The Not-So-Secret Shaqiri Hair Transplant

One tweet by a football journalist and Xherdan Shaqiri’s hair was making headlines after he’d said his goodbyes to the Reds. It was the Shaqiri hair transplant that also captured the attention of the Kopites back in 2019 (when the world was still covid-free). The timing was certainly off. That’s because right around that time, the Liverpool club had ruled him out due to a calf injury. Coincidence? We think not! And we can’t keep quiet about it.

Having signed a three-year contract for £9.5m, according to the BBC Sport, the winger is now playing for Ligue 1 club, Lyon. Sure the Swiss soccer player has some major achievements under his belt. Having won the Champion’s League, 2019 FIFA World Cup, and Premier League, especially when the latter was Liverpool’s first in 30 years, is no mean feat.

It almost feels like a burgeoning wave of revolution, what some endearingly call the “Wayne Rooney effect” after he normalized hair transplants among footballers. David Beckham, David Silva, and Antonio Conte are just a few names. So, let’s dive into Shaqiri hair transplant analysis.

The Tweet

It was a sports journalist, Chris Williams, who reopened the chapter of Shaqiri’s hair transplant with his tweet, “Now Shaqiri has left Liverpool can we openly talk about how he had a hair transplant on international duty but didn’t realise he couldn’t head a ball for six weeks or go outside without a hat on? Imagine having to tell your boss that.”

Ouch! Does it mean that the death blow to his Liverpool FC career came following Shaqiri’s hair transplant phenomenon? Well, it most likely happened because someone did him better. And things are looking good for him, even if his current deal took place at a cut price. Anyway, we digress.

Xherdan Shaqiri

One interesting detail that we would be remiss if we didn’t mention is that Jurgen Klopp, Xherdan Shaqiri’s then boss, himself had a hair transplant. It was back in 2012, and he even openly admitted to it saying, “Yes, it’s true. I underwent a hair transplant, and I think the results are really cool, don’t you?” So, really he might’ve been more understanding of the circumstances of Shaqiri.

When Did It All Start?

According to the NHS, only 25% of men start losing their hair due to male pattern baldness before they reach the age of 21. Unfortunately, Xherdan Shaqiri was a part of that slim minority.

Shaqiri’s Hair in FC Basel and Bayern Munich Days

Just look at his hair in the FC Basel days, and you’ll see that the footballer’s hairline is receding. Come his time in Bayern Munich, you can see a further progression of hair loss. You’ll notice hair loss above the temples while an “M” shape forms along the frontal hairline.

Xherdan Shaqiri 2011 FC Basel hair
Xherdan Shaqiri’s hair in 2011 during his time with FC Basel

That is when he was on stages 1-3 of the Norwood (NW) scale. Some people also experience thinning on the vertex (crown) of the scalp at stage 3. However, that wasn’t the case with Xherdan Shaqiri’s hair.

Shaqiri’s Hair in Stoke City

It is his photos from his time with Stoke City that widely circulated as proof of his hair transplant. In 2015, only 24 years at the time, the footballer seemed as if he had aged significantly. The emerging “M” (receding corners) had become clear as day.

Soon the time would have come when we would have reached stage 4 on the NW scale. However, that didn’t happen because the footballer decided to tackle the problem at hand, once and for all.

You only have to Google the images of his time with Liverpool to see the massive change in his hair. The clock had started ticking back, which is never the case with pattern baldness.

The Magic Dwarf Sprouts Hair

In late November and much of December 2019, Xherdan Shaqiri stayed on the sidelines. The reason was a calf injury.

At the time, the club was thriving on the Premier League charts, and his life on the bench paved the way for many new players to emerge as the stars of the show. It was like a final nail in the coffin for the winger’s time in Liverpool.

While things were going south in his professional life, the magic dwarf was seen sprouting new hair. It may have been quite inconspicuous since no one spotted a shaved head in the stands.

