Fabien Barthez is widely recognized as one of the most eccentric goalkeepers to have come out from France. The 5’11’ tall shot-stopper was quite adept at his trade, but he seemingly lost his mind at regular intervals to attract controversy towards him.
Barthez had a decorated career – especially with the French national team. He won the 1998 FIFA World Cup with Les Bleus as well as the Euro 2000 as well. Barthez finished his career after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where France ended up as runners-up.
In doing so, he ended his career as the most-capped goalkeeper for the France national team – which was recently bettered by Hugo Lloris. Barthez spent the majority of his domestic career in France – playing for clubs like Marseille, AS Monaco as well as Nantes.
Fabien Barthez was at Manchester United
However, the Frenchman opted to get out of his comfort zone and join Manchester in 2000 as the successor to the great Peter Schmeichel. The burden of replacing such an iconic goalkeeper ended up getting to him, as Barthez had a very topsy-turvy career at Old Trafford.
While he did win two Premier League titles with them, the Frenchman is generally remembered for his awful errors. Barthez had a very risky goalkeeping style as a ‘sweeper keeper’ at a time when that term was still in its infancy, where he often wandered out of his goal line and tried ambitious passes that could not work.
Some of his infamous errors include gifting two goals to Thierry Henry in United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal at Highbury in the 2001/02 season as well as how he got done in his near post by Ronaldo Nazario in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-finals exit to Real Madrid in 2002/03 campaign – which proved to be his final game for the Red Devils.
Fabien Barthez once had a full head of hair
Another aspect about Barthez that is equally memorable – if not more – as his eccentric antics in goal is his appearance. The Frenchman went fully bald during his football career and was often taunted for his baldness during his years at United.
The French goalkeeper was a victim of a lot of bald jokes after making mistakes during games and earned a bit of a spoiled reputation for it too. However, some fans have been spooked by a recent revelation about Barthez’s appearance.
It appears that the goalkeeper actually had a lot of hair on his head early in his football career. Initially, Barthez was a brunette with a lovely hairstyle before deciding to colour it slightly blonde after joining Marseille in 1992.
He started to go bald towards the end of the 1990s decade and decided to shave it all off before getting the look for which he’s best remembered. It’s not exactly known why Barthez got rid of his hair, as it could be because of his experiencing early baldness. He probably didn’t want to go undergo a hair transplant procedure, as the one Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes has done recently.
It also could be a case of Barthez just feeling that he’d look his best self as fully bald. Some supporters have only recently discovered his side of the goalkeeper and have come up with some witty jokes to compare him with different characters.
Barthez has seemingly faded away from football after his retirement in 2007. He worked as a goalkeeping coach for the France national team during Laurent Blanc’s term as manager, but that was short-lived.
Barthez also tried pursuing a motorsport career for years after leaving the beautiful game, which lasted for quite a few years before he stopped racing. But the Frenchman’s eccentric goalkeeping style and memorable appearance will be remembered for a long time by fans of the 90s or early 2000s.