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Cup runneth over with sexy men

Like Hollywood stars, soccer players are fashionistas too; setting trends with designer apparels and stylish hairdos.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 13:16 IST

For millions of TV viewers who are following the World Cup, there is more to admire than mere dribbling and back-heel passes, namely, legs shaped as though sculpted, seductive smiles and disarming gazes.

Latinos, Scandinavians, Central Europeans, Asians, Africans - the tournament is a showcase of sexy men for every taste. In some of the participating teams, all of the players are good-looking. In others, the charisma of certain players far outshines that of their teammates.

Political tensions notwithstanding, the team whose players have caused the greatest stir with their looks is Iran. Young German women and girls scramble to get autographs from the raven-haired, intense-eyed Iranians.

The tall, strong players of Ivory Coast have also sent many a heart aflutter.

Some media outlets have published rankings of the handsomest World Cup players.

Numero uno on the list by the German newspaper Die Welt is Paraguay's Roque Santa Cruz, followed by Spain's Raul and the Portuguese duo Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport picked a countryman, Alessandro Nesta, ahead of England's David Beckham and Figo.

"Nesta is a Mediterranean beauty," it wrote. "He has a classic countenance, fine facial features, and a glance that's simply stunning."

The Danes, who failed to qualify for the tournament, can afford to be more neutral.

A survey by the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet found Sweden's Fredrik Ljungberg - whose muscular body, packed in bikini briefs, appears in advertisements - to be the World Cup's best-looking player. Second was Nesta, and third was Beckham.

The Argentines have their charms too.

Most striking about them are their luxuriant hair, especially that of their captain, Jaun Pablo Sorin, whom some journalists have compared to British film star Daniel Day-Lewis in the movie The Last of the Mohicans.

A lot of footballers have their own stylists, wear designer clothes and get fashionable haircuts.

The result, according to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, is that football these days is attracting more and more women.

And not only women, gay men's favourite pinup boys include Ljungberg, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko. Or so it seems judging from gay Internet sites, where photos show the players scantily clad and in daring poses.

Not only on the pitch do 21st-century footballers strut their stuff.

Like Hollywood stars, they parade in front of TV cameras wearing expensive designer suits. Their haircuts and tattoos set trends. Some footballers even model for fashion companies.

There are more attractive footballers out there, waiting to be discovered during the World Cup. Ultramodern television cameras allow viewers a close look at their anatomical merits.

By the time the final rolls around on July 9, perhaps we will know who the top beefcake is.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 13:16 IST