Sorry it's a long article that I would break up with Pics but photobucket hates me because I have exceeded bandwith FML :/
Nice Goal! How’d You Like to Be a Model?
DURING a typically unremarkable performance at this year’s World Cup, in which the United States team was ousted in the Round of 16, there was at least one crowning achievement for the Americans, a shot heard around the world.
As it happened, that shot was taken by a camera, when the team’s hunky captain, Carlos Bocanegra, was photographed with Bill Clinton, celebrating the American victory over Algeria on June 23. The resulting image — Mr. Bocanegra grinning with his shirt off, he and the former president drinking Buds — was posted on the Twitter account of a Sports Illustrated writer and reposted to so many blogs that the young soccer star caught an unexpected glimpse of fame in his home country, a nation that more typically reserves celebrity worship for local weather forecasters than for soccer stars.
Could Mr. Bocanegra be the next David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo?
He seems to be cultivating a real-man-who-likes-fashion image in a way that few of his predecessors have, without drawing a metrosexual penalty. For example, Mr. Bocanegra, who bears an elaborate tattoo of his own surname on his left shoulder, told Interview magazine that his favorite historical period is Roman times: “Just real rugged and manly men. You know, ripping meat apart with their teeth.” Yet, in the same article, he said he likes Gucci loafers and white Nixon watches.
It should come as little surprise that fashion designers have had their antennae up for a breakthrough star at the World Cup. After Messrs. Ronaldo and Beckham modeled for Mr. Armani, and Louis Vuitton produced a campaign that pitted Pelé against Zinedine Zidane and, during the men’s shows last month, half of Milan was plastered with Dolce & Gabbana underwear ads featuring Italian players, who’s left? A new batch of potential underwear models and fragrance pitchmen needs to be discovered.
“If you, as a fashion brand, want to connect with mainstream guys in Europe, it is vitally important to make that association with soccer,” said Nick Sullivan, the fashion director of Esquire. “It’s like the ‘bat phone’ way of reaching guys who are not necessarily going to go and buy Vogue. Putting soccer players in their underwear is like saying to these guys, ‘This is cool.’ ”
That said, Mr. Sullivan has found this year’s Most Fashionable Player draft picks to be underwhelming. He is keeping an eye on Thiago Silva, a 25-year-old Brazilian who plays for the Milan league and therefore includes some of the world’s most prominent designers among his fan base.
“It’s not a vintage year,” he said. “The ones they really need have to be dazzlingly good-looking, be good with their feet and be willing to be a fashion plate.”
Alas, some of the best players in the world you would not wish to see on a billboard in their briefs. Lionel Messi of Argentina, an international player of the year, “is not such a good-looking lad,” said the men’s-wear designer Simon Spurr, who is English and therefore objective because his team doesn’t do well enough to advance at the World Cup. Wayne Rooney, the powerful English forward, has the looks of a bulldog — and, evidently, a tattoo, after a Stereophonics album, that says “Just Enough Education to Perform.”
Mr. Spurr’s money is on Fernando Torres, the sometimes-blond striker for Spain with boy-band looks who already has his own watch collection and an autobiography. On the other hand, Mr. Torres, 26, is called El Niño and might appear just a little too wholesome.
“It’s rare when you get a Ronaldo or Beckham,” Mr. Spurr said. “It’s hard to find that all-in-one package these days. When they come about, the fashion brands jump on them.”
Some of the other players who are beginning to blip on the fashion radar include Japan’s Keisuke Honda, whose notices for his ash-blond hair have rivaled those for his dead-aimed goals; and Iker Casillas, a goalie who looks like a Spanish Josh Hartnett and was dubbed by People (of all people) as “the next big thing.”
“Iker definitely has the potential to be turned into a ‘brand,’ much like Ronaldo or Beckham,” said Christian Cota, a designer who was born in Mexico City but follows the Spanish team as well. Carlos Miele, a Brazilian designer, ranked Messrs. Bocanegra and Torres highly, and cited Roque Santa Cruz of Paraguay, Alexandros Tzorvas of Greece and Yoann Gourcuff of France as promising.
Although these names may be virtually unheard of in the United States, you may nevertheless find yourself buying underwear from them soon.
“I met Beckham when he was 18 and he was already a guest at Donatella Versace’s house,” Mr. Sullivan said. “He was already being courted then. And that was before Victoria got her hooks into him and sorted out his hair.”