World Soccer's Overexposed: The 20 Hottest Footballers of All Time

Jennifer JuneauContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2011

World Soccer's Overexposed: The 20 Hottest Footballers of All Time

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    100 Hottest WAGS?  Hottest Women Athletes?  

    It seems that fans are more curious about the women who are linked to their favorite athletes than the athletes themselves or how hot an athlete is just because she's a woman. 

    And why not?  It's human nature to want to look at beautiful people...especially in photographs where the human level is turned up a notch.

    But does anyone wonder what some of these athletes do in their off time? 

    I’ve compiled a list of the 20 hottest footballers past and present who have proved they are as photogenic in a fashion ad or on a catwalk as they are on the pitch.

    —and speaking of pitches: These images are more than just photographs, they a significant piece of pop culture.  Influenced by mass media, these images appeal to the daily lives of the consumer:


    If your favorite player wears Calvin Klein or drinks Pepsi—you will too.  

20. Lionel Messi

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    The Barcelona forward confronts the camera head on with a look saying he is as serious as wearing Lody underwear as he is in scoring goals.

    “The best player on the planet” measures in at only 5 ft. 7 in., proving that any famous person could appeal to the consumer.

19. Zinedine Zidane

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    The retired French international and 2006 World Cup winning footballer is seen modeling for the high-end Swiss IWC watches.

    Zidane has had endorsements with many companies, namely Adidas, Audi, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton.  

    These sponsorship deals earned him €8.6 million on top of his €6.4 million Real Madrid salary in his final season, making him the sixth-highest paid footballer.

    In this ad, the iconic figure of a generation of French players looks comfortable and at home.

18. Xabi Alonso

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    The Spanish midfielder for Real Madrid is often seen sweating up and down the playing field.

    At 6 ft. this Hugo Boss ad shows a sophisticated side of him.

17. Kaka

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    Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, known as Kaka, is seen modeling for Armani Jeans.

    The Brazil international and attacking midfielder for Real Madrid is looking away from the camera, either at somebody else, or maybe in a mirror. At any rate, he seems pleased and the black and white image makes the photograph more artistic as opposed to color.

    This Armani ad plays with the viewer's perspective: it isn't clear whether he's taking off his shirt or putting it on...

16. Florent Malouda

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    The French international and left winger for Chelsea is a spokesman for Nike. 

    In this powerful shot he confronts the camera in a bold close-up, making it clear he means business on the pitch.

15. Gennaro Gattuso

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    The 2006 world cup winning defensive midfielder cleans up nicely in this shot and has been seen with his Italian teammates modeling underwear for Dolce & Gabbana.

14. Cesc Fabregas

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    The Arsenal midfielder and current world cup winner shows as much ease strutting down the catwalk for a charity cause for Haiti, Fashion for Relief, in London, as he does on the pitch.

    The Spain international has also appeared in ads for Hugo Boss.

13. Iker Casillas

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    When not fending off the world’s most notorious strikers, the world-cup winning Spaniard with the Golden Glove did a modeling spread in FHM España.

    In this ad the goalkeeper is at ease, one hand at his side, the other in his pocket. 

12. Carlos Vela

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    The 21-year-old Mexican striker who plays for Arsenal was seen in a string of Hugo Boss ads.

11. Oguchi Onyewu

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    The USA defender did multiple page spreads in magazines for Dolce & Gabbana.

    This photograph is a paradox: the color shot, which lends a natural effect, is soft against the hard leather jacket look, which makes the model look friendly and approachable.

10. Sergio Ramos

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    Sergio Ramos was never the type to strike me with model looks, but the genius of photography proves me wrong here.

    If not for the art of the black and white shot, the confident expression on his face and the pride he has in his muscular physique are enough to make this photograph a success.

    The Real Madrid defender was also seen on the cover of Shangay magazine where he did a photo shoot and interview.

9. Fernando Torres

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    Liverpool’s no. 9 is known for his model looks whether he’s advertising Pepsi or wearing Pepe Jeans. 

    The Spanish striker has been known to love the camera as much as the camera loves him, as he proves he is able to turn it on at a Pepe Jeans photo shoot as fast as you can say Goal.

    Torres does not look directly into the camera, but collective and aloof beyond the viewer. 

    His position on the raw ground holding a football in a sultry child-like pose is indicative of his boyish look which earned him the nickname El Niño.

8. Frank Lampard

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    Chelsea's one time Player of the Year posed for a succession of shots in Live Magazine.

    The English midfielder cleans up his act in a series of photographs touched in navy blue, a serious color, which understates the photos often seen in tabloid papers.

    Said to have a high IQ, Lampard is considered one of the best footballers in the world.

7. Christoph Metzelder

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    The German center back for Schalke 04 has modeled for Hugo Boss.

    In this photo Metzelder holds the viewer's gaze.  This is a perfect example of a photograph dominating its subject.

    The angle in which it was taken brings out his features better, the color shots seen of Metzelder for Hugo Boss do not hold the power within the picture as the black and white shot.

6. Fabio Cannavaro

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    The Italian World Cup winning center back played for six clubs, including Real Madrid, before settling in the UAE Football League.

    Cannavaro won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2006, making him the first, and so far, only defender to win the award. 

    This is a playful looking shot, complementing the outgoing personality of the player.

5. Luca Toni

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    Born in 1977, this Italian world-cup winning international struck his way through 5 clubs from Palermo to Roma before settling at Juventus. 

    Seen here gracing the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, this striker has modeled Fred Mello fashion clothing for men. 

    Luca Toni meets the camera head on, arms crossed in a confident pose. The lighting adds a softness to an otherwise arrogant countenance.

4. Hidetoshi Nakata

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    The face for Calvin Klein—and what a face. 

    The 5 ft. 9 in. Japanese midfielder, who was on loan to Bolton his last season of playing football, retired after the 2006 world cup match against Brazil.

    The super photogenic Nakata has shown interest in fashion, attending runway shows, wearing designer clothing and sporting colorful haircuts in order to land a job as a model. 

    It looks like it worked.

3. Freddie Ljungberg

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    Retired from his national club in 2008, the Swedish right winger who currently plays for Celtic in the Scottish Premier League has modeled for Calvin Klein, L'Oreal, Nike, Pepsi and Puma.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    If you live on the planet Earth, this Real Madrid superstar needs no introduction.

    Ronaldo certainly knows how to perform for the camera as these snapshots are more indicative to a flawless art than to advertisement.

    As this Armani photo was taken from a succession of photos, most likely the cameraman in this particular instance would have to move and snap according to the performer as he changed his position.

1. David Beckham

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    I don’t think there has been a more fashion-photographed footballer in history than David Beckham during his football career.  

    The Armani model had been more famous in the United States (prior to his signing for LA Galaxy) for his provocative modeling, spokesmanship for perfumes, cosmetics and for his celebrity wife rather than for football.