Soccer WAGs

Some WAGs—wives and girlfriends—were such a distraction during the last World Cup, they were asked to stay away from South Africa. To see why, VIEW OUR GALLERY of the finest better halves.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Sarah Brandner, girlfriend of German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger pretty much has it made. He’s a star on the German national team, earns more than $7 million a year, and could be on his way to Chelsea in London. Oh yes, and he’s dating the gorgeous Sarah Brandner. The 21-year-old model, who lives with him in Munich, has appeared in GQ and Sports Illustrated, wearing nothing but a painted-on swimsuit.

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Bethany Dempsey, wife of U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey

Bethany Dempsey, wife of U.S. national team and Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey, had never modeled until Sports Illustrated came knocking. And once she showed up in a painted-on bikini and U.S. jersey, she showed the world that she was much lovelier than most people in her field—she is an educational psychologist. Bethany, 26, and Clint have a 1-year-old daughter, Elyse.

Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Caroline Celico, wife of Brazil midfielder Kaka

Caroline Celico met Brazilian superstar Kaka when the two were growing up as upper-middle-class children in Sao Paulo. By the time she was 19, the doe-eyed model had married her soccer-playing sweetheart, then 22. Today, they live in Madrid—he plays for Real Madrid—with their son, Luca Celico Leite, born in 2008.

AP Photo; Getty Images

Sara Carbonero

Sara Carbonero is living proof that not all the pretty women go for the guys who score the goals—her boyfriend is Spain’s captain and goalkeeper, Iker Casillas. Carbonero, a 25-year-old television Spanish sports reporter, has caught the eye of several stars of La Liga, including Cristiano Ronaldo, but Real Madrid’s Casillas was the lucky chosen one. The pair have been together for less than a year and have become fixtures in the Spanish gossip magazines.

Sergio Moraes / Reuters; Newscom

Susana Werner, wife of Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar

Years before she married Brazil and Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Susana Werner had a long-term relationship with his buck-toothed national side teammate, Ronaldo—he hadn’t packed on the weight yet. But since then, the Brazilian actress and model has had two children with Cesar: Cauet, born in 2002, and Giulia, born in 2005.

Cesar Cebolla, ALFAQUI / Newscom

Zaira Nara, girlfriend of Uruguay striker Diego Forlan

It seems that the Nara family can’t get enough of soccer stars: Zaira Nara’s sister, Wanda, is famous for—or is it infamous for?—once dating legend Diego Maradona, now manager of the Argentine national team. And Zaira is giving Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan a shot. Not surprisingly, the professional model meets the high standards of Uruguay’s Forlan, who previously dated the TV actress Claudia Albertario.

Sylvie van der Vaart, wife of Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart

In 2003, right around the time the Dutch actress, model, and TV presenter Sylvie Meis was named the Netherlands’ Sexiest Female, she started dating Rafael van der Vaart, then a midfielder for AFC Ajax. Two years later, the couple married. In 2006, their son, Damián Rafael, was born. Rafael’s now a high-profile player for Real Madrid, and he and Sylvie are often compared to the Beckhams.

Franco Origlia / Getty Images

Alena Seredova

Alena Seredova’s last name is deceiving: In Czech, her native tongue, it means “ugly person.” The thing is, Seredova’s anything but. The model, currently living in Italy with her Italian goalkeeper boyfriend Gianluigi Buffon, has graced the covers of Playboy Europe and Spy, and has appeared as the co-host of a TV show there, too. Seredova and Buffon have two children: Louis Thomas, born in 2007, and David Lee, born in 2009.

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Abbey Clancy

In 2006, Abbey Clancy became a media star, first with appearances on Britain’s Next Top Model—which she lost, barely, in the season’s final episode—then with the announcement, during the FIFA World Cup, of her relationship with the super-tall Liverpool striker Peter Crouch. Since then, Clancy’s modeled for publications like GQ, OK!, and Arena magazine. This year, she appeared in the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition. The couple are now engaged, and Crouch plays for newly resurgent Tottenham Hotspur.

Newscom

Carly Zucker

A personal trainer and former reality-TV star—in 2008, she appeared on the British edition of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!—Carly Zucker knows how to stay in shape. Which is why it’s no surprise that she’d be a good fit for a football-playing honcho like Joe Cole, until this week a midfielder for Chelsea. The couple started dating in 2002 and got married five years later. In March 2010, Zucker gave birth to their first child, Ruby.