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FIFA World Cup 2018: The Serbian barber who gives Messi ‘headshots’

Mario Hvala started doing creative haircuts 9 years ago when he sculpted a tarantula into the hair on the back of a man’s head.

fashion and trends Updated: Jun 13, 2018 10:36 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Serbian barber,Barber in Serbia,Messi headshots
A football fan sports a hair tattoo showing the portrait of Argentinian football player Lionel Messi at a hair salon in Novi Sad, Serbia.(AFP)

Looking for a new haircut to celebrate the World Cup in style? A hairdresser is clipping ‘portraits’ of stars Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo onto the back of heads in soccer-mad Serbia.

Mario Hvala gives his creativity free rein as he shaves and snips away on a headshot ‘hair tattoo’ in his Novi Sad salon ahead of Thursday’s World Cup kick-off.

It all began nine years ago, he says, with a suggestion to a customer, “to do something different”. That ended with a tarantula sculpted with a cut-throat razor into the hair on the back of the man’s head. And it’s turned into something of a local fashion in Serbia’s second largest city Novi Sad.

“The portraits are the most complex when doing the ‘hair tattoos’,” Hvala told AFP.

“It takes five to seven hours.”

With Serbia having qualified for the World Cup in Russia, Hvala hit on the idea of “drawing” the faces of the world’s top two football players for fans.

Serbian hairdresser Mario Hvala creates a hair tattoo showing the portrait of Argentinian football player Lionel Messi on the head of a football fan in Novi Sad, Serbia. (AFP)

“When I made Ronaldo’s portrait I got many positive comments and people were amazed,” the 35-year-old said.

However, he admits that ‘hair tatoo’ clients often attract curious glances from passers-by or requests for photos.

And perhaps that’s the whole point.

A normal trim at the salon costs 1,000 dinars (eight euros, $9.5), but the full portrait is priced 150 euros.

For Sreten Pantic, 35, who chose Ronaldo, and Aleksa Maricevic, 27, who opted for Messi, Hvala worked free of charge, for promotional purposes.

“This is the second time I’m having a hair tattoo done,” Maricevic said.

“The first one was of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

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First Published: Jun 13, 2018 10:36 IST