I Cut Jack Grealish’s Hair And Give Paul Pogba His Iconic Hairstyles
WHEN a footballer wants a fresh haircut, he calls Ahmed Alsanawi – the barber to the world’s elite stars.
The 31-year-old stylist cut Jack Grealish, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba.
Operating remotely or from his A Star Barbers Shop in Chessington, near Cobham’s Chelsea training ground, it all started for Ahmed in 2013, when a number of young Blues wanted to freshen up their look.
Since then business has boomed for the Iraqi entrepreneur – who flew to the 2018 World Cup in Russia to prepare for the France national team, at the request of his friend Pogba, and was hailed in a video on social media after winning the competition.
And he even appeared in a Pepsi advert, alongside French midfielder, Argie legend Lionel Messi, Liverpool ace Mo Salah and England winger Raheem Sterling.
But it’s her latest cut from Grealish – who recently signed a deal to be a Gucci fashion brand ambassador – that has gone viral.
“He’s iconic because everyone copies his hairstyle,” Alsanawi told SunSport EXCLUSIVELY.
“Even my son comes to me and says he wants to grow his hair like Jack’s.
“He’s a positive influence, that’s why Gucci hired him, so it’s a pleasure to style him.”
Alsanawi got into barbering because he was unhappy with the haircuts he was getting from his own stylist.
He began to learn his trade by cutting his own hair, then that of his family, before finding a job in a hairdressing salon.
“I was a bit lost and didn’t really know what I wanted to do.
“I had an art degree, so I had an eye for it. But when I got dodgy haircuts from barbers, it made me decide to cut my own hair.
“From there I started cutting my family members and worked in a store for a few years.
“My wife and I opened A Star Barbers in 2013, and it’s about ten minutes from Chelsea training ground.
“Organically, all the youngsters – Reece James, Dominic Solanke and a few others came through the door first.
“Then John Terry hit me one day and asked me to come to the training ground.
“I made Chelsea stars for three years, cutting Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and even Jose Mourinho.
“I actually cut Mourinho’s hair the day he was sacked! He wanted to keep it short, so I took all his hair off!”
Social media has helped A Star Barbers grow. Today, their Instagram account has around 718,000 followers, and it’s thanks to footballers sharing Alsanawi’s haircuts that even more customers have reached out to him.
“It was kind of a snowball effect, really,” Alsanawi continued.
“Footballers started sharing photos of the haircuts I had given them on social media, and it just blew up for me.”
Five years after launching his own hair salon, Alsanawi was invited to Russia during the 2018 World Cup by fashionista Pogba and Real Madrid star Hazard to cut his hair ahead of the semi-final.
“Paul and Eden called me before playing against each other, so I had to go to both teams’ camps to do my hair,” Alsanawi said.
“Before this semi-final, I must have had about 30 or 40 haircuts the day and night before this game. I was so busy.”
France finally won the World Cup by defeating Croatia in the final.
This gave Alsanawi great satisfaction, as well as a thank you from Pogba for helping him achieve his dream.
“I was on vacation when France won the final, and their victory made me feel like I had a hand in it.
“And then Paul gave a dedication to A Star in a live video as they celebrated afterwards, which was just amazing.”
Alsanawi’s growing business now has his own line of coffee, A Star Coffee, they do tattoos with A Star Tattoos and he will soon be launching his own hair products.
2022 being a World Cup year, he is also already preparing for the tournament in Qatar.
“Nothing is certain, because maybe they will find another barber, but I think I am going to Qatar with England, France and Belgium.
“A few players from the Qatar national team have also contacted me, which would be amazing.
“I’m from the Middle East, so it would be a privilege to give them haircuts.”
But he will not pass on any tips to his rivals.
“When I have a footballer in my place, we don’t talk about the game,” revealed Alsanawi.
“I stay professional and try to maintain friendships by talking about other things.
“Because at the end of the day, I’m their barber and my job is to make them look good on the pitch.”