In Brief

Lionel Messi: Dedicated follower of fashion - and Aaron Ramsey

Is the Barcelona star hoping to emulate the Wales and Arsenal player and turn his fortunes round?

After a difficult summer, Barcelona star Lionel Messi appears to have taken inspiration from Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

The Argentine ace this week unveiled a new bleached blond hairstyle that has drawn comparisons with the one sported by the Welsh midfielder at Euro 2016.

It would be understandable if Messi hoped to take a leaf out of Ramsey's book. The Gunner - and his new blond do - had a fine time in France and was named one of the players of the tournament as Wales made it to the semi-finals.

Although Messi helped Argentina make the final of the Copa America, his competition was not an enjoyable one.

As usual, his commitment to the national team was under debate - and to make things worse, he missed a penalty during the final against Chile, allowing Argentina's neighbours to lift the trophy. So upset was Messi by his team's defeat that he quit international football on the spot.

Added to that, this month he was handed a 21-month prison sentence for tax evasion, although he will not have to go to prison.

All this on top of the pain at the end of last season, when Barcelona claimed a Spanish league and cup double but lost their European crown to bitter rivals Real Madrid, who beat Atletico Madrid in the final.

Against that backdrop comes the new look.

"A number of high-profile players including Aaron Ramsey, Sergio Ramos, Phil Jones, Samir Nasri and even Marouane Fellaini have decided to go blonde in recent months, sparking a little adoration and a lot of derision," says the London Evening Standard.

While he makes a habit of blazing a trail on the field, Messi something of a follower off it, adds the paper.

Last season, he unveiled a full sleeve tattoo on his arm, hardly unusual for a modern footballer, and his beard, which appeared at the end of last season, is on trend but not very cutting edge - after all, it is three years since Jeremy Paxman unveiled his facial hair.

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