With the World Cup underway, the players of the world's most popular sport have captivated audiences with their fancy footwork and incredible skills. Although the United States is a rare exception, soccer players are considered celebrities in their home and club countries. They attend charity events, draw crowds at nightclubs and are stalked by the paparazzi. They also have their pick of women, leading to some of the hottest wives and girlfriends.
It is very easy to forget that many of these men play another important role off the field -- father. When they're not scoring goals, they're living normal lives and spending time with their families. The children of players are often seen cheering on their dads in the stands during matches. No matter what team they're rooting for, they're all as cute as can be.
Even though World Cup players have extremely busy schedules, they take their jobs as fathers very seriously. Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo said, "My family comes first -- my son is the most important thing in my life."
FIFA itself does not make rules about whether or not players' families can attend the World Cup. That is up to discretion of individual countries or the families themselves. According toFIFA Moment, the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) told the Nigerian team manager not to allow players to bring their wives and girlfriends to the World Cup because, according to the committee, the team is "not yet matured for such habits." Ultimately, Coach Stephen Keshi let the players bring wives but not girlfriends.
U.S. Men's National Team goalie Tim Howard's wife Laura cheered on her husband from home for the 2010 World Cup. Laura told the Commercial Appeal that she had stayed behind because of her children. At the time, they were only three and four years old.
"We had our tickets booked, we were all set to go, then we decided they were just too young to go that far," Laura said. "We didn't want him to have to worry about his family."
For others, bringing their children to the World Cup is a question of security. England manager Roy Hodgson encouraged players to bring their wives and families to their June World Cup training camp in Miami, but he gave them the choice to bring them to Brazil.
"It will be up to the players to decide, presumably around the games more than anything else if they want to bring their wives there, Hodgson told ESPN. "There are issues. There are no doubts about that and I think it's important that they understand what issues there are likely to be, in terms of security, in terms of their wives coming."
Whether they're cheering their dads on from the stands in Brazil or their couch at home, the children of World Cup players are surely the most adorable fans in existence.