But weirdly enough, an “M” didn’t exist anymore on Shaqiri’s hairline. It had started to fill up. That hair growth was what many people noticed.

Xherdan Shaqiris new hairline
Xherdan Shaqiri’s hairline in September 2019

What Kind of Hair Transplant Did Xherdan Shaqiri Have?

And so speculation ran amok that Xherdan Shaqiri hair transplant was what had happened, and that too FUE hair transplant also known as follicular unit extraction.

What usually happens is that the players end up shaving their heads completely. Then the newly transplanted hair and donor area hair grows together.

But the footballer never had his head shaved. However, people could see the fresh crop of hair from miles away, especially as it took a zigzag pattern along his hairline.

How Many Hair Grafts Did Shaqiri Hair Transplant Need?

Most of his hair loss occurred along the hairline, in zone 1-2. Using a graft calculator, we find out how many grafts he had, and the total comes to 1,600.

Xherdan Shaqiri hair transplant
Xherdan Shaqiri’s hairline in August 2019

Usually, when a patient needs this many grafts, there’s no need for them to entirely shave their head. The surgeon will only shave the donor area and the hairline. However, it’s only possible when the person’s not experiencing extensive baldness.

What Was Wrong With Shaqiri Hair Transplant?

So, where do we begin?

Wrong Timing

Now we’re not saying that the calf injury was a lie, but if the real reason was a hair transplant, the clinic should have informed the player of the downtime. It would’ve been better if he had gotten the surgery during a season break.

Even if that wasn’t the case, the clinic could have advised the player to be in good health before getting the surgery. That’s because it can be physically demanding, especially if you’re a sportsman.

Unnatural-looking Results

Next up, really, it’s the surgery. FUE hair transplants promise natural-looking results with luscious locks when done right. Antonio Conte allegedly had three hair transplants because they were done poorly. Getting that many hair transplant surgeries are definitely not possible for many people because of the huge expense.

The new hairline of the footballer doesn’t look good with his age. It’s almost as if the surgeon didn’t know how a full head naturally looks when you’re that year old. The grafts have a zigzag pattern, and they’re not consistent. It would have been better if “similar-looking” donor hair had made the front of the hairline.

Has Shaqiri Hair Transplant Been Confirmed?

No. It’s certainly not binding on him, and we respect his choice to do so. That doesn’t mean that there’s any doubt that the player had hair transplant surgery.

One look at his before/after photos is evidence enough. The player was suffering from male pattern baldness, and there is no treatment other than minoxidil and finasteride that can help in hair growth with it.

Xherdan Shaqiri before and after hair transplant
Shaqiri’s hairline in May 2019 vs August 2019

Footballers are stars in their own right. They are like the beating heart of their fans, and all eyes are on them at all times. While in the stadium, it’s the legwork that matters more than the hair on the head. However, that’s not a player’s only plane of existence. Looking at themselves through the eyes of the camera, they may not feel as confident about their appearance.

Us talking about it just helps normalize the surgery for other people who hesitate to get one thinking there’s some shame in it. Hair loss brings many men down, and it doesn’t matter if they’re a celebrity or common people. Keep in mind that getting a hair transplant is a personal choice. No one has to tell anything to anyone.

In Conclusion

Yes, Xherdan Shaqiri had a hair transplant. Although it probably would have been better if he had chosen a better clinic for the surgery.

That’s because, at the moment, his results do not look natural. The footballer is one of the few people who start experiencing hair loss due to pattern baldness in their early 20s. However, that coincided with the time when the player’s career was taking off.

As you see him move up the ladder, you’ll notice his hairline receding significantly. This is until finally, he got the surgery around the age of 28.

Usually, it is recommended to get hair transplants above the age of 25 so that the pattern from androgenetic alopecia “sets” more definitively. Still, the skill and experience of the surgeon and how closely the patient follows aftercare instructions can make or break the results of the surgery.

Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Cagla Yuksel.

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