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Facemasks in Football and Players who Wore Them

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Facemasks in Football and Players who Wore Them

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During the 2022 World Cup, some players were seen wearing black masks while on the field. These masks were not a fashion statement. Rather, they were something that helped these players out when playing. What are these face masks? They are protective gear for players that have suffered facial injuries. Other times, they are worn as a precautionary measure. While they look simple, they are made from lightweight and durable materials that allow for comfortable movement and visibility.

Face masks are particularly common in positions such as goalkeepers and defenders, who are more likely to encounter physical contact during the game. Overall, face masks in football have become an important safety measure, helping players to reduce the risk of facial injuries and allowing them to stay focused on their game. There are more than a few distinct players that have been spotted with a face mask, and they are as follows:

Josko Gvardiol

Josko Gvardiol was one of the players that were spotted wearing a mask during the 2022 World Cup. Gvardiol began wearing a face mask during a match against Argentina because he broke his nose in a collision with his teammate Willi Orban during a match against Freiburg on November 9, 2022. The medical teams of Leipzig and Croatia decided that the only way for Gvardiol to play in the World Cup was to wear the mask to protect his nose.

The 20-year-old has been a key figure in the defense for Croatia and has helped them to reach the last four of the World Cup for the second consecutive tournament. As a player, Josko plays as a center-back, though he has often been utilized as a left-back.

Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min, the captain of the South Korean team, is another player that wore a mask during the 2022 World Cup. Before the tournament, the South Korean forward got injured while playing for Tottenham Hotspur against Marseille in the Champions League. During the match, Son collided head-on with Chancel Mbemba’s shoulder, a former Newcastle defender, and broke his eye socket.

Initially, it was uncertain if he would be able to play in the World Cup. However, with the help of a 3D mask made of polycarbonate, he was able to represent his country in the tournament held in Qatar.

When interviewed about the gear, Son stated his new mask was more comfortable than he had expected and noted that it was different from the one he had used in England. He was also surprised at how comfortable and lightweight the mask was and how well it could protect against impacts.


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Victor Osimhen

Osimhen plays as a forward for Napoli in the Serie A league and also represents the Nigerian national team. He is regarded as one of the best strikers globally and is recognized for his exceptional finishing abilities, strength, and athleticism.

Last November, the Napoli striker suffered a severe injury during a game against Inter Milan Skriniar, which resulted in a fractured cheekbone. He returned to the field in January, wearing two different protectors. Initially, he used a larger and more cumbersome protector during the matches against Bologna and Salernitana but then switched to a smaller, lighter one made from high-tech carbon that was custom-made for his face.

He continues to wear the smaller protector, as well as a mask. Despite his injury, the Nigerian striker managed to score two goals against Venezia and Cagliari.

Emílson Sánchez Cribari

Emílson Sánchez Cribari is a Brazilian footballer who played as a center-back. Back in August 2007, the former Lazio defender suffered severe injuries during a match against Dinamo Bucarest, including a fractured jaw, cheekbone, and orbital floor. It was deemed impossible for him to return to the field just 12 days after the operation. However, Cribari insisted on playing and asked the coach for permission to do so.

He came in as a substitute during the game, wearing a fiberglass mask. Later on, he customized the mask by painting a stylized eagle in honor of the Lazio team. In the subsequent matches, the Brazilian defender opted for a more colorful face shield, which featured the flag of Brazil, in honor of the Rio Carnival.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane is an English footballer known for his ability to score many goals and connect with his teammates. He is considered to be one of the best strikers in the world. He has been honored with an MBE, which stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire.

He broke his nose while playing for Tottenham Hotspur against Crystal Palace in 2016. He then joined the group of players who scored goals while wearing a mask. The mask was made of a flesh-colored material and was held in place by a transparent plastic band that resembled those used for diving masks. On his right cheekbone, the mask had the number 10, which was Kane’s number. Despite wearing the mask, Kane managed to score a goal in the highly anticipated match against Arsenal.

Daniele De Rossi

Daniele De Rossi is a retired Italian football player who played in the midfield position. He is famous for playing for his hometown club Roma in Serie A and also for being a part of the FIFA World Cup-winning Italian national team.

In 2009, the footballer had a double fracture to his cheekbone during a game against Inter Milan. He had to wear a protective device on his face for a few games. The device covered most of the right side of his face where he had surgery, but left the left side open. It had a lower elastic covered by a rolled-up gauze to avoid irritating the area around the nape of De Rossi’s neck. He was nicknamed Zorro because the device looked like the mask of the fictional character

Thanks to face masks, those who find themselves with a nasty facial injury don’t have to wait too long before they can return to the playing field, but look like a superhero looking for revenge. There are even some who customize them.


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