Is Grant Wahl Really Pierluigi Collina?

Who’s the most famous soccer referee in the world? Well it’s Pierluigi Collina of course. I wonder though. He looks like someone else who writes about world football. Collina and Wahl could be related, right.

If I was really good at photoshop, or just took a bit more time with this, I’d put Grant Wahl’s bald head atop an image of Pierluigi Collina refereeing a game. Maybe an important Champions League game. Collina, the Italian referee who has since retired, is known for his very shiny, hairless dome, which looks much like Wahl’s own bald dome.

Maybe just maybe there’s some kind of Curious Case of Benjamin Button type thing going on and Wahl actually is Collina. You never know.

Wahl, currently vacationing in Morocco with his wife, was called Collina by a Moroccan man. Wahl took it all in stride though, saying most Americans wouldn’t even know who Collina is.

@GrantWahl Moroccan guy saw my bald dome and called me “Collina” today. Lucky for him, he met part of the .0001% of Americans who get that reference.

And although this isn’t go to sear across the web like the cigar guy in the Tiger Woods shot, it’s worth a look at how much these two look a like and ‘dig deeper’ and see if Wahl could be Collina.

Yes, both are bald, but is there something more. A glint in the eye. A certain way they turn their heads. Has there been a slant in Wahl’s writing for SI where he is disproportionately in support of referees? Is Grant’s deep knowledge of the game of football / soccer because of his experience as a referee?

Mind you, I’m not knocking bald people. Rather, I have the utmost respect and sympathy for those who lose their hair at an early age. It can’t be easy. It’ can’t be easy at all.

However, on this soccer website, we do have some fun from time to time and take a look at different shared qualities of soccer players and soccer personalities, and put them into teams or crews or forces. We have the bald force. The men in tights crew. And skillful team made up of the skin pigmently challenged. And then there’s the skinny crew too.

And I do have to say I zipped through Grant Wahl’s The Beckham Experiment, and hope he writes another soccer book that goes inside a soccer team or season the way he did with that book. I would say though he owes David Beckham a little bit of thanks for letting him put his face on the cover and for the story itself.

If there’s no Beckham, then there’s no book of course. Ironically though, the most interesting character that comes through in the book is Alan Gordon.

Sure, this is all in fun, but Grant, is there any truth to this? Maybe Collina’s an uncle or a long lost relative….

There’s no doubt about it, he’s the best referee in football history and definitely the most well-respected ref in the game. Pierluigi Collina had incredible charisma and a natural air of authority.

But the Italian might have never been able to pursue his career. After being diagnosed with a severe illness, Collina was asked by the Italian federation to hang up his whistle. But he kept fighting and made it all the way to the top of the game thanks to the challenges he overcame..