Update: The Round of 16 is over, but the work isn’t done. On to the quarterfinals!
It’s the end of March, which means we can still squeeze in one last bracket – actually, the only bracket that matters.
It’s March Men-ness time!
We like to take a minute to appreciate male beauty every week with Man Crush Monday, but what about entire teams? It’s time to narrow this down to sexiness science.
Sure, La Liga has some strong contenders – Real Madrid may have lost to Barça in actual sports, but how would they fare if we matched up Mr. Shakira with the one-two punch of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos?
But what if we throw in the Premier League? Can French Jesus carry Arsenal? What if he goes head to head with Marco Borriello, from Genoa CFC? Who even cares about the rest of that team?
That’s just on one continent. Have you considered the hotness-rankings-overlooked Esperance from Tunisia?
And back in the U.S., we’ve gotta give it up to their season-opening challengers, NYCFC, though, for featuring some pretty prime steak in Mix Diskerud and company.
Your challenge is clear: Help us pick the sexiest squad on the entire planet – we narrowed them down according to serious statistics (uh, not really, at all). Please, vote below and don’t screw this up.
Arsenal vs. Esperance
Olivier Giroud is the smug-but-incredibly-perfect face that launched a thousand Tumblr reblogs – and a not-so-nice, extramarital assignation with a glamour model. But though Olivi-bae could carry his team to victory based on his chiseled abs and exquisite nose alone, don’t forget Thomas Rosicky’s sex hair, Hector Bellerin’s fine nose/tattoo combo, and Serge Gnabry’s incredible pout.
Click here for more Arsenal “research.”
Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia)
This old-school club gets overlooked in general hot-talk, but it’s full of underrated contenders. That’s fine, because it means more Chamseddine Dhaouadi to ourselves. And Mohamed Ben Mansour. And Medji Traoui. And Hocine Ragued. You know what, forget we reminded you of Esperance after all. We’ll just be over here in the corner…
It’s not creeping if it’s for science. More Esperance.
PSG vs. NYCFC
Paris Saint-Germain (France)
Two words: Ezequiel Lavezzi. But don’t mop up all that drool just yet – Salvatore Sirigu and Javier Pastore come cut from a similar Mediterranean-ish cloth. Meanwhile Gregory van der Wiel is here for all your bad-tattooed-boy fantasies, and Sergie Aurier will draw you close to that broad and solid chest.
Inform your vote. Check out more PSG talent.
New York City FC (United States)
MLS is on the come-up in both sports and hotness thanks to shrewd player selection. Gaze into David Villa’s hypnotic stare while you wait for the arrival of Frank Lampard, as much as a reason as ever for God to save the Queen. Oh, and have you checked out Mix Diskerud, with his yoga-teacher-esque, curly mane and trust-me eyes?
Expand your horizons with more NYCFC.
Manchester United vs. Genoa
Manchester United (England)
It’s so appropriate the team has “man” in the name because, boy, does it offer a man smorgasbord. Here there’s everything from Radamel Falcao’s classic sexiness, to Ashley Young’s beautiful baldness, to Marcos Rojo’s Latin heat, to Luke Shaw’s blue/blonde combo. Man Utd: It’s for when you can’t decide which flavor you like best.
Put in the time and see why they’re called Red Devils.
Um, TBH we all know this team isn’t that great at actually playing the game or anything, but here is where it wins in greatness: the possible pinnacle of perfection that is Marco Borriello. Why is he even letting cleats and flying objects get anywhere near his person? Why does he exist? Oh god, even the randos on the team like Giuseppe Panico (if you like blondes) and Eugenio Lamanna (if you don’t) are 10s compared to most U.S. athletes? What is this?
Don’t let Marco overshadow the rest of Genoa’s talents.
Real Madrid vs. Club América
Real Madrid (Spain)
Sure, we’re biased, but let’s just go through all the hot pickings here. Cristiano Ronaldo’s the front-runner for mainstream perfection, but it’s hard to even type about Sergio Ramos. Marcelo’s an underrated slice of hotness, James Rodriguez’s innocent face would impress your parents, and Karim Benzema’s bearded ruggedness smolders. Also, Isco (cue heavy breathing).
See why Real Madrid is the favorite.
Club América (Mexico)
Sure, this is the team everyone loves to hate on the field. So go on and hate them because they’re beautiful, too. Hello, Ventura Alvarado, did it hurt when you fell from heaven? Hi, Miguel Samudio, do you believe in love at first sight or should we walk by again? Hey, Osvaldo Martinez, we lost our phone number; can we have yours?
America is about freedom, so enjoy the freedom to creep on the Aguilas.
Barcelona vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
BRB, literally crying because Gerard Pique is taken by freaking Shakira so the fantasies are pointless. Moving on from that tower of perfection, Barca could go toe-to-toe with any competitors thanks to the likes of Marc Bartra – have you seen his dog-photo-filled Instagram? – and the adorable Neymar.
Do Real Madrid’s rivals measure up? Judge for yourself.
Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)
Forget pronouncing the actual team’s name. How about just screaming any of these names? Thorgan Hazard! Christoph Kramer! Janis Blaswich! Andre Hahn! Yann Sommer! We could keep going! (In fact, we did. Here’s a poem about Patrick Herrmann’s eyes.)
Take inventory of Gladbach’s up-and-comers.
Orlando City vs. Liverpool
Orlando City (United States)
Superstar Kaka wins both on the field and in our hearts and loins – he’s a former Man Crush Monday victim, of course. But if you’re not busy praying to Kaka, might we recommend the classically square-jawed Tally Hall?
See why this club is off to a promising start.
Here’s another wealth of options. Adam Lallana – his hair, his beard, his perfectly tattooed and chiseled bod — is the clear front-runner to take his team to potential victory. But then there’s Daniel Sturridge, whose hair and dance moves could make underwear drop, and Raheem Sterling, if you fancy them with a face that looks cute and ready for defiling.
It’s important to appreciate Liverpool’s depth of talent.
Juventus vs. LA Galaxy
Andrea Pirlo may look to be an experienced 35, but his status as the suavest man alive makes him pure sex. (He’s also a past Man Crush Monday honoree). Also in the category of “older men who will teach you about the finer things in life,” there’s Gianluigi Buffon and his amazing profile. Don’t forget the younger heartthrobs like Alvaro Morata and Fernando Llorente.
See why Italy’s finest are more than just Pirlo.
LA Galaxy (United States)
Everyone loves a reigning champion – and everyone should also love Stefan Ishizaki. If Anglo perfection is more your thing, bask in Robbie Rogers’ baby blues. (It’s also always a promising sign when “body” is a popular search term after a player’s name.) Let’s not discount Omar Gonzalez to round out the assortment, either.
Take inventory of MLS’s defending champions.
Borussia Dortmund vs. San Lorenzo
Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Mats Hummels is the kind of man who inspires unprovoked weeping among fans of handsomeness. But you can keep on crying over Shinji Kagawa and Marco Reus, too. If it’s your thing, make sure to save some tears for the Teutonic perfection of Roman Weidenfeller, too.
Discover why Europe keeps fawning over Dortmund’s talents.
San Lorenzo (Argentina)
Here’s the home of one of Colombia’s finest-ever exports, Mario Yepes. With his flowing locks and piercing stare, he could probably quit right now and model for the cover of drugstore romance novels. If he were to do that, there would still be plenty of hotness left on the team, via the likes of Hector Daniel Villalba and Sebastian Blanco.
See the real reasons why San Lorenzo is champion of South America.
Check back on Friday to vote on the quarterfinals, and if you need a little reminder that your vote matters, follow the Soccer Gods on Twitter. We’ll send out the alert tomorrow.