Does Hair Style Affect Goal Tally?

13 Jul

French international Djibril Cissé signed with Lazio today, citing racism as the main reason for his departure from Greece. Cissé is probably best known for his eccentric and creative hair styles, which include not only the hair atop his head but facial hair as well. From the neck up, the man appears to be dressed like a clown. What you may find surprising, though, is the amount of goals he has scored throughout his career. Although he’s moved around to a number of clubs, each destination has resulted in consistent and at times significant goal tallies.

Which made me wonder: does the hair have anything to do with goal production? Does he score more with a blue mohawk than he does with a bleached beard?

In order to find out, a collage of pictures was created from each of the five clubs where he has played (Auxerre, Liverpool, Marseilles, Sunderland, and Panathanaikos). Each collage was then compared to the number of goals scored for that club and voilà, a conclusion was drawn.

The results may surprise you…

Auxerre (1998-2004) – 166 appearances/90 goals

Cissé made his first appearance for Auxerre at the age of seventeen, but was limited to only three appearances in his first two seasons with the club. That could very well have something to do with his awful haircut pictured on the top-left. What was he thinking?! Cissé eventually chose to shave his head and bleach it ala Papa Smurf – a style that would define him over the next four seasons at Auxerre who reaped plenty of benefits. In his final four seasons, Cissé scored 90 goals in 163 appearances. He twice led Ligue 1 in scoring in 2001-02 and 2003-04. A simple haircut (by his standards) resulted in many more goals.

The one and only faux pas during his time at Auxerre was the spider web in January 2004. He scored only four goals between January and March (amidst a season total of 29).  Go figure! He eventually bleached out the web and scored eight goals in the final two months of the season.

Liverpool (2004-2006) – 82 appearances/22 goals

Arrival in the Premier League brought a dramatic revolution to Cissé’s sense of style, and it may have cost him. From a dragon stencil on the back of his head, to racing stripes, to a maze of cornrows, to reptile-like scales, the limits of his creativity were endless. Unfortunately, the hair flair resulted in a significant drop in goal output resulting in the lowest appearance-goal ratio of his career (ranking at the end of this post). Compounding that statistic was a horror leg break which sidelined him for five and a half months.  Although he did win a Champions League title, his time at Liverpool was marked by less scoring and an injury to accompany the flashiest hair of his career.

Marseille (2006-2008) – 78 appearances/37 goals

A return to his country of birth, first on loan in 2006-07 and then permanently for two more seasons, forced a humbling of the striker and his appearance. Perhaps the injury put things in perspective for him. Whatever the catalyst, he needed a trial by fire before fully undertaking his transformation. He made his first appearance for Marseilles in December 2006 (top left photo) and went on to score four goals in his next fourteen appearances prompting widespread criticism from the media. Alas, he removed the gibberish atop his head for the clean bleached look, and scored another four goals in his final seven league appearances that season (finishing with fifteen in all). In 2007-08 he improved upon the tame hairstyle with a normal mohawk (compared to the Liverpool scales), and he found his old form again scoring 22 goals in all competitions that season.

Sunderland (2008-2009) – 38 appearances/11 goals

Cissé returned to England on loan in 2008 and went for an M&M collection of colored mohawks, seeking to carry the success of his previous campaign in Marseilles to the league that witnessed his poorest career goal production. Once again, considering the benchmark of normalcy is bleach, his desire for flare and panache cost him dearly. Cissé scored half as many goals as the season before.

Panathanaikos (2009-2011) – 88 appearances/55 goals

Just like in 2006, his post-England destination provided an opportunity of reawakening and humility. We finally had a chance to see his real hair color, although you should excuse him for the brief bald experiment. Bleach and peach fuzz galore! Cissé threw out the rainbow tie-dye kit and the best run of his career ensued. He especially shined in league matches where he scored 50 goals in 60 appearances.

RESULTS: What did we learn? His two worst seasons statistically (Liverpool and Sunderland) coincided with the most radical hairdos of his career. Flashy colors, ornate designs, and a complete dereliction of style caused his goal tally to drop significantly (not to mention the worst injury of his career). We also learned that normalcy meant bleach…or his natural hair color. It was during these episodes in France and Greece where the striker’s numbers become extremely impressive. Lazio supporters have the potential of adding an excellent goal threat to their ranks. For their sake, I hope he doesn’t change the hair color to sky blue.

Appearance-Goal Ratio

Panathanaikos – 1.6

Auxerre – 1.84

Marseilles – 2.11

Sunderland – 3.45

Liverpool – 3.72


3 Responses to “Does Hair Style Affect Goal Tally?”

  1. Poker Fiend July 15, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Awesome stuff. Cheers for this entertaining piece of reading, keep up the good work!

  2. DennisDennis July 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    This is awesome, but I’d just like to point out that it could also be that he struggles in England.

  3. Bennett July 13, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    fantastic stuff – this is why i read your blog

    insightful, full of pictures, and correlations i wouldn’t think of in my wildest, boring-haired dreams

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