Footballers often make headlines for their exploits off the field as well as on the field, but despite their celebrity are often outshone by their more talented and more famous wives and girlfriends.
Although the players may be famous, many of their partners are even more well known than their husbands. There are also many power couples such as David and Victoria Beckham, who both have similar net worths thanks to their huge business empires.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is a World Cup winner with Germany, but his wife Ana Ivanovic is a former French Open winner and world number one in tennis.
In 2006, the term Wives and Girlfriends or WAGs for short really came to prominence during the build-up to the World Cup. The partners of the England football team received as much press as the players themselves, with Ashley Cole’s wife Cheryl Cole, Victoria Beckham and Coleen Rooney regularly on the front pages of the tabloids.
Goal investigates who are the world’s most famous WAGs and what are their occupations.
Premier League WAGs
Alexis Sanchez is the best paid player in the Premier League following his transfer from Arsenal to Manchester United, and is currently dating Chilean actress Mayte Rodriguez. She is a popular television star in their native land, having starred in some of the country’s biggest programmes.
Many of United’s biggest stars have equally famous partners. David de Gea’s girlfriend Edurne Garcia is a well-known television presenter in Spain as well as a singer and even represented her home country at the Eurovision in 2015.
Chris Smalling’s wife is former Page 3 model Sam Cooke, who now works as a DJ. Jesse Lingard met American model Jena Frumes in 2016 and the pair started dating the following year. She was previously in a relationship with NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Fellow United defender Victor Lindelof is in a relationship with Maja Nilsson, is is a marketer and blogger from Sweden. She proved hugely popular with fans of Lindelof’s former club Benfica, regularly interacting with them on social media.
Stoke City forward Peter Crouch was linked with Chelsea during the transfer window, but the Blues decided to sign Olivier Giroud instead. The self-proclaimed best-looking target man in the top-flight is married to model Abbey Clancy, and have two daughters and a son. Clancy currently presents Britain’s Next Top Model and was crowned the winner of Strictly Come Dancing in 2013.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s girlfriend is part of one of England’s biggest pop groups, making her career breakthrough in 2011 on the X-Factor as part of girl group Little Mix. Perrie Edwards auditioned for the show as a solo artist but was combined with three other singers during the competition. They are the most successful female pop group in the UK since the Spice Girls.
Coleen Rooney is probably the best-known wife of any Premier League star in the UK, having married Everton’s Wayne Rooney in 2008. The pair were childhood sweethearts, with Wayne going on to become Manchester United’s record goalscorer and Coleen working in the media and as a brand ambassador.
La Liga WAGs
Cristiano Ronaldo was linked with a host of different women before settling down with Georgina Rodriguez. Their relationship became public when she attended FIFA’s The Best Awards in early 2016 with the Portugal international. Rodriguez worked in retail and modelling, but put her career on hold to become a mother in 2017.
Ronaldo’s long-time rival Lionel Messi is also a family man and has known Antonella Roccuzzo since they were both children. The couple had sons in 2012 and 2015, but Antonella and her family prefer to stay out of the limelight and make limited public appearances.
Real Madrid midfielder Isco is Spanish actress Sara Salamo, who started off as a TV star before moving into movies. In 2016, she even had a minor role in international film Wild Oats, starring Hollywood legends Shirley Maclaine and Jessica Lange.
Isco and Ronaldo’s team-mate Sergio Ramos is the husband of TV presenter and reporter Pilar Rubio. She started out as an actress and model before moving on to become a reporter and has won awards for her work on camera.
The most famous of all the La Liga WAGs is Gerard Pique’s wife Shakira. The Barcelona star may have a net worth of $40 million, but that is eclipsed by Shakira’s $200m valuation. The Colombian singer-songwriter has won three Grammys and 12 Latin Grammys and is one of the best selling artists of all time worldwide. Forbes also listed her as one of the most powerful women in the world.
The world’s most expensive player Neymar has a hugely successful partner, re-uniting with actress Bruna Marquezine for the fourth time in 2017. She is an award-winning actress in their native Brazil, starring in some of the country’s most popular television shows.
World Cup winner Mario Gotze is often photographed with wife Ann-Kathrin Brommel, who rose to fame on Germany’s Next Top Model, becoming one of the country’s most well-known models and even provided voice acting skills in the German version of the fifth Ice Age film.
Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng married television presenter Melissa Satta in 2016. She has appeared on many television shows in Italy, and even presented a sports show with current Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez.
Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is married to tennis star Ana Ivanovic, while former U.S. international Landon Donovan is married to Hannah Bartell, having previously been the husband of Rules of Engagement actress Bianca Kajlich. Bartell is part of the Bartell Hotels family, who own seven boutique holiday resorts in San Diego.
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