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 talent—even 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.

In 2000, Ferdinand was...

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