Friday, June 09, 2006

Wives and girlfriends making game sexy

Berlin: It's not just the 32 teams at the World Cup who are about to have their shape, style and movement furiously picked over. The same fate awaits the image-conscious, credit-card wielding army of players' wives and girlfriends at the month-long tournament.

Some relish the limelight; others have it thrust upon them. As wife of the England skipper, Victoria Beckham is used to the cameras, Wayne Rooney's fiancee Coleen McLoughlin is growing into her role while Melanie Slade has gone from unknown blonde student to snapper's delight courtesy of being the girlfriend of shock call-up Theo Walcott. Asked how the pressure of being a footballer's girlfriend was affecting her, the 17-year-old Slade said recently: "I just concentrate on my school exams. I just keep my head down and keep doing it."

However, she received advice from beauty queen Danielle Lloyd, the partner of former England player Teddy Sheringham. "It is difficult for all of us. We are all used to this situation, but it is still scary," said Lloyd. It must have been equally frightening for former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham to find that she was voted top of a poll to find the most annoying footballer's wife. She polled 46 per cent of the votes, while McLoughlin, lampooned in the British tabloids for her love of shopping, was second with 18 per cent.

Even England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's partner Nancy Dell'Olio couldn't escape coming in third with 16 per cent. Victoria won't be too concerned. Type her name into the Yahoo search engine and it will feature in 2,520,000 entries. Both Beckham and McLoughlin have seen their partners' off-field activity splashed all over a voracious tabloid media.

Rooney's girlfriend believes she is a victim of jealousy aimed at a couple who grew up together on the mean streets of Liverpool's run-down Croxteth district. "People call me names," she once complained to Marie Claire magazine. "When people see that you have money, you're the worst person in the world."

However, she shrugged off the bricbats to buy a new car for the boy wonder. According to one report, it was a 190mph Aston Martin Vanquish worth 195,000 pounds. "She wanted to do something lovely for Wayne," said a member of the army of 'friends', all anonymous, who are the source of a limitless production line of red-top tittle-tattle.

Brazil's superstar striker Ronaldo can breathe a sigh of relief that his supermodel girlfriend Raica Oliveira has pledged never to pose nude. "I never felt right about it. It's not something that would make me proud," said the 22-year-old at a pre-World Cup fashion show in Munich where she modeled 'football lingerie'.

By contrast, Alena Seredova has done 'glamour' work which will help boyfriend and Italian World Cup goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon take his mind of seeing his name dragged into the Italy football corruption scandal. Meanwhile, Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin has no problem with players' wives.

He says that if his team, making their World Cup debut, reach the semi-finals, he will insist his men spend time with their wives. "Even those who don't want to go, I will drag them there," said the veteran coach. (AFP)


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