several clubs such as for Rapid Wien, FC Koln, Bayern Munich, FC Kaiserslautern and Udinese. He’s now as assistant coach with Rapid Wien. Jancker’s chrome dome and 6-foot-4-inch frame intimidated most defenders even though he wasn’t then greatest in the air for a big man. He managed to find the back of the net 10 times in 33 matches for Germany’s national team and added another 83 goals in 324 career club outings.
13 Yordan Letchkov
Bulgarian international midfielder Yordan Letchkov became a national hero back in the 1994 World Cup in America. He helped his team knockout reigning champions Germany at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and make it to the semi finals. Letchkov played for several top clubs such as CSKA Sofia, Hamburg, Marseille and Besiktas. He only managed five goals in 45 appearances for his homeland, but netted 101 league goals in 406 matches. Letchkov’s goal against Germany led to Bulgaria’s best-ever finish at a World Cup even though they were beaten by Italy in the final four.
12 Michael Bradley
Current Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley is an underrated footballer who has starred for the U.S. national team since 2006. The 28-year-old midfielder has 15 goals in 107 international fixtures and has another 35 in 269 league contests. Bradley learned his craft over in Europe with clubs such as Borussia Monchengladbach, Heerenveen, Aston Villa, Chievo and Roma. He’s a steady and calming influence on the pitch and has just helped Toronto reach the MLS playoffs for the first time in club history.
11 Franck Leboeuf
Franck Leboeuf is now known as a sports commentator and actor, but he formerly played as a central defender for the French national squad. He won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships with his homeland as well as numerous domestic titles while playing with the likes of Chelsea, Laval, Strasbourg and Marseille. The defender chipped in with four goals in 50 international appearances and added 89 more in 480 club contests. Leboeuf scored many goals from set pieces and penalty kicks and missed just three times from the spot while playing with Chelsea. Leboeuf’s most well-known acting role came in The Theory of Everything, which highlighted the life of Stephen Hawking.
10 Fabien Barthez
French international Fabien Barthez might have let in a few howlers during his career, but he was also one of the best and most-entertaining goaltenders on the planet. Barthez was a member of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad and also won the European Championships with it two years later. He came close to another World Cup again in 2006, but France was beaten by Italy in the final. The bald keeper shares the World Cup record for most clean sheets in the tournament with 10, which was also achieved by England’s Peter Shilton. Barthez also captured a Champions League medal as well as several English Premier League ad French Ligue 1 crowns with the likes of Toulouse, Marseille, Monaco, Manchester United and Nantes. Barthez made 86 appearances for France as well as 592 club games.
9 Esteban Cambiasso
Thirty-five-year-old defensive midfielder Esteban Cambiasso currently holds the record for winning the most league titles for an Argentinean player with 23 of them to his name. That gives him one more than former great Alfredo Di Stefano. Cambiasso, who presently plays with Olympiakos in Greece, won most of his league crowns while playing in the Italian Serie A for 10 years with Inter Milan. He won five league championships there as well as a European Champions League medal. Cambiasso has 52 caps for Argentina with five goals. He’s also played with River Plate, Real Madrid and Leicester City with 84 goals in 653 club games.
8 Freddy Ljungberg
Sweden’s Freddy Ljungberg patrolled the wing for several top teams from 1994 to 2014 such as Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic as well as the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders of MLS. He won a pair of FA Cups and Premier League championships with Arsenal and scored in two FA Cup finals. Ljungberg represented his homeland 75 times and managed to find the net 14 times. He also added 88 goals in 5-2 club contests and is well known off the pitch for modeling Calvin Klein underwear as well as several other major companies including Nike, L'Oreal, Puma and Pepsi.
7 Patrick Vieira
Former midfielder Patrick Viera of Senegal played from 1994 to 2011 with elite sides such as Cannes, Milan, Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City. Although he was born in Africa, Vieira represented France at the national level and scored six times in 107 fixtures with another 58 goals in 651 club contests. Vieira’s currently a youth coach with Manchester City, but had his best years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005. He captained the squad and won three league titles with the Gunners as well as four FA Cups. He then helped Juventus win the Italian Serie A title once and Inter Milan capture it three times. Internationally, he won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships with France.
6 Arjen Robben
Dutch winger Arjen Robben currently stars with German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. He’s also played with Groningen, PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid Robben, who started to lose his hair in his 20s, is now 31 years old and has 174 goals in 480 club games as well as another 28 in 87 appearances for Holland. Robben, who’s known for his speed, excellent dribbling skills and left-footed shots from the right wing, has appeared in three European Championships and World Cups, but has yet to win one. However, he’s won titles in England and Germany and scored the game winner for Bayern Munich in the 2012/13 European Champions League final.
5 Grzegorz Lato
Former Polish star Grzegorz Lato played the wing for his nation and hammered home 45 goals in 100 games with another 165 in 452 club outings from 1969 to 1983. Lato took home the Golden Boot from the 1974 World Cup tournament in Germany by scoring seven goals in the vent. He also helped his country place third at the World Cup that year as well as in the 1982 in Spain. In addition, he captured a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany in 1972. Lato went into politics after retiring and served as a senator in his native Poland and was also the nation’s football association president from October of 2008 to October of 2012.
4 Thierry Henry
Former French international striker Thierry Henry was one of the best goal scorers in the history of the game for both club and country. Henry’s pro career spanned from 1994 to 2014 and he starred for numerous clubs such as Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls. The slick player scored 51 times in 123 appearances for his homeland and added 360 more goals in 792 club contests.
He’s the all-time leading scorer with English Premier League side Arsenal with 228 goals in all competitions. Henry won numerous team and individual trophies during his career including the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. Henry could probably still play today at the age of 38, but is now a well-paid commentator for Sky Sports.
3 Zinedine Zidane
Former French international midfielder Zinedine Zidane may always be remembered for head butting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final. However, he was also a hell of a football player. Zidane possessed great vision, technique and ball control while playing for his homeland and club teams such as Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid.
He won league titles in Italy and Spain as well as a European Champions League crown with Real Madrid when he scored the winning goal in 2002. Zidane won the 1998 World Cup at home and scored twice in the final in a 3-0 win over Brazil. He also won Euro 2000 with France and was named the tournament’s top player. Zidane is a three-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award and was named the top player at the 2006 World Cup even though he was sent off in the final and his team lost. Zidane scored 31 times in 108 internationals and added 125 goals in 681 club matches.
2 Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton is an England and Manchester United legend. He had a few hairs on his head back in 1966 when he led England to it’s one and only World Cup triumph at Wembley and was the nation’s all-tine leading scorer with 49 goals in 106 matches until Wayne Rooney pulled surpassed him this year with his 50th goal in 107 outings. Charlton had a rocket of a shot with both feet and ended his career with 260 goals in 807 career club contests. The gifted midfielder with the comb over also helped lead Man United to its first ever European Cup title in 1968 and took home the Ballon d’Or award for his play in 1966.
1 Alfredo Di Stefano
Former great Alfredo Di Stefano was another player who still had some hair left on his head, but had quite a bald patch on the back of it. He was born in Argentina and played internationally with his country of birth, Colombia and Spain. Di Stefano scored six times in six games with Argentina, six more in seven games with Colombia and 23 in 31 appearances with Spain. He’s regarded by many as the greatest ever player for Real Madrid and as one of the most complete players to ever grace a football pitch.
He won five straight European Cups with Madrid and scored in each of the finals and also won a pair of Ballon d'Or awards. Di Stefano played from 1945 to 1966 with River Plate, Huracan, Millonarios, Real Madrid and Espanyol with 484 goals in 665 club games.