He’s one of the top defenders in Major League Soccer with his jaw-dropping play… But Carlos Bocanegra isn’t leaving people with la boca abierta for a whole other reason.
The 33-year-old half-Mexican American futbolista, a star player for Glasgow’s Rangers Football Club in the Scottish Premier League, is one of 27 world-class athletes featured au naturel in ESPN‘s fourth annual “The Body Issue,” which aims to admire the vast potential of the human form and appreciate “the bodies we want.”
The athletes are all stars in a wide-ranging number of sports, from tennis to track, from gymnastics to sailing, from horse racing to fencing, from surfing to decathlons, from football to hockey.
Bocanegra, a member of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, says of his fine physique:
“Soccer players run a lot, so we don’t keep a lot of body fat,” says the California native. “We hear from members of the opposite sex that they enjoy our legs.”
But Bocanegra isn’t the only Hispanic athlete featured in the issue…
Maria Gabeira is another all-star athlete who embraced the nudity concept. The 25-year-old Brazilian big wave surfer, an ESPY Award winner for Best Female Action Sports Athlete in 2009, isn’t afraid of her own strength.
“Most women are afraid of being too strong,” says the five-time Billabong XXl Award winner. “When you surf, your muscles get bigger, especially your shoulders. But this sport is so great because it’s so aerobic that it doesn’t make you bulky.”
Danell Leyva, the 20-year-old Cuban-American gymnast, who will be competing at the Summer Olympics in London as part of the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team, proves he’s not only an all-around gymnast, but a flexible one too.
“As a male gymnast, you lose a lot of flexibility as you build muscle,” but I’m OK,” says Leyva. “I can still do the splits.”
José A. Bautista may not be able to do splits, but the 31-year-old Dominican baseball star and right fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays can hit homers.
“It’s pretty funny that people think I’m supposed to have big arms just because I hit home runs,” says Bautista.
The issue also includes members of the USA Women’s Volleyball Team, including 25-year-old Latina standout Cynthia Barboza.
ESPN’s oh-so-revealing “Body” issue is due out on July 13.
Click here for a look at the gallery of photos from the issue.