Four days into the 21st FIFA World Cup, most of us are getting into the routine of visiting sports bars, huddling around the TV at outdoor porridge joints and adrenaline-filled hurrahs lasting till the AM. For those who are slightly less than thrilled by televised sporting events, this could also mean a tough five weeks ahead of unavoidable football matches and game-centred conversation. Which is why we’re giving you other reasons to tune into the games—10 to be exact.
Impressive on the field and yummy to the eyes, here are the top 10 most attractive footballers to help make FIFA enjoyable for everyone, including non-football fanatics. Now you can have a team or teams to root for this year.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
Neymar Jr or even just Neymar, this Brazilian top scoring football prodigy is known not only for his incredible dribbling skills but also his irresistible grins and effortless cool. Full of laid-back smiles and the kind of laugh that has fans literally melting worldwide, this is the guy who could pull off any hairstyle—from afro to full-on mohawk—and have us head-over-heels in love with just a wink. With such easy-going charms, keep in mind that Neymar is considered one of the world’s top athletes; he became the most expensive player in football history after Paris Saint-Germain bought him last year for a whopping $222 million.
Position: Defender (right-back)
Hector: king of speed, crossing prowess and intoxicatingly sexy smoulders. It isn’t easy to take the long-haired route—but Hector does it well. With that alluring hip-hop cool and classic semi-pout that has us drooling over our screens, how could anyone not ogle in the face of such tantalising charm? If you haven’t gotten enough for him, don’t worry—he also plays for the English club Arsenal, giving you more reason to actually get into football. Ready your eyes for some serious concentrating though—considered one of the fastest footballers in the world, Hector is known for his quick pace and agility. If your eyes aren’t peeled, you might just miss him.
James David Rodríguez Rubio
Known for his boyish charms and superior technique, James is the one to eye if you prefer endearing charisma over macho brawn. Don’t be fooled by his youthful features and cherubic smile though. With his shrewd vision and playmaking prowess, James is considered one of the top players of his generation. He’s also a step ahead in the digital game, having recently become the first ever footballer to launch his own cryptocurrency. Also, his celebratory salsa moves after each goal—no one can forget those.
Position: Defender (right-back)
In lieu of boyish charms, meet Trent Alexander-Arnold, England’s youngest player. Despite his youthful age, he has a promising career ahead. (The fact that he’s the nephew of former Man-U club secretary John Alexander also gives his already-shiny football profile that little extra oomph.) With unhampered enthusiasm and that captivatingly cheeky grin, this is another footballer to watch on the field. In his free time, the footballer volunteers as an ambassador for ‘An Hour for Others’, a Liverpool-based charity that caters to the needs of underprivileged members of the local community. Back when he was still a teen attending Liverpool’s academy, he and fellow teammate Kris Owens had promised to support the cause if either of them ever became professional footballers, and the 19-year-old has stayed true to his word. Totally aww-worthy.
Position: Defender (central)
Another golden heart on our list, meet Mats Hummels. Asides from being considered one of the best defenders in the world, outside of football he is often seen engaging in philanthropic activities—from travelling around Malawias as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to donating one per cent of his income to the organisation Common Goal. He’s also incredible on the field, blowing us and his opponents away with immense strength, impressive tackling and an insightful perception of gameplay. Also, he’s tall and handsome—what more could we ask for?
Known as ‘La Joya’—“The Jewel” in Spanish—Paulo truly is a rare gem out on the field. His swift pace, mastery of technique and innovative approach to gameplay make him a key player on both the Argentinian national team, as well as the Italian club Juventus. Expertise aside, his irresistibly angelic charms keep us glued on him. With such strong, riveting features—cue emerald eyes and the perfect smile—he’s definitely a drool-worthy catch in our books, and Dolce & Gabbana agrees! Outside of his football career, he’s also had his dab in the modelling industry, having walked for this year's Dolce & Gabbana Autumn/Winter collection during a show in Milan.
Position: Defender (centre-back)
Cool, intense and master of sexy, Yoshida Maya is more than a model face. The first Japanese player ever to sign a contract extension with a club in the Premier League, Maya also plays as centre back for Southhampton club. He might look serious—borderline intimidating, really—on magazine covers and during the game, but once his smile comes on it’s all warm and fuzzy feels. Follow his graceful movements on-screen and check out his Insta. If after all that you still haven’t had enough of this attractive footballer, you can go and purchase his autobiography. Titled Unbeatable Mind, the recently published book gives you insight into his personal life and how he got to where he is today, as well as tips and advice on improving your football game. Get your copy here.
Team: South Korea
Position: winger or forward
Heartthrob oppas aren’t limited to viral Korean soaps; they’re also out there scoring goals for their country. At just 25 years old, Heung-min Son—who also plays for the Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur—is the top Asian scorer in Premier League history and most expensive Asian player, signed with Tottenham for £22 million. Incredibly agile and quick on his feet, he’s most well known for his versatility as a player. Unlike many professional footballers who prefer to stick to a position and specialise, Heung-min is able to take on numerous positions with skilled mastery. Going from second striker to winger, he’s also been seen as a deadly forward and striker. Clearly popular, Heung-min even has a song: his fans are often seen singing Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles at his arrival. Oppa, saranghae!
Another one to eye from Tottenham Hotspur, Bamidele—more commonly known as Dele Alli—is considered by many as one of the best midfielders of his generation. Fluid, fast and highly skilled, the 22-yea-old already has a hefty collection of awards under his belt, having won PFA Young Player of the Year twice in a row. Not only is he deadly in-game and endowed with such good looks—cue dark features and that sharp jawline—he also has killer style. You might not be able to have him, but you can at least have his fashion sense by shopping from his personal clothing line ‘BoohooMan by Dele’.
Mohamad generally goes by Mo, but amongst fans he’s ‘The Pharaoh’ and sometimes even “Egyptian King’ by fans of Liverpool, where he also plays as forward. Mobile and tactical, he’s got a good eye for the goal, which he pairs with impressive dribbling skills and ball control. For those who are tired of the intense brooding smolders and fiery eyes, here’s a bundle of warmth coming your way. Enthusiastic, humble and constantly sporting that disarming sincere smile, it’s difficult not to fall for those kind eyes and easy-going charm. Also, who doesn’t love a man with a beard?