The Washington Post

10 handsome reasons for non-sports fans to watch the World Cup

Pay attention: This is how Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)

When Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for Real Madrid, scored the final goal in this year’s UEFA Champions Cup, he popped his shirt off. For those who don’t even care for the game, suddenly it got good. Too bad it was over. Don’t you wish you’d been watching all along, future soccer fan?

Well, straight ladies and gay gentlemen, we don’t want that to happen to you again, which is why we did our research and put together this highly subjective, totally silly list that objectifies a few good-looking men at the World Cup. (There are more than just these 10, believe it or not.)

So, let’s begin. Since we already mentioned Ronaldo, let’s start there.

Seen here with his model girlfriend Irina Shayk (just ignore her), Ronaldo, 29, isn’t just possibly the best looking, but also the most marketable soccer player in the world. Paul Smith, the CEO of Repucom, a global sports research company, tells B&T Australia:

“Ronaldo is an endorser’s dream. His value is as important to the teams he plays for as they are for the companies that endorse him. Global awareness of Ronaldo is what drives his commercial power and with over 82 million Facebook likes and 26 million Twitter followers, he is also one of the most liked in the business.”

Behind Ronaldo, at least in terms of his Vogue cover release date, is Brazil’s Neymar Jr., 22. He’s also a highly marketable player with global fame, but why is he wearing so much? (The woman on the cover is Tom Brady’s wife Gisele. You can ignore her, too.)

Rounding out the top three most talented lookers to watch in this year’s World Cup is Argentina’s Lionel Messi. He’s the second most marketable soccer player in the world, according to Repucom, but has so far failed to secure a Vogue cover. What gives?! At least the 26-year-old scored the front of ESPN magazine this month.

Now, if your name is Shakira and you’re a Columbian pop star, you already know Spain’s Gerard Pique. In fact, you’re dating him. Pique, 27, is the third most marketable soccer player on Repucom’s list and is seen as a “cheerful family man,” CNN reports. Here’s a shot of the hot dad from his photo spread with Men’s Health magazine.

Although born in Germany, Kevin-Prince Boateng, 27, will display his biceps, er, skills for Ghana this year. Look forward to it. Here he is on the cover of FIFA’s The Weekly.

Italy’s Mario Balotelli walks on water on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and now you can let the 23-year-old walk into your dreams. Be careful, though, Balotelli is known as a prankster, The Daily Mail writes. Whatever. As long as he involves his abs in the pranks, it’s cool.

Blondes have more fun on the cover of GQ in Germany. These young men, who will be kicking the ball around for Deutschland, are Mario Gotze, 21, and Marco Reus, 24.

Spain’s Iker Casillas does a lot of standing around by himself as the goaltender, which he might enjoy, as the 33-year-old probably spends the majority of his free time trying to escape all those (i.e., the world) who can’t help but want to be near him. Check him out on the cover of FHM.

Finally, this might be your last time to catch 36-year-old Cote d’Ivoire player Didier Drogba in the World Cup. Do not miss out on watching this legend at work. From one ogler to another, this man looks just as good sweaty as he does on the cover of GQ.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



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