When football players take the pitch with the mask on

In the world of football, these masks function to protect players after they have suffered a bruised face and undergone surgeries to fix fractures, so they want to get back on the field as soon as possible. These masks are accessories that resemble the look of Zorro, as they protect the true identity of the players. However, due to the pandemic, we should not be confused by the masks we wear to celebrate Mardi Gras and to protect ourselves. Even football players need to take off their masks and show their faces on the field, but wearing masks has always been a classic disguise tradition in the carnival celebration.

These masks, designed specifically for the occasion, have been worn by numerous football players throughout the years who have been compelled to utilize them. With a desire for vengeance, these masks resemble superheroes but do not require a long wait before the players can resume their participation on the field in the event of a severe facial injury, all thanks to these innovative tools. Tailored and printed to fit the player’s face, these new protective masks are constructed from lightweight carbon fiber, which is considerably smaller compared to the bulky and cumbersome masks from the past. Moreover, the previous masks were visually unattractive, heavy, and obstructed the player’s view of the field, thereby significantly impeding their performance. In contrast, the modern devices are far less intrusive.

The dual mask of Osimhen

Victor Osimhen is the most recent notable soccer player to have been compelled to don a protective mask. Following a severe injury last November during a clash with Inter Milan’s Skriniar, in which he fractured his cheekbone, the Napoli striker returned to the field in January sporting two different types of protectors. He initially wore a larger and more bothersome one during matches against Bologna and Salernitana, and later switched to a smaller and lighter “high tech carbon” mask specifically tailored to fit his face, which he continues to wear to this day. The Nigerian striker has managed to score two goals so far against Venezia and Cagliari, all while wearing the protective mask.

The Pazzo’s mask

“At the end of the game, Pazzini, also known as “Pazzo,” declared and joked, “I won’t take it off anymore…” He immediately scored wearing a special mask with his nickname “Pazzo” engraved on the right side above his raised eyebrow. The mask provided protection as he took to the field against Bologna, after suffering a fractured nose and cracked cheekbone during a match between Lazio and Sampdoria in 2009. Despite being punched by Muslera, Pazzini, the forward for Sampdoria, did not let the injury deter him.”

Cribari, from Lazio to Brazil

During the Rio Carnival, a vibrant face shield adorned with the Brazilian flag was worn in the subsequent matches. The Lazio defender utilized a customized fiberglass mask, which was embellished with a stylized eagle as a tribute to the Lazio team. Despite the seeming impossibility of Cribari participating in the return match just 12 days after his operation, he explicitly requested to be included by the coach. In an encounter against Dinamo Bucarest in August 2007, Emilson Cribari, a former Lazio defender, suffered fractures to his jaw, cheekbone, and orbital floor.

Paolo Maldini and the “rivalry fracture”

The Rossoneri flag bearer, with a translucent but extensive facial covering, stepped onto the field accompanied by a traditional apparatus after undergoing surgery. Paolo Maldini, a legendary figure at AC Milan, suffered a fractured nasal septum during a derby match between AC Milan and Inter Milan, colliding with Bobo Vieri. Consequently, it was also necessary for Paolo Maldini to don a protective mask.

Harry Kane and the snorkel mask

The striker for Spurs, even managed to find a way to disguise himself while playing against Arsenal, a very popular goal. On his right cheekbone, Kane had the number 10 emblazoned with a device. However, the peculiarity lied in the lace that held the mask to Hurricane’s face, which looked very similar to those diving masks made of transparent plastic. The striker for Tottenham wore a clean and unobtrusive device in an inconspicuous flesh-colored area of his face. In 2016, Harry Kane fractured his nose, thus managing to join the club of “goleaders in a mask” against Crystal Palace.

Amauri at the Viareggio Carnival

During the famous Viareggio Carnival Tournament, a young man named Amauri, who was known as “Ama,” didn’t have any problems going down the field like Zorro. He didn’t waste time customizing a mask with his name written on it, similar to Zorro’s mask. Instead, he wore a black mask that covered a large portion of his forehead, and he also had a protective device on his face. It was in 2011 when Amauri decided to wear a mask again, this time to protect his nose from another injury caused by a bombing incident.

De Rossi, the Zorro of the Giallorossi

In 2009, Daniele De Rossi, who suffered a double fracture to his cheekbone and was forced to take the pitch with a protective device covering most of the right side of his face, wandered around Rome dressed as Zorro, wearing a gauze-covered elastic band rolled up to protect the nape area of his neck, without irritating it. However, he left the left side open. This was a peculiar feature of the protection.

Lewandowski adaptation of Pulcinella

Lewandowski had no problem seeing the goal with usual continuity, needless to say, despite the awkwardness of the mask. He no longer had the style of Punchinello but rather the style of Zorro, with a different mask seen only until then. After the operation, he fractured his jaw and nose, which happened to Robert Lewandowski in 2015 during a collision while playing in a match between his former team Borussia Dortmund and his current team Bayern Munich. It really hurt him.

Depay and a nearly complete disguise

During the games, the apparatus itself was distinct from the rest as it had a strap on the top of the head to secure it in place and prevent any motion. His face was covered in aluminum foil at the medical facility to avoid the plaster cast from dripping onto his face, which was already unique from its inception. Subsequently, a specialized protective mask was fashioned for the Dutchman while he was still donning the PSV Eindhoven jersey in 2014, following a blow to the face by the elbow of a Vitesse player.

Mandzukic’s uprising

The numbers 9 and 17, along with the letters “MM” representing the Croatian’s initials, and the Colchoneros emblem on his forehead, were all featured on Mandzukic’s customized mask. The design of the mask prioritized the wearer’s safety, ensuring that it would not create any splinters or pose a risk even if damaged. This unique device was created by Podoactiva, a company that previously only produced materials for the air force. Mandzukic became the first footballer to wear a carbon fiber mask from Podoactiva, which had primarily served the air force until then. This injury became a significant moment in history, as it marked the Croatian’s pioneering use of the carbon fiber mask. Additionally, Mandzukic suffered a nasal septum fracture during the 2014 match between Atletico Madrid and Olympiacos.