Field of visions: The World Cup overflows with intoxicatingly hot bodies

With the hours and hours of practice they put in, it's no wonder that World Cup players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Carlos Bocanegra look like they do.
By Monica Hesse and Lonnae O'Neal Parker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, July 10, 2010

On Sunday it's over -- the international camaraderie, the infernal vuvuzela-ing, the Gooooooooooal. The Netherlands will play Spain for the championship, Germany and Uruguay will compete for third, and then, finis.

Men of the World Cup: We hate to see you go. But we love to watch you leave.

If there is one thing that we have learned this past month (besides the offside rule, which, upon finally understanding, we decided was stupid), it is this: Soccer players? So hot!

Au revoir, Yoann Gourcuff, you of the French smolder. Adeus, Cristiano Ronaldo, you and your Armani underwear ads. Vaarwel, Robin Van Persie -- but first, may we gently caress your chin dimple with our forefinger?

"They're so beautiful," says Esther Song, an American University student/soccer fan. "There's a nice balance between the prissy, girly-looking male models in the Abercrombie & Fitch ads and the really burly football/hockey player. . . . They are the perfect middle ground."

It's our evolutionary hard-wiring talking: The way their speed and dexterity hits us says, This man can chase down a mastodon. My children will eat for a month!

"It's the legs," says Daniel Nardicio, vice president of marketing at Playgirl and default man-body expert. "Regular men tend not to think enough about their legs. They think it's about getting big and puffed out on top . . . then have these skinny little legs. Pfft."

"It's the hair," says Nicole Caldwell, Playgirl's editor in chief. "Swimmers are the only other athletes who have bodies like this, and they have to shave their heads. Soccer players have that lustrous, beautiful hair."

Helloooo, Pedro Rodriguez's chocolate locks. Come sit by us.

Throughout the Cup, there has been heartbreak. We have watched the pretty fall.

"Oguchi [Onyewu] was a big loss for the female watching community," says Adrienne Gildea, a Washington lobbyist and member of a local soccer fan club, the District Ultras. She was rooting for the American team and their chiseled quadriceps. "And Carlos Bocanegra. Nobody likes to see Carlos go home early."

There is science behind all of this, we swear. "Soccer players participate in a sport that would yield one of the better body types" of all professional athletes, says Lew Lyon, vice president of sports medicine at MedStar Health in Columbia.

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