Sexy and they know it: soccer players in the World Cup are too hot to handle

We hate to do this. Wait, no, we love to do this, but choosing a handful of the World Cup’s most attractive men is challenging work. Not in a ditch-digging kind of way, of course, but gazing upon all the specimens of perfection over in Brazil, we really had a tough time just narrowing down the, um, field, to just 10. Cristiano Ronaldo and Gerard Pique were the obvious choices, but we dug deeper, in the name of investigative journalism.

To be as fair as possible, we didn’t pick more than one player from a country’s team, and we tried to be objective, realizing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One common thread many share is that their love lives are a little complicated.

Germany’s Lukas Podolski: Born in Poland, this blue-eyed forward, 29, is also into music. For pure entertainment, go to the YouTube video for the song Halleluja by Euroband The Brings. Podolski provides some able backup vocals. As for the baller’s status? Bild reports there is trouble in his three-year marriage to Monika Puchalski; they have a son, Louis, 6.

Russia’s Aleksandr Kerzhakov: This 31-year-old power player is known for off-the-charts goal-scoring and also, sadly, for his dirty divorce from Maria Golova amid a cheating scandal with a busty blonde. He and his ex have a daughter, Dasha, 8, and this handsome dad is hopelessly devoted. In a 2010 interview, Kerzhakov said: “Thanks to her I learned about responsibility: that`s what happens when you understand that there is a person who is half created from you. She`s yours.”

France’s Olivier Giroud: We don’t worry about this guy: If the whole soccer thing doesn’t work out there’s always modeling. Stunning even when sweating his brains out? Mon dieu, oui! This hotshot striker, 27, is all business when in the game, but his personal life is another story. French tabloids reported that he cheated on his wife (with whom he has a baby daughter Jade) with model Celia Kay, who happened to take a picture of Giroud in just his skivvies in a hotel room. Mortified, the Frenchman later apologized on Twitter.

Belgium’s Steven Defour: Scruffy with an infectious smile, this handsome midfielder’s love life is a bit of a mess. Last January, he tweeted he was divorcing childhood sweetheart Irene Mbisdikis after not even two years of marriage. It’s unclear who, if anyone, Defour is romancing now.

Brazil’s Neymar da Silva Santos Jr.: One of the nation’s brightest stars, who goes by his first name only, has a girlfriend who’s on equal footing in the hotness department: model Gabriella Lenzi. But don’t count out his ex, telenovela star Bruna Marquezine, just yet. Rumor has it the baby-faced forward still carries a torch for her. We say he’s only 22 and better to keep the mystery going for the fans.

Japan’s Shinji Kagawa: This boy is taken. According to widespread media reports, the midfielder is with a lovely lady by the name of Margaret Natsuki, a television host whom he met when she interviewed him. Though back in 2012, The Daily Mirror linked Kagawa with adult entertainment actress Ameri Ichinose.

Spain’s Cesc Fabrigas: The road to love was a little bumpy for this midfielder. After breaking up with longtime love Carla Garcia in 2011, he soon stepped out with a married woman who was 12 years his senior. Mother of two Daniella Semaan, 39, subsequently went through a bitter divorce battle and is still with the soccer stud.

Ghana’s Adam Larsen Kwarasey: The beyond gorgeous goalie, 26, has had other things on his mind beside the game. No, nothing to do with the opposite sex. He’s a new dad. Girlfriend Malin Sveen Feld gave birth to a baby boy June 7. They also have a daughter.

Switzerland’s Fabian Schar✔: This young buck, only 22, is turning heads, not only for his fancy feet. Schar left his job at a bank once he realized there was something more exciting out there. There was talk of a broken relationship when his athletic career took off, but no major scandal to speak of, yet. Phew.

Croatia: Where do we start? The entire squad has been boycotting media in Brazil after naked photos emerged of defender Dejan Lovren and Vedran Corluka skinny dipping at their hotel pool. If we had to pick one player (oh, this is a Sophie’s Choice moment here), we would have to go with Corluka, because he’s apparently still single; Lovren married his baby daughter’s mother, Anita Sekulic, last summer.

Madeleine Marr