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follow me, i'll show you where the candy is...

i can't help but notice that my world cup posts remain startlingly popular, even though the contest is long since over. but from what i can tell, it isn't the commentary or the "eat the cup" recipes that continue to draw attention. it's the gentlemen. i still get hits everyday from people eagerly looking for their favourite man candy, which got me to thinking: there's no reason at all you should be starved for sweets, because you can track these guys down every week- many of them multiple times a week- if you need a sugar fix.

i am always thrilled to be able to indulge readers and since the window on transferring players from one team to another officially closed last night, i can tell you with authority where you'll be able to find the prime specimens that we met during the world cup finals.

let's start at the very beginning...

caliente
iker casillas :: predictably, the goalkeeper for the spanish national team can be found in spain, playing for real madrid, who are known chiefly for buying everyone, no matter what the cost. basically, if real hasn't tried to buy you, you're not a true footie superstar. of course, the problem is that real madrid have also brought in other goalkeepers, because it seems like beautiful iker is not getting as much time on the pitch as he was before. nonetheless, he's still around, even if he's only on the sidelines. his team is playing both in spain's la liga [on weekends] and in the european champions league [where games are played mid-week], where the best teams from all over europe get together and fight it out amongst themselves. [there has been a rumour going around the internet that iker was on his way to play with arsenal in the british premier league, but that for contractual reasons, the deal had to be put off until next year.] [and yes, real madrid also has the portuguese player who shall remain nameless, whom everyone thinks is gorgeous. i'll just put this out there, though: i actually thought he was more attractive when he was tearing my england-supporting heart out at the world cup in 2006. more natural, less tanned.]

i'm back!
with a new friend...
wilfried bony :: no one is as surprised [or likely as happy] as i to report that after being linked with pretty much every top five club with every league in europe, he of the powerful legs and astounding abs has opted to stay with swansea city in the english premier league. you can catch him playing there on weekends for the foreseeable future. and you will probably also want to know that swansea signed franco-senegalese player bafétimbi gomis [pictured below bony], who is like the sexy serpent to bony's royal lion. that's a hell of a one-two punch.

many people come to this blog looking for this man
alireza haghighi :: this one gets a little trickier. alireza plays in portugal, for a team that was newly promoted to their top division. [european football/ soccer leagues are split into different divisions, sort of like how baseball has the major leagues, triple a, double a, etc. however, every season, the last three teams are demoted to the league below while the top three teams are promoted to the league above. it's a cool system, in that it means that there are always two races happening in every league and that there is constant change happening.] the portuguese primeira liga doesn't get a lot of coverage, since it isn't considered one of the best in europe. however, if you want to find the handsome keeper who developed quite a cult following during iran's stint in the world cup, it can be done. he plays for penafiel. [that's a link to wikipedia, because their homepage is still under construction. get it together guys, we want photos of team members frolicking in the dressing room, stat.] 


olivier giroud :: le sigh. olivier plays for arsenal who are in both the english premier league and the european champions league, so in theory, it should be easy enough to find him throughout the week. unfortunately, he got his foot broken in one of his team's first games this season and will be out until january. that's just not fair. on the other hand, there's a decent chance he'll still be showing up at games to cheer on his buddies and besides, he's worth waiting for.

and while we're talking arsenal, here's his handsome, chiseled teammate [also from france, although i didn't get to feature him during the world cup competition], mathieu debuchy:

bonjour!
and here's the two of them kissing in front of a stadium full of people, which is the hottest thing to happen in sport ever:



jermaine jones :: mr. jones has moved around a lot and has currently landed with the new england revolution who play in north america's major league soccer. the mls is known as the place where world class footballers are put out to stud once they've gotten past their prime, a trend that was started by david beckham.  it's not a terribly well-respected league, although one hopes that the popularity of the world cup in the united states might help change that. there are north american networks that broadcast some mls games, but you're probably better off scouring the internet. since he's already moved twice in 2014, there's still hope that he'll pop up somewhere with more visibility. in the meantime, jermaine will be playing soccer and indulging his favourite pass-times: getting some pretty amazing tattoos...


and raising a race of angelic, ethereally beautiful super-children who will one day rule us all:


HAVEN'T HAD YOUR FILL YET? PRAY CONTINUE...


mario gomez :: the most beautiful man we never got to see at the world cup is back both on his national team [qualifying for the 2016 european cup starts this fall!] and with the italian team fiorentina [homepage is italian-only and also pretty spectacularly ugly]. it's not difficult to find italian serie a games- no place with a significant italian community will be without access. in cities that have larger italian areas, expect some of their cafes and restaurants to broadcast games on the weekends. for mario, it's worth finding a place with a big, high def screen. a german of spanish ancestry, playing for an italian team. who says pan-europeanism is a bad thing?


neymar :: there was never any question of neymar leaving barcelona after the world cup. he's one of their biggest stars with a great future ahead of him. barca are like the montreal to madrid's toronto, the paris to madrid's london: the opponent who stirs up the deepest emotions, from hatred to awe, and with whom there is a neverending competition. both have splashed out ridiculous sums of money for the greatest players in the world [particularly those from spain, portugal and all over south america] and they guard their stars with ferocity. being one of the most popular teams in the world, barcelona are easy to track down, both as part of la liga and in the championship tournament. and the best news is that he's spent the summer recovering from his broken back, so he'll doubtless get lots of playing time. ah, the resilience of youth...

guten tag
mats hummels :: so many people want mats in every way, but in terms of his professional career, he's chosen to stay at german stalwarts borussia dortmund for another year. the team plays in the german bundesliga and are almost always near the top of their table. that means that they also play in the champions league, so you can get your mats fix throughout the week and on weekends. it's a sweet deal.

look at them dimples
sergio aguero :: one of the most popular search terms leading to my blog for the couple of months has been "sergio aguero dimples" or some variation thereof. this dimpled darling has already scored this season, playing for manchester city in the english premiership [the only team in england that rivals the spanish giants in their spending].

since i originally struggled a bit to find photos of him showing off his remarkable assets [it was much easier to find the dimples], here's a video of him taking the ice bucket challenge, after being nominated by fellow argentinian lionel messi:



i think he's cute enough to forgive the sport socks and pool slides. what say you?

welcome aboard
alexis sanchez :: undoubtedly the hottest property [as a player] coming out of the world cup tournament, chilean alexis sanchez nearly started wars over which team would be able to sign him up. in the end, however, it didn't take that long for him to travel to london to join arsenal. [them again!]

he's already been scoring goals for them as he settles in and, yes, i can testify to the fact that he has at least once done the distinctive "hiking up the shorts" thing that proved quite popular with the ladies during the world cup. his smile could make a granite sculpture go weak in the knees.

mad for mario
mario balotelli :: after a number of italian media made him into a scapegoat for italy's early exit from the world cup, mario was pretty open about the fact that he'd had it with playing professionally in his own country. so much so that his club were willing to sell him for a drastically reduced fee, just so they wouldn't be left with a miserably unhappy player for the rest of the year. he dropped some pretty heavy hints that he was keen on a move back to england and particularly that he'd be extremely receptive to an offer from arsenal, going as far as to post a photo of himself and his [unbelievably hot] fiancée standing in front of an arsenal insignia on instagram.

hint hint
sadly, arsenal didn't bite, which may rank alongside licking a light socket to see what happens in terms of decision-making.

in the end, mario got his wish and came back to england, but he'll be playing for liverpool.

at liverpool, he'll be playing alongside croatian national dejan lovren, notable for his defensive abilities, striking good looks and getting caught by paparazzi bathing naked with his teammates at the world cup. [i'm not putting those photos here. since the lads weren't aware that they were being photographed, it constitutes a pretty ugly invasion of privacy, something about which we've been hearing a lot in the last few days.]

and he does look pretty nice with clothes on anyway
ok, that too...
ciro immobile :: the man with the eyes as blue as the azure italian coastline is currently plying his trade at borussia dortmund [alongside mats hummels]. this is his first season outside italy, so i expect all of you to make him feel welcome. given what we're working with here, i don't think that's going to be a problem...

wilkommen, ciro!
didier drogba :: best known for his years under manager jose mourinho at chelsea, at thirty-six, the veteran looks to be winding down his career by signing a new agreement with... manager jose mourinho at chelsea. for a manager who has a reputation as a steely-eyed master tactician, there is something sentimental about him bringing back his longtime favourite. that said, it's not like drogba's gone to seed- look at him. you know who looks that good on the home stretch to forty? him. that's basically it. oh, and although he'd be easy on the eyes anyway, you can feel good about the fact that he's a pretty incredible person as well. his off the pitch projects have included vast amounts of charity work and helping to end a civil war. seriously. that happened.

this is what a living marvel superhero looks like
so, that's the roundup of where you can find all of the man candy we admired together during the world cup [along with a couple of extras]. if you're looking for the biggest cache of candy for your buck, your best option is probably to learn to love arsenal. giroud, debuchy and sanchez are a great start, but it's also worth noting that teammates jack wilshere, lukas podolski and mesut özil made a lot of "hottest at the world cup" lists. on top of that, there's the possibly imminent arrival of iker casillas, as well as cutie-pie welshman aaron ramsey and the potential for giroud and debuchy to make some homophobic sphincters clench by offering an encore performance.

when they win, we all win
your next best bets, going by this list, would be to cheer for either liverpool or borussia dortmund. or you could join me cheering for swansea [although, since dom is an arsenal fan, my loyalties get kind of divided]. however, in the end,  they're all going to be playing each other, so you could also just choose to sit back and enjoy. not for nothing do they call it the beautiful game.

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