The greatest bearded sportsman of all time

sergio-batista.jpgThe World of Beards is often asked “who is the greatest bearded sportsman of all time”? We now bring you the results of six and a half years extensive research. The greatest bearded sportsman of all time is……Sergio Batista.

The World Cup is indeed a World Cup and undoubtedly the greatest sporting competion in the World, ever. Surely then the greatest beard sporting sportsman must be a World Cup winner. Sergio Barista is the only man to have wc86_27s.jpgheld the World Cup aloft his facial furniture and therefore unrivaled as the World of Beards greatest sportsman.

Sergio Daniel Batista was born on the 9th November 1962 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Nicknamed El Checho (The Checho), he started playing in the youth system of Argentinos Juniors, with whom he would later win the Metropolitano and the Copa Libertadores in 1985. In 1986 he captured football’s greates prize, winning the World Cup with Argentina. Many have claimed that the 1986 World Cup belonged to one man, Diego Marradona. Not the World of Beards. While Diego was doing the fancy stuff in front of goal, Sergio was the unsung hero of the team. He was the defensive giant on whose shoulders Diego danced upon.

chauchecho.jpgAfter single handedly winning the World Cup for Argentina in 86, Batista would go on to win a runners up medal in 1990 and later a move into football management with his beloved Argentinos Juniors. Sadly though his beard could not inspire his squad in the way it did with the national side and he was sacked after only six games in September 2004. On his sacking Batisa told the World of Beards, through our resident translater (a 15 year old on work experience)  “one knows that soccer is thus. There are things that people do not realize, that just promotes and has been time to adapt to the category. But in the long run I know that it is going to arrive the recognition towards my person”.

Well Sergio, we formally recognise your person. The World’s Greatest Sportsman (with a beard).

Is Sergio the greatest? What about Brazilian ace Socrates or Georgie Best? What also of other sports, tennis player Marc Rosset for example – nicknamed the Yeti because of his straggly long hair and beard? Have your say in our forum.

Official Update!

Recent forum activity has suggested that Ricardo Villa, 1978 World Cup Winner was also bearded. The World of Beards can confirm that Ricky had a handlebar tache, not a beard at the time of winning the Cup. He did not lift the World Cup above a bearded face. 

The Argentina World Cup Squad 1978 (note no beards) 


Here in 1978 shortly after as he signed for Tottingham Hotspurs



26 Responses to The greatest bearded sportsman of all time

  1. Coussins says:

    How can such an informed debate fail to mention Merv Hughes or David Boon? Not only were they sportsmen (well, cricketers) of repute but one of them (OK, I can’t remember which) managed to drink more than 50 beers on the flight between Australia and England, a record which still stands. Marvellous.

  2. Inigo Montoya says:

    Surely Fatima Whitbread?

  3. Whiskers Away says:

    Coussins – Merv and the Boon sported taches. I suggest you take your comments to the Tache4cash site!

    Dissappointed that Ricky Villa dis not get a mention though. I think that the researcher needs shooting on this one

  4. The World of Beards says:

    Whiskers Away, you make a fine point about the tache related issue. However it is to your own downfall wehn it comes to old Ricardo Villa. In 1978 Ricy actually sported a handlebar moustache – not a beard according to the world of beards official taxonomy.
    He also scored in the 1981 FA Cup final against Manchester City and for that reason can never be classed as a great. See above!

  5. Whiskers Away says:

    Ricky had a beard. There is no argument about that. if i could post a picture for proof i would!
    ead i refer the honourable gentleman to the following link:

  6. The World of Berads says:

    Nice try Whiskers. But check out the picture above of the 1978 squad. Not a beard in sight. Your picture is from 1981. The year in which he brought great shame to all beards by being in the side that beat Man City in the FA CUp final reply. He was unbearded in 78, but bearded in 1981. FA Cup or World cup – what’s the biggest (not literally, that would prove nothing). It’s an interesting debate..

  7. Whiskers Away says:


    There is a flaw in your argument. You posed the question “who is the greatest bearded sportsman of all time?” you even mentioned George Best who i clearly remember playing some of his best football “clean shaven”!

    Ricardo Villa Was a supreme footballing talent, world cup winner and one time Beard owner. While you are correct in saying that Sergio Batista won the cup “with beard”, you are wrong to imply that Villa can not be considered because he was only sporting a tache in’78!. I made no reference to 78 in my sponsoring Villa and you made no reference to ’78 in your original question. Similarly, Ian Botham, Hero of Headingly in ’81 was clearly bearded at his finest hour but otherwise a tache man. As he was not bearded in ’78 can he not be considered?

    Aside from all of this, however, is the issue of W G Grace – not only a sporting legend of the highest order but his display of bristles and whiskers knocks Batista’s into a cocked hat!

    Will the world of beards admit a Manchester City biased in this case and apologise to the readership for letting personal allegiances cloud jusgement over beardy greatness?

  8. The World of Beards says:

    You make a convincing case. I would however raise the following:
    1. At the point of lifting the world cup above his head Batista became the greatest every bearded sportsman. At no point has this event re-occured. Sportsmen would later go on to grow beards after great accomplishments, but prior to this had not been associated with beards.
    2. W G Grace was a doctor by profession and played cricket as a (nominal) amateur throughout his career.
    3. I hate Ricky Villa.
    I would like to open the discussion to the World of Beards massive readership for their view.

  9. Whiskers Away says:


    Again you have uncovered a worrying lack of understanding in your argument. Specifically with regards to point 2. Does this mean that we must rule out all of the olympians who have achieved true sporting greatness (bearded or not)?

    Another point to note here is that Batista did not win the world cup on his own but with strong support from a team of “world cup winners”. Iwould welcome other Beard readers to comment on this for fear of TWOB and I becoming bogged down…

  10. The World of Beards says:

    TWOB? That sounds like a combination of two very different rude words. Is this the first ever ying and yang swearword?

  11. wrench says:

    Greatest bearded sportsman?Dr.W.G.Grace.

  12. Whiskers Away says:

    Finally! A like minded individual – Wrench – Shall we start a movement to restore Grace to his rightful position?

  13. […] The World of Beards caused controversy recently by suggesting that Sergio Batista was the world’s greatest bearded sportsman. We feel safe though in saying that Manchester City’s Sun Jihai is not in the running. In fact he doesn’t even have a beard.  Not yet anyway. We sent our resident newshound, Regy Growthestein to sniff out why China’s David Beckham may be bringing the beard into disrepute. So the World of Beards has sent me to Manchester. I gotta tell ya I’ve never seen such a load of miserable looking limeys. And I can’t blame em. True Mancunians seem to follow Manchester City.  D’yer know what else I found out? “Manchester” United aint even in Manchester. No wonder my weirdy beardy compatriot Malcolm Glazer bought em. They’ll have no complaints when he packs Manchester Red Sox off to Floirda, they’re in little ol Salford right now anyhow. […]

  14. Timbo says:

    18 goals in 133 appearances does not equal a great sportsman, not even a great footballer. For this reason Ricky Villa cannot be regarded as the best bearded sportsman in the world. His achievements whilst sporting a beard is pale in comparison to Batista.

  15. Whiskers Away says:


    I was never suggesting the Ricky was the greatest – My original point was to highlight that such an acolade deserved debate where as TWOB seemed intent on rail roading us into Batista. Ricky simply served as a usefull example being bearded and a sportsman

  16. Andrew Lee says:

    How about the Great Dan Fouts?

  17. sa says:

    Gattuso wore a beard this year playing for Italy!

  18. Bjorn Free says:

    Bjorn Borg, no contest.

  19. David Nash says:

    Merv huges and David boon, you havin a laugh mate? they didnt have beards only handle bars. For real bearded record breaking cricketers read below.
    1 – Muhammed Yousaf Pakistan cricket player broke Sir Vivian Richards decades old record for the highest run scorer in a calender year and highest. Supports a full heavy , thick beard

    2 – Shahid Afridi record holder for fastest century in one day cricket.

    3 – Inzi 2nd highest ODI runs at more than 11000.

  20. simon houltby says:

    Ed Moses

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  22. Dougal says:

    Surely WG Grace was the greatest bearded sportsman of all time. His was the greatest beard ever seen at Lord’s and he was the greatest sportsman.

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