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Famous Soccer Players

  1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona and Argentina
    Ronaldo was a worthy winner this time around, but even Real Madrid-biased newspaper AS admitted that if the votes were to be cast again, Messi would be the victor. He was rated him as the second-most marketable athlete in the world. His playing style and stature have drawn comparisons to compatriot Diego Maradona, who himself declared Messi his "successor".

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United and Portugal
    The United superstar will always have his fair share of critics who claim he dives too much and goes missing in big games. However, he is still on course to go down as an all-time great as the cornerstone of the world's best club team.

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Inter Milan and Sweden
    Finally, Ibrahimovic's performances on the field are starting to match his massive ego. He is not exactly a likeable character but do you think Jose Mourinho cares just now?


  1. Kaka, AC Milan and Brazil
    It was an ordinary year by Kaka's own ludicrously high standards, yet there is no doubting his pure class. Milan's likely