Originally created 06/29/02

Ronaldo's hairstyle making waves in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Call it the stubby unicorn look. Call it a fashion statement. Call it whatever you like.

But when star striker Ronaldo shaved off all his hair except for a small wedge-shaped patch along the top of his forehead, he started something of a trend.

In the poor Bento Ribeiro neighborhood on Rio's north side, where the 25-year-old striker grew up, kids are lining up to have their heads shaved Ala Ronaldo.

"Since Ronaldo cut his hair this way, I've done more than 50 heads," said Lene de Paula, who is charging three reals, or a little over a dollar, for the haircut at her beauty shop around the corner from where the star was born.

Thirteen-year-old, Gabriel Oliveira da Souza may have looked less than pleased with his new haircut but denied he was disappointed.

"It's cool. Ronaldo's my idol," he said giggling.

Not everyone's happy with the new look, though.

"God help me!" 25-year-old cleaning lady Ana Paula Noronha Viera de Paula replied when asked what she thought of Ronaldo's new do. "My boyfriend cut his hair like that and I made him shave it all off!"

When Ronaldo premiered his new look in Brazil's semifinal against Turkey, Globo TV sports commentator Galvao Bueno said the cut was "overdoing it."

On the Web site of the local sports daily Lance, a special page invites people to click on a selection of hair styles to see if they can improve on Ronaldo's new look.

With a mere mouse click, fans can see Ronaldo wearing David Beckham's spiky blond hair, teammate Ronaldinho's wavy curly-locks or with Nigerian Taribo West's pair of stubby, knotted braids.

Ronaldo haircuts are just the latest outpouring of World Cup mania sweeping Brazil.

Brazil was slow to get into the spirit for this year's Cup. Maybe it was the early hours most of the games were played - the earliest were at 3:30 a.m. local time and the latest came at 8:30 a.m., when everybody was supposed to be heading to work.

Or maybe it was their disastrous run in the qualifiers where Brazil, which had only dropped a single qualifying match in their earlier runs, lost six games and only managed to squeak by Venezuela.

But after Brazil beat England in the quarterfinals the celebrations started kicking into high-gear.

In the southern city of Porto Alegre, road crews were rushed out in the middle of the night to paint many of the city's curbs in the national colors blue, green and yellow.

Sales of soccer shirts and other clothing fashioned out the national flags took off and now many here believe a record fifth World Cup title is all but inevitable.

Many bars are planning to stay open all night Saturday so clients can watch the game well after the sun has come up Sunday morning.

And in Rio de Janeiro, the mayor's office finally got around to mounting a large-screen TV on the beach, a fixture of earlier Cups, so beach-goers can watch the championship.

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