Turns out they're way more than a fashion statement
If you’ve been left wondering why some of the world’s most popular football players such as Son Heung-min, Joško Gvardiol and Ellyes Skhiri have been wearing Hannibal Lecter-esque masks in Qatar, you’re not alone.
However, the solid black masks made from polycarbonate are far from a fashion statement.
The masks are worn by footballers who’ve injured their faces and the masks ensure that they can play on safely without hurting themselves even more.
South Korea’s Son Heung-Min fractured his eye socket back in early November while playing for his club Tottenham Hotspur and has been seen on the pitch at the World Cup wearing one of the distinctive masks.
The footballer told press after his first training session in Qatar: “I don’t think it was bad because the mask was more comfortable than I thought. In fact, it was a little more comfortable from when I used it in England. Except for sweating a lot because the weather was hot, there was no big difference.”
Tunisia’s Ellyes Skhiri is another World Cup 2022 footballer spotted wearing one of the distinctive masks while on the pitch.
The 27-year-old broke his cheekbone in October and to prevent any further damage, the FC Koln player has donned a 3D printed mask shaped to his facial contours.
World Cup viewers have also been left baffled over why some footballers have opted to cut holes in the backs of their socks - if you’ve spotted the odd styling, you can find out the reason why here.