The wives and girlfriends of the world’s best soccer players are celebrities in their own right: gossip columnists follow them; they inspire think pieces; they get credit for their beaus’ wins and blamed for their losses; they have millions of followers on Instagram. Successful couples can even earn godlike status: Just look at David and Victoria Beckham.
The term “WAG” may imply that these women are just arm candy, but many have cultivated careers of their own, either before or after achieving true WAG status. Some WAGs are journalists, others supermodels. Many are moms, and of course some are just one girlfriend in a long line of infamous flings.
Here are the 2014 World Cup WAGs you should follow as you tune in to the world’s most-watched sporting event.
Shakira (Gerard Pique)
Shakira needs no introduction. The international pop sensation has provided the music (officially and unofficially) for two World Cups and is even more famous than her soccer-playing boyfriend, Spanish defender Gerard Pique. Ten years Pique’s senior, Shakira did not confirm her relationship with him until March 2011. She and Pique welcomed a son together in January 2013. She told Ocean Drive Magazine of their relationship, “Gerard doesn’t tell me what to do. We discuss everything as a couple, as I imagine most partners do. We have a beautiful relationship and one of mutual trust.”
Irina Shayk (Cristiano Ronaldo)
Talk about a power couple: Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the world’s best soccer player and Shayk is a highly sought-after international model. The Russian model has appeared in the last eight issues of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Shayk and Portugal forward Ronaldo recently posed on the cover of Vogue Spain. In an interesting reversal of naked magazine covers, Shayk stayed covered up while Ronaldo went completely nude.
Coleen Rooney (Wayne Rooney)
Coleen and Wayne Rooney (a.k.a. Wayleen) met each other at age 12 in a Liverpool suburb. The two began dating at 16 and married in 2008. Rooney writes a weekly column for OK! magazine. The forward for England and his wife have two children together.
Fanny Neguesha (Mario Balotelli)
Italian forward Mario Balotelli popped the question to girlfriend Fanny Neguesha in Brazil just days before Italy’s opening match against England. Balotelli wrote on Instagram, “She said yes.. The most important yes in my life. That was the place of my question! I Love you and happy birthday too! Je t’aime my WIFE.”
Sara Carbonero (Iker Casillas)
Carbonero made her name as a Spanish sports journalist and TV presenter before meeting now-boyfriend Iker Casillas. In 2010, when Switzerland upset World Cup favorite Spain, many fans blamed Carbonero for distracting her goalie boyfriend by filming a reporting segment before the game. “Can I destabilize the team?I think it is nonsense,” she told her own TV station, Telecino. Off the field, the couple welcomed a baby in January 2014.
Melissa Satta (Kevin-Prince Boateng)
The fiancée of Ghanaian forward Kevin-Prince Boateng has a history of going out with soccer players: She used to date now-retired Italian center forward Christian Vieri. The Italian model has appeared in Maxim and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and has more than a million followers on Twitter.
Pilar Rubio (Sergio Ramos)
Spanish reporter and TV presenter Pilar Rubio, who studied economics in school, confirmed her relationship with Spanish defender Sergio Ramos in 2012. She’s almost a decade older than the soccer player. The two had a child in May, just before the World Cup. She tweeted the birth announcement, saying that the couple was naming the baby Sergio Ramos Rubio — after his father— to her 4.3 million Twitter followers.