THE man behind Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba’s unique hairstyles is a self-taught high street barber based next to a kebab shop.
The Premier League’s most expensive footballer heads an all-star Prem XI who put their faith in the hands of Ahmed Alsanawi, who worked his way up from the Chelsea youth team to the likes of Pogba and Eden Hazard.
A Star Barbers in Chessington, Surrey, is a tiny shop with a growing reputation and a high-class clientele.
Owner Alsanawi, 26, said: “It all started from the Chelsea youth team – I cut a lot of them.
“It was just word of mouth, all the lads talk if you’re a good barber.
“At the beginning coming into Chelsea it was very exciting, I’m a Chelsea fan.
“Seeing the likes of John Terry, Eden Hazard and Petr Cech I was like ‘wow’.
“Because I’ve been doing it for three years now I treat it as normal and you don’t really feel under pressure.
“But when you get your star footballers, the Pogbas or Edens you only get once chance – if they like it great, if they don’t they ain’t coming back.”
Alsanawi regularly travels to Chelsea’s Cobham HQ, located near his shop, and also heads to Manchester to help Pogba stay ahead of the game.
And he reckons the key to staying ahead in a competitive market is not to be over-awed – as well as not leaving any bald patches.
He added: “I treat them all the same as anybody who walks through the door. None of them are stuck up, they’re nice normal people.
“Over the years at Chelsea, you do build up a relationship and with Pogba I’ve cut him four or five times now, I’m getting to know him a bit more.
“I don’t really get star struck – I’m thinking about the hair cut. After, if he’s shared it because he likes it, I think ‘wow I’ve done that on Paul Pogba’, that that’s when I pat myself on the back.”
The old cliche claims people tell everything to their barbers, and in Hazard’s case that comes in the form of footballing tips.
Alsanawi plays in the same position as the Chelsea man and has turned into a Sunday League superstar since he started cutting his hair.
He added: “I play in the same position as Eden and he’s been giving me advice. I’ve been scoring loads in Sunday league, I might start playing on Saturdays.
“He’s given me tips about football and I’ve given him tips about hair. He used to just have one level, now I’ve changed his whole look.
“We get a lot of people coming in, it helps cutting footballers, because we get Chelsea fans coming in and saying ‘I like what you’ve done with Hazard’s hair.'”
While Hazard is happy for a bit of help, Pogba comes prepared with his own ideas – proving his flair comes in handy on and off the field.
Alsanawi added: “Pogba knows exactly what he wants, we’ll have a discussion but normally he knows and he’s right.
“He’s very creative, you can tell how he’s so creative on the pitch, it’s always different styles. I like doing his hair. It’s always something different, a challenge.
“Because Pogba is known for his different hair cuts, every barber wants to cut his hair. So me getting him and him liking my work is huge.
“It’s competitive but a lot of barbers don’t admit that. It’s like football teams.”
Dele Alli flew his barber out to Los Angeles for a trim as he enjoyed his holiday last summer.
Alsanawi missed out on a trip to the Brazil World Cup for the birth of his daughter but with a host of his clients going to Russia, there are always more chances.