From WG Grace to Roy Keane: The top 10 beards in world sport

Roy Keane
Is Roy Keane even more menacing with a beard?

With facial hair very much back in fashion, we take a look at some of the best beards in the sporting world.

Extended goatees, chin curtains, 'Da Beard'... and Roy Keane - the world of sport has got the lot.

BBC Sport picks out a selection of the most spectacular examples of facial fuzz.

WG Grace

WG Grace

Nearly 100 years after his death, he is still one of the most famous cricketers of all time. William Gilbert was England's greatest sporting icon of his time as he captained his country and Gloucestershire. Over the course of 43 years, he scored 54,896 first-class runs, 126 centuries and took 2,876 wickets. His beard ensured he was instantly recognisable.

Adam Kleeberger

Adam Kleeberger

A Canadian rugby union player, Kleeberger, 30, sported this epic beard during the 2011 Rugby World Cup and it seemed to inspire him, as the flanker gave a man-of-the-match performance in his country's victory over Tonga.

Tim Howard

Tim Howard

The Everton goalkeeper, 35, broke the record for saves in a World Cup match when he made 16 stops for the United States against Belgium in their last-16 defeat in Brazil this summer. His display earned him a congratulatory telephone call from US president Barack Obama who told him: "Tim, I don't know how you are going to survive the mobs when you come back home. You are going to have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are."

Andy Fordham

Andy Fordham

The 2004 BDO World Darts champion, Fordham, nicknamed 'The Viking', had a beard that stretched right down his neck.

Brett Keisel

Brett Keisel

A defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Keisel's facial hair - nicknamed 'Da Beard' - first found fame during the 2010 NFL season. It was shaved off at the end of that campaign with over $40,000 raised for a Pittsburgh children's hospital. 'Shear Da Beard' has now become an annual event at the conclusion of the NFL season with the hospital benefitting each time from pledged donations.

Socrates

Socrates

The Brazilian playmaker, widely regarded as one of the all-time great midfielders, demonstrated his class at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups during a career in which he scored 22 goals in 60 appearances for his national team. He went to become a politician and his heroes included Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, both no stranger to a beard.

Sebastien Chabal

Sebastien Chabal

The Frenchman's beard and flowing hair helped him become an iconic figure in rugby union. The caveman look made the forward an intimidating sight and and he won 61 caps for his country, featuring at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

Hashim Amla

Hashim Amla

Appointed South Africa's Test captain this summer, the prolific right-handed batsman is the first player of Indian descent to represent the Proteas and currently has a magnificent Test batting average of 51.32. However, unlike fellow cricketers Monty Panesar and Andrew Flintoff, he is yet to earn top spot in the Beard Liberation Front's annual "Beard of the Year" awards.

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

The Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher is known for his flamboyant personality, has a number of tattoos and has also sported a mohawk hairstyle. He first started growing the beard during San Francisco Giants' ultimately successful race to the 2010 World Series, where he played a starring role as closer. In 2013 the New York Yankees reportedly refused to sign him because he would not shave off his beard.

Roy Keane

Roy Keane

The former Manchester United captain, now assistant manager for Aston Villa and the Republic of Ireland, had grown a beard before but nothing on the scale of the creature which sat on the end of his chin until he shaved it off on Friday. As if he wasn't scary enough...

Roy Keane without a beard

Alas! The scary beard is no more as Keane parted with the facial forest before Ireland's Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar on Saturday.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) tweeted: We can confirm #RIPtheBeard! Roy has decided to shave the night before our first home qualifier! #makethematch pic.twitter.com/2BQQMI7zIM

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