Pierluigi Collina viewed his alopecia as a blessing in disguise, according to fellow former referee Graham Poll.
Collina, 62, became an iconic figure around the football world during his officiating career which spanned from the late 1970s to 2005. The Italian was instantly recognisable, thanks in large part to his bald head.
And while he had no choice after developing a severe form of alopecia when he was younger, Collina embraced his "gift" which gave him a trademark image. Speaking about his old colleague to Casinos en Ligne, Poll said: “Pierluigi was given a gift at the age of 26 when he got alopecia.
READ MORE:Pierluigi Collina looks unrecognisable with hair in rare snap of ref before bald bonce
"He says this himself. He showed us photos of him when he was young when he had loads of hair and no one could recognise him. He said 'see, I’m just normal here with hair'. He said once he went bald he became very recognisable and it gave him this image.
"He used to say 90% of his job was done before he even stepped on the pitch which to me is incredible. Reputation counts for so much. And if he made a mistake he was still a good referee who made a mistake, not a bad referee."
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Collina was a FIFA listed ref for a decade between 1995 and 2005 after working his way up to the Serie A, while ex-Premier League ref Poll was between 1996 and 2007.
The former was the man in the middle when Manchester United beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final and established himself as one of the best, if not the best, referees of all-time.
He now acts a chairman of the FIFA referees committee in one of the many roles he's taken up since calling time on his active career.
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