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The cool haircuts, the rippling muscles, the body that’s as beautiful as the game, what is it about soccer stars that sets women’s pulses racing?

What does a guy who is 26 years old, 5’6” tall, and weighing 67 kg, have in common with a 29-year old guy, 6’1”, 79 kg? For one, thing, they’re both soccer stars, and second, both have millions of women swooning over them. Yes, we’re talking about Lionel Messi of Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, known in equal measure for their fancy footwork and chiselled bodies.

Football players are superstars in most soccer worshipping countries, enjoying the status of demigods. Anything they say and do is news, and is eagerly lapped up by the media. The long list of girl-friends is no secret and there are even heated debates on whose girlfriend is the hot­test. Tough choice, because they’re all so super glamorous and unbelievably gorgeous. Clearly, the hotter the soccer star, the more scorching his significant other.

Ronaldo has been linked with several women, and has now been in a relationship for the past four years with the very sexy Russian, Irina Shayk, who has appeared several times in swimwear issues of Sports Illustrated. The couple was featured on the cover of Vogue (Spain), with Shayk draped in a white sheet-like dress, with a naked Ronaldo in the backdrop.

Messi’s girlfriend is the stunning Antonella Roccuzzo and he declared his love for her, on her birthday, by posting a picture of both of them on Instagram, with a message that said: “Happy birthday my darling, I love you”. There probably is no woman in the world who wouldn’t be secretly wishing that the guy who she is in love with would do something like this for her.

So, what is it about football players that makes wo­men go weak in the knees? Is it their slim, drool worthy physique? Or is it their fat paychecks that exceed millions of dollars, pounds, yen and euro annually? After all, professional football players are the highest paid athletes of any sport in the world.

Men would swear that is it a combination of the two, but women, being the complicated creatures that they are, would agree that it is probably a lot more than that. They would nod that it might partly be all the testosterone charged with adrenaline, combined with sweat and raw physical power that turns them on, or on the other hand, it could just be that when a guy plays a sport, he exhibits his dedication to a goal, not to mention his discipline for a 5.00 am training session that calls for complete commitment, which is a huge draw with almost all women.

A survey out last month found that surfing and soccer are two sports at the top of what women find sexy. Victoria Milan, a dating website for attached people looking to cheat, conducted a survey of 3,256 female members, to discover what exactly it was that sets sporting champions apart from regular, talented men.

According to the survey, 53.6 per cent of women would prefer to have an affair with a sportsstar than an equally good, but modest, man, and 39 per cent said their main attraction to a sport champion is the body.

(Preeti Shenoy is the author of five bestselling novels, the latest being The One You Cannot Have)

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