Mikel Arteta over timeGetty/Goal composite

Arteta's hair: What is the secret to the Arsenal manager's trim?

Football is full of mysteries and stories of intrigue, some of them midly strange, others just downright ludicrous.

One such glorious mystery is that of Mikel Arteta and his seemingly immaculate dark hair, which never seems to change even as the Spaniard gets older.

In a world of ostentatiousness, the haircut, in its consistent simplicity, has drawn admiration from Arsenal supporters and rival fans alike, spawning confused threads on Reddit as well as Facebook fan pages.

Arteta is all too aware of his hair's celebrity status and in 2014, he revealed that "one in every three tweets" he received on Twitter is about that very topic.

However, in typical fashion, the elusive Basque Country native refused to elaborate on what his hair-care secret was.

"It will cost me a lot of money if I answer that," he told RWD Football at the time.

"There’s nothing special about it," the former midfielder added, coyly. "It’s just my hair, it doesn't move much and I am lucky."

However, Arteta recently let slip what it is that he does with his hair to achieve his now iconic zero-fuss look, unusually letting his guard down during a coronavirus lockdown video Q&A with the Arsenal website.

The Gunners boss was asked, for the nth time: "What's your secret for thick, black hair? Do you use any special products?"

An amused and exasperated Arteta replied: “I keep getting this question all the time! Nature gave me this hair!

"Some people love it, some don’t. I’m ok with it - at least I have hair! I just use a normal gel to keep it fixed. I don’t look after it so much.”

After all that, after years of disbelief and intrigue, Arteta's big hair secret was "normal gel". Not only basic product, but minimal care too. 

An incredulous Arteta hair devotee might wonder does he at least dye it, but the evidence suggests that colour manipulation is not something that happens either.

In fact, in early 2020, the Daily Star actually reported of Arsenal fans' 'devastation' after grey hairs were spotted on the back of Arteta's head, leading to fears that the stresses of the job were taking their toll.

So it appears that Arteta is human after all and, if he doesn't suddenly reach for the shoe polish, we can expect his luscious black locks to eventually transform into silver.

It should be noted that, while the Barcelona academy product has mostly kept the same short, neat haircut throughout his life, he did have an experimental period in his early 20s.

Having had a short look at Paris Saint-Germain, Arteta actually began to fashion longer hair when he played for Rangers in the early 2000s, but he reverted to type when he joined Everton in 2005.

Since then, Arteta's flawless follicles have been one of the few constants in modern football.