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.
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“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.