Players who are moving up...

The World Cup is a smorgasbord for fans, but it can be just as much a feast for agents and football-club owners, who treat the tournament as a giant showroom for potential talenteven in this era of nascent financial parsimony. While some players disappear into oblivion in the face of international pressure, others rise to the challenge. Here, with the help of football agent Athole Still, who represents England manager Sven-GOran Eriksson, TIME analyzes some of those players who excelled and looks at how they increased their market value.

RIO FERDINAND, 23, ENGLAND
In 2000, Ferdinand was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!