Prem icon unrecognisable without ponytail as he gets 5-YEAR ban for fake licence

A PREMIER League icon has been rocked by a five-year ban – while you might be shocked by his change in appearance.

The 51-year-old can’t take part in ANY football-related activity until 2028 after being penalised for a fake coaching certificate.


The former superstar player has been booted out of all football until 2028Credit: AFP

But his drastically-changed look might have even fans of his two old English clubs wondering who he is.

Gone is the famous ponytail – replaced by a much shorter, sharper look.

But unfortunately for him the African Football Confederation decided not to hand out a short, sharp penalty over a forged coaching licence.

Instead CAF kicked kick him out of the sport for almost the rest of the decade.

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It’s a dramatic decline for a man named the African Ballon d’Or winner in 1998, helped by his brilliant displays at that year’s World Cup.

Moroccan Mustapha Hadji had already shone for Nancy, Sporting Lisbon and then Deportivo de La Coruna.

And in 1999 he left the Spaniards for the Premier League – for three years at Coventry City followed by two with Aston Villa.

In fact the stylish midfielder’s playing days only ended in 2010 after three years with Luxembourg team CS Fola Esch.

And until his suspension on Friday he was building a solid reputation as a coach.

Hadji was assistant boss for Qataris Umm Salal SC before a similar role with the Morocco national side from 2014-2022.

But now, like his long hair, that’s all gone.

Mustapha Hadji, who won 63 caps as an all-time Morocco great, was a cult hero with Coventry from 1999-2001


Mustapha Hadji, who won 63 caps as an all-time Morocco great, was a cult hero with Coventry from 1999-2001Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd