Russian bombshell Irina Shayk, perhaps known as the resident armpiece of soccer sportsman Cristiano Ronaldo (whom she met while working on an Armani Exchange campaign), beat out a bevy of babes — including Jessica Gomes, Jessica White, and latest year’s yellow bikini-clad beauty Brooklyn Decker to take the highly-coveted cover on this year’s issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Shayk hails from Yemanzhelinsk, a Russian village so tiny that it doesn’t show up on most maps. She made her SI swimsuit debut in 2007 and has appeared in every swimsuit edition since then.
“There were 10 models there to do the Top 10 List, and nobody knows until the last minute who the cover will be. And then I saw it, and I couldn’t believe it,” says Shayk.
The sexy cover — immortalized in the form of a billboard over New York City — features a sun-kissed Shayk in a pink and yellow halter-neck bikini.
Shayk’s previous cover work includes GQ Spain, GQ South Africa, and Elle Spain. Her Sports Illustrated cover hit newsstands Tuesday.