Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo’s appearance with facial hair ahead of joining up with Al-Nassr for their pre-season campaign caused a stir.
The Al-Nassr skipper is mostly known to be clean shaven but there are occasions when he was spotted with a beard.
Fresh off La Decima, Real Madrid’s tenth Champions League triumph, Ronaldo was unshaven during a training session with Los Blancos.
That was during the 2014-15 season, which ended Carlo Ancelotti’s first spell at the helm of the capital club after the Meringues clinched just the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
A few years later, towards the end of the 2017-18 season, Ronaldo was once more seen with a beard during a training session.
Fast-forwarding a few months to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Ronaldo, while shaving the day before Portugal took on Iberian rivals Spain, opted to keep a goatee as part of a joke with teammate Ricardo Quaresma.
He promised that if he scored in that fixture the goatee would be part of his look for the duration of the tournament.
Ronaldo revealed that as being the real reason behind the goatee after Portugal beat Morocco in their second game of the group stage.
It was not, as many posited, a targeted response as part of the G.O.A.T. debate that included long-time rival Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese netted four goals across those games as both Iberian sides secured progression to the knockout stage of the competition.
Fernando Santos’ men lasted only two more games in that edition of the FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldo’s next appearance with facial hair was in 2022 during his second stint at Old Trafford which paved the way to the Saudi Pro League.
He was photographed on an escalator with another goatee on that occasion.
The forward’s most recent appearance with facial hair came at the start of the month before gearing up for pre-season with his current club.
In the picture, Ronaldo sported a brand-new goatee as he was flanked by a fan on either side.
Why doesn’t Cristiano Ronaldo keep a beard for long time?
One of the reasons that endeared Ronaldo to millions worldwide has been his professionalism, not to mention his dedication to being the best he could be.
The decision to not grow a beard or maintain the same for a lengthy timeframe when he opted to grow one could well be a staple of that very professionalism.
Perhaps it could be that the Portugal star might just prefer a clean look as far as his personal grooming choices go.
It might also be the case that Ronaldo does not think he needs a beard to either look good or be perceived as sophisticated and/or dominant.
He surely believes that his track record on and off the pitch is proof enough of that.
Genetics and hormonal levels might have a role to play here too, perhaps not permitting Ronaldo to grow and maintain a thick beard.
After all, not every male possesses the same level of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone responsible for promoting facial hair growth.
Ronaldo’s new look has fans abuzz but the reasoning behind it remains unclear and it must be seen how long he sports this one.