Chelsea may have won by a club-record margin at the Hawthorns on Saturday, but the new thing that was even more surprising was Antonio Conte’s beard, which is still in its infancy, but looks to have established a solid base already.
Conte started growing it during the international break, apparently at the behest of his wife, as he revealed in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“I don't know if it looks good, but my wife suggests that I tried for once, to try with a beard [...] this is the first time I've tried to change my look, but only because my wife decided."
But while Conte claimed that he wasn’t going to assign any superstition to it, he couldn’t help but do so already. The playoff beard is a strong tradition in other sports, especially hockey, after all.
"[It's] Not superstition. This is the first time. We can see tomorrow if this beard brings luck or not.
“Yes, yes [I will keep it if Chelsea keep winning]. I hope at the end of the season to finish with a big beard.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
The latter part may have been said in jest, but there’s no point in upsetting the football gods now. The beard must stay as long as the wins keep coming.
Bleacher Report took a guess at how it all might look by the end of the season.
Maybe he’ll need some styling tips from Pirlo; I’m sure the former Juventus star is looking for something to do anyway now that he’s retired.