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A brief history of Paul Pogba's spectacular haircuts

France’s midfielder is the fresh cut poet laureate of this year’s tournament.

I am Welsh by heritage. Wales is my second national team. I love Wales. And I hate it that their haircuts are trash at this year’s European Championship.

For all of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey’s follicular crimes, the Euros has a savior, a man who has turned his scalp into maniacal, postmodern art. I am of course talking about France’s midfield wunderkind Paul Pogba.

Surely you’ve seen one of Pogba’s elegantly intricate coiffures by now. Perhaps it was the anime Mohawk he sported at Juventus. Or maybe it was the Pac-Man ‘n’ Dab side-shave he rocked at this year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony. He’s a big fan of Minions, as this cut from March amply demonstrates. Certainly you had to appreciate the Millennial statement he made in February, when a Pokeball showed up just below his part line.

The Euros are no different, and it may be Pogba’s greatest declaration yet. The hashtag has gone sentient, and it’s living on the side of Pogba’s skull. #POGBOOM is upon us.

Pogba’s hairstyles are not exactly sui generis, but rather variations on a theme. He does shave patterns on the sides, while varying the length on the top. There is always gold. Always. It matches the color of his soul. They are defiant statements of the pop culture of the ‘aughts, mixed in with symbols of fierceness, strength, occasional dance fads and, most importantly, the man himself. Jean Baudrillard would have a field day with the nested symbolism of each and every look.

Soccer players’ hair is closely scrutinized, widely mocked and occasionally confusing. That's a shame, because soccer is the only team sport that allows for, and has attempted to embrace, such self-expression. Yet Pogba is the only one who has transformed his head into art. Even if he wasn't one of the best midfielders in the world, that would be enough to earn him praise.

We’ll be tracking Pogba’s latest looks from now on in this space. They’re too numerous and too good not to. Here’s a helpful summary to bring you more or less up to date.

Update: Paul Pogba's haircut for Manchester United vs. Liverpool has his initials in highlighter green, and is good.