Skip to content

Football's masked men: Paolo Maldini, Fernando Torres, Paul Gascoigne

After a masked Cesc Fabregas netted a late winner for Chelsea at QPR, we take a look at some other famous footballers to have donned headwear on the field...

Fernando Torres

Chelsea's Spanish striker Fernando Torres controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at the Anfield s
Image: Masked Torres scored in a Europa League semi

Fabregas isn't the first Chelsea player to pull on a protective mask - Petr Cech, Demba Ba and John Terry have all had to slip on a shield. However, one of Fernando Torres' finest moments for the club came with his face partially hidden by a mask. The Spain international scored a vital goal in the Europa League semi-final second leg against Basel in 2013 to help Chelsea to the Amsterdam showpiece.  

Paul Gascoigne

Image: Gazza was on the wrong end of an elbow from Holland's captain in 2003

England's maverick midfielder Paul Gascoigne broke his cheekbone when he was elbowed by Netherlands captain Jan Wouters in a 1994 World Cup qualifier. Gazza was forced to wear a rather rudimental face mask to protect the injury for club and country for the remainder of the season.

Paolo Maldini

ROME - APRIL 26:  Paolo Maldini of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between Roma and AC Milan, played at the Olympic Stadium, Rome, Italy on Apr
Image: Maldini not looking at his best for AC Milan

Suave Italian defender Paolo Maldini wasn't looking so stylish in 2003 after breaking his nose against Inter in the Milan derby. The AC Milan legend was laid low for a couple of weeks before returning to the field for the club's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Ajax wearing a protective mask.   

Michael Ballack

Leverkusen's midfielder Michael Ballack reacts during the Champions League Group E football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Chelsea FC in Leverkusen, Germany
Image: Ballack looked an intimidating figure in his mask

Former Germany captain Michael Ballack was an imposing presence in the centre of midfield even before a broken nose forced him to pull on a menacing black mask. The protective shield - which matched up with his Bayer Leverkusen strip - added to the air of intensity around him.

Jonas Gutierrez

Jonas Gutierrez dons his Spider Man mask after scored fourth goal during the championship match between Newcastle United and Barnsley at St James' Park
Image: Gutierrez's Spiderman impression

Jonas Gutierrez has also worn a mask on the field - although the Newcastle midfielder prefers a Spider-Man version to the typical protective gear. The Argentina international has marked goals for the Magpies by pulling the mask out of shorts - and promptly getting booked by the referee.

"It all started in Spain when I went to the cinema and a little boy asked me to score a goal for him," he explained. "So I told him I would put a Spider-Man mask on for him, as that was his favourite film. In the next game, I scored so it carried on."

Around Sky