As the World Cup is reaching its final weeks, we will have to say goodbye to the extended lunch breaks at work, the painful anticipation for those short 10 seconds of glory, the hope that we all cling to as our team is losing, and the intense joy we feel when they score.
I will also have to part with some of the most attractive men I have ever seen, and will be forced to follow them for the next four years on their respective club teams just to get a glimpse. The managers in this World Cup were somehow able, this fruitful year, to bless us with teams filled with handsome men. So, regardless of where you’re from or what team you’re rooting for, let’s take a moment to praise these men for their talent and their beauty.
Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, BRA
It is no surprise that the poster boy for the Brazilian team made the list. The 22-year-old Barcelona forward started the World Cup with two out of the three goals against Croatia, and kept delivering as the host’s superstar with a close header against Mexico that ended in a tie, and two goals against Cameroon that led Brazil out of the group stage. In the knockout stage, Neymar scored the fifth kick during the penalty shootout against Chile to put Brazil through to the quarterfinals. With each game came a new fashion statement from the trendsetter. He dyed his hair blond for the Mexico game, wore boxers with a Brazilian flag design for the Cameroon game, and sported shiny gold special-edition cleats for the Chile game. We’ll see what he has in store for us this Friday against Colombia.
Robin van Persie, NED
I have never been fond of grey hair on men until Robin Van Persie. The Netherlands’ captain and Manchester United striker will forever be remembered for his “flying goal” against Spain, and scoring two goals out of the five that destroyed the defending champions. Van Persie also scored the following game against Australia, helping the Oranje qualify for the knockout stage. He missed the third game in the group stage due to yellow card accumulation, and was substituted during the game against Mexico. Van Persie joined the team while recovering from an injury, and was seen leaving a training session on Wednesday with his left thigh taped up. The Oranje need their captain fit as they face Costa Rica on Saturday.
Orestis Karnezis, GRC
The Greek god, also known as the Greek goalkeeper, joined international football in 2012 but was not part of the team during the Euro 2012. He convinced Fernando Santos, the manager, that he was a good choice for the World Cup as he showed great talent during a friendly match against Norway. The Granada CF goalkeeper was not able to stop the three Colombian goals in Greece’s first match of the group stage, but was able to show off his skills the following games against Japan and Cote D’Ivoire. Just like Achilles had his weak spot, Karnezis’ downfall was the penalty shootout against Costa Rica for a spot in the quarterfinals, where he was not able to save any of the five kicks.
Kevin-Prince Boateng, GHA
For those who have a special place in their heart for bad boys, Kevin-Prince Boateng is for them. Covered in tattoos and with his aggressive playmaking talent, Boateng was a good addition to the Black Stars due to his innate ability to play various positions. He was put on the field during the second half of Ghana’s first group game against the US, and was a starter for the Germany game in which he faced his own brother, Jerome Boateng. Unfortunately, K.P. was kicked off the team and sent home after verbally insulting his manager, Kwesi Appiah, during a team meeting just before their last group game against Portugal. It doesn’t seem like we will be seeing much of him internationally, since Appiah announced he will not be chosen again to play for Ghana.
Francesc Fabregas, ESP
Although the Spanish team had a rough time defending its title, it was a pleasure to watch its players, given as it is one of the most attractive teams in the world. This Chelsea middie struggled with the rest of La Furia Roja to stop the Dutch in their first game, and did not come on in the following game against Chile. He returned in the Australia game, which the Spanish men won 3-0, although they already knew they had been knocked out of the Cup. Fabregas will always be remembered for assisting the goal to Iniesta that led to their win of the 2010 World Cup.
Miguel Veloso, POR
There are other fish in the sea besides Ronaldo on the Portuguese team. Veloso is a starting middie whose looks are of just as great value as the team captain’s. With his father, Antonio Veloso, being a former Portuguese player and captain of Benfica, Miguel had expectations for success in the football world. His talent can be observed in his accurate passes and shooting, which helped him become a regular player for the Selecao das Quinas.
Mats Hummels, GER
If you thought you saw Oberyn Martell playing on the German team, you weren’t far off. Hummels shares the same dark and mysterious appearance as the Doran prince, but unlike Oberyn, who lost his fight against the Mountain, Hummels and the Germans have not yet lost a game in the World Cup, finishing first in their group with 7 points. He scored the second goal in Germany’s 4-0 victory over Portugal. He is an asset to the team as he is one of the best center backs in Europe and keeps Germany’s defense solid and impenetrable.
Claudio Marchisio, ITA
Oh yes, the beauty that is the Italian team. Although it was hard to pick only one man among the Azzurri, it had to be Marchisio. The Juventus middie scored Italy’s first goal in this World Cup against England. He played the following games against Costa Rica and Uruguay hoping for another great play like the one in Manaus, but Gli Azzurri lost both games 1-0, knocking them out of the World Cup. He is able to play various positions; his favorite is central midfield, which gives him the ability to switch between defense and attack. He has the ability to use both feet making him a valuable player for the Italians.
Cristiano Ronaldo, POR
As the captain of the Portuguese national team and a Real Madrid forward, he has broken many records. He has been a top scorer in England, Spain, the Champs League, and most importantly, Portugal. In addition, he has won two FIFA Player of the Year awards. He’s not just a household name in the football world, but also in fashion and philanthropy. Ronaldo has his own clothing line called “CR7.” He is often seen in ads modeling designer clothes, in most cases underwear… He is also known for donating money to charity and causes close to his heart. Recently, it has been rumored that the zig-zag design of his World Cup haircut is a tribute to the scar of a young boy, who’s brain surgery he paid for, to bring awareness to cortical dysplasia (a brain abnormality that causes seizures). Ronaldo has not confirmed the rumors, but then again he doesn’t really speak publicly about his charity work. I’d like to believe it’s true. Although the Selecao das Quinas are out, despite Ronaldo’s last minute goal against the Yanks that tied the game to 2-2, we can fill our need for the Portuguese captain by seeing him in La Liga, and most likely more underwear ads.
Olivier Giroud, FRA
Everyone loves a Frenchman, especially if it’s Olivier Giroud. Upon joining Arsenal, he had to fill the shoes of Robin van Persie, and although he may be a step below the Dutch player, he quickly won the heart of the fans with his talent as a striker. Giroud is known for his grand stature (6’4”), his style, and his calmness in front of the goal. He was a substitute in the second half in France’s match against Honduras, but became part of the starting lineup against Switzerland, scoring his first World Cup goal and helping Les Bleus qualify for the Round of 16. He will surely be an asset for France’s quarterfinal match against Germany. He has been gracing the covers of various magazines, such as Men’s Health, but most of which are French. With his looks and his talent, it has been a pleasure watching him play. We’ll see how Les Bleus will stand against Germany this Friday.
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