From left: Neymar of Brazil, Cameroonian defender William Troost-Ekong and Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. PHOTOS AFPFrom left: Neymar of Brazil, Cameroonian defender William Troost-Ekong and Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. PHOTOS AFP
By SONI KANAKE

Over the years, the fairer sex has learned to appreciate the beautiful game. Granted, most women still don’t understand all the fuss about 22 grown men chasing after a leather ball.

“Can someone tell me why I should watch the World Cup?” asked one lady on social media. Well, we will give you 10 good reasons.

Sadly, some of the teams might be saying ‘Goodbye’ before we can even get to say ‘Hello’, so it would be good to make hay while the sun shines.

We talked to a number of female football fans who shared with us their list of the hottest players.

“The hottest of them all is Neymar Jr. He is God’s gift to humankind,” says Soni Mwaniki, an ardent football fan.

“Andre Silva takes silver. As for Ronaldo, old is gold and he’s up there in the looks department,” she says.

Ms Mwaniki was also in favour of Argentina defender Marcos Rojo and Nigeria’s William Troost-Ekong.

Njeri, who says she’s been sleeping late to watch football, loves Mohamed Salah. Jackie Githiga, too, was in favour of Salah, while Carol and Jane thought Frenchman Olivier Giroud has looks to die for.

Anita was all about the Nigerian ‘broda’, Ekong. Jackie’s first choice though, was Neymar, followed by Marcelo Vieira and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Well, seeing as Mohamed Salah Ghaly’s name kept coming up, he at least deserves an honourable mention as one of the footballers who gave us a reason to watch despite his team, Egypt, having already gone home after losing to Russia and Uruguay.

We compiled the list from die-hard female fans and here are some of the hottest players in the 2018 World Cup … in no particular order.

Andre Silva

Team: Portugal

Position: Striker

Number: 9

André Miguel Valente da Silva might not be a household name yet but the good-looking footballer has represented his country, Portugal, in various youth contests. The 22-year-old professional footballer is a striker for Italian club AC Milan and the Portugal national team.

Though he recently confessed to feeling honoured by playing side by side with Cristiano Ronaldo, he is definitely giving the older player a run for his money when it comes to looks. He looks a little bit more rugged and has abs for days. Perhaps Ronaldo should pass the mantle already. *wink wink*

Portugal's forward Andre Silva attends a press conference at the team's base in Kratovo, on June 18, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / Francisco LEONG

Portugal’s forward Andre Silva attends a press conference at the team’s base in Kratovo, on June 18, 2018. AFP PHOTO

William Troost-Ekong

Team: Nigeria

Position: Centre back

Number: 3

William Paul Troost-Ekong, 24, is a professional footballer who plays for Turkish club, Bursaspor. The hot player born of a Nigerian dad and Dutch mum inherited the best of both worlds, it would appear.

Ekong, who was born in the Netherlands, represents his country, Nigeria, at an international level. When he was younger, he played for the Spurs and Fulham at youth level before his senior football career. The Super Eagles defender is still hopeful, despite his team losing to Croatia in their first game. We can only hope Nigeria will hang in there a little longer so we get to see more of this good-looking ‘broda’.

Neymar Jr

Team: Brazil

Position: Forward

Number: 10

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar Jr (or simply Neymar); this hunk is no doubt a head-turner and is perhaps the reason a good number of ladies are Team Brazil. The 26-year-old professional footballer is playing in the World Cup for the second time, having made his debut in 2014, although his stay was aborted by an injury.

The former Barça player is now a forward for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. His transfer last year from Barcelona to PSG earned him the title of the most expensive player transfer in football history. Neymar is not just a football hunk but he also smiles all the way to the bank.

Marcelo

Team: Brazil

Position: Left back

Number: 12

Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, 30, commonly known as Marcelo, is a Brazilian professional footballer. The player, who mainly plays left back, though he can also operate as a left winger, currently plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team.

Not too sure what makes him a heartthrob, but his name kept coming up among the ladies we talked to. Perhaps it’s his beautiful curly mane or his undeniable energy on the pitch, whatever draws the ladies to him, this Brazilian guy qualifies as optical nutrition.

 Brazil's defender Marcelo controls the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E football match between Brazil and Switzerland at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don on June 17, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JOE KLAMAR / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS

Brazilian defender Marcelo controls the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group E match against Switzerland at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-On-Don on June 17, 2018. AFP PHOTO

Mathias Jørgensen

Team: Denmark

Position: Centre back

Number: 25

Mathias Jattah-Njie Jørgensen, 28, a Danish professional footballer plays for the Premier League club Huddersfield Town and the Denmark National Team.
Jørgensen made his senior international debut for Denmark aged 18 in November 2008 and is no doubt the stuff dreams are made of.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Team: Portugal

Position: Forward

Number: 7

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro simply referred to as Cristiano Ronaldo … his name rings a bell even among those who are not too familiar with football. He wraps up our list; well because he still rocks on and off the pitch, and has secured his place in the hearts of many women as a football hunk. Nicknamed CR7 because of his shirt number, the 33-year-old is still a force to reckon with on matters football. Endowed with cute boyish looks, he is definitely eye candy and a joy to watch as he strikes the ball. Previously he played for Manchester United, and is now with Spanish club Real Madrid.

Olivier Giroud

Team: France

Position: Striker

Number: 18

Olivier Giroud, 31, is a French professional footballer who plays for Chelsea as well as the French national team. This eye candy Frenchman is a sight to behold on and off the pitch, and with abs to die for, what’s there not to like?

 France's forward Olivier Giroud smiles during a press conference at the press center in Istra, west of Moscow, on June 22, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

French forward Olivier Giroud smiles during a press conference in Moscow, on June 22, 2018. AFP PHOTO

Marcos Rojo

Team: Argentina

Position: Defender

Number: 5

Faustino Marcos Alberto Rojo is an Argentine professional footballer. Rojo, 28, currently plays for Manchester United and the Argentine national team. The hunk of a footballer is definitely worth checking out.

Mathew Leckie

Team: Australia

Position: Winger/Wing-back

Number: 11

The name Mathew Allan Leckie, 27, might not ring a bell, but the Australian footballer plays for Bundesliga Club Hertha BSC and the Australian national team. He looks dapper in a suit and is one of those guys who makes a suit look good … perhaps he should double as a professional model too. But boy, oh boy! his legs are something else; so let’s just have him on the pitch for now.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Team: England

Position: Midfielder

Number: 8

Ruben Ira Loftus-Cheek, 22, is an English professional footballer who plays for Chelsea (currently on loan to Crystal Palace) and the English national team.
Blessed with movie-star looks, he could qualify to be in a boy band and is a sight to behold. Standing at over six feet, he is officially eye-candy and there’s little else not to like about his physique.

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