Cristiano Ronaldo Warms Up With Model

Cristiano Ronaldo Irina Shayk

Portuguese star gets ready for the World Cup with a Russian beauty. But what about Kim Kardashian?

Cristiano Ronaldo, the highest-paid athlete in the world, might have his flag-emblazoned knickers in a twist over the Vanity Fair cover he shares with Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba, but he also has a new shoulder to cry on: Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue model Irina Shayk. "They've been seeing each other for a while," a friend of Irina's told The New York Post's Page Six.

The Real Madrid star and the model were photographed on his yacht off the coast of Italy not long ago, which we assume has Kim Kardashian stamping her foot with rage, since she was cavorting with Cristiano just last month. Irina, like Cristiano, has done scantily-clad modeling for Armani and, yes, she's quite pretty. We’re sure the conversation between those two is just scintillating.

Cristiano is having kind of a rough week. The Post reported Tuesday just how irate he was about his fancy-underpants magazine cover, and on Monday his Portugal side was held scoreless at home by the Minnows of the Cape Verde Islands, a miniscule country off the west coast of Africa. How To Help A Partner Grieve

And let's not forget that the 25-year-old has the hopes and dreams of his ten million soccer-mad countrymen riding on his shoulders as he and the rest of his squad head into this World Cup's "Group of Death"—Portugal faces Ivory Coast June 15 and the pants-wettingly fearsome Brazilians June 25. So it's nice that he's spending some downtime with the very attractive Ms. Shayk before the madness of South Africa 2010 begins. Remember, Cristiano, women weaken legs!

This World Cup will be rather a less sexy affair than the last one in Germany, we think. England's coach, Fabio Capello, has decreed that his squad's legendary corps of wives and girlfriends will not be allowed near their men before games—four years ago the girls' table-dancing antics were credited as a massive distraction that contributed to England washing out in the quarterfinals. This year the guys should be more focused, especially because the WAGs will be missing their leader, queen distraction Victoria Beckham. Her husband will miss the Cup with a ruptured Achilles tendon. How Will David Beckham's Injury Affect His Family?

But there's lots to look forward to this summer on the hot-and-wearing-shorts front. Aside from Cristiano, we like the other dudes strutting their flags in Vanity Fair, especially Brazil's Kaka, England's Carlton Cole and our own pretty little Landon Donovan. Rowr.

Via The New York Post. Photo via Bauer-Griffin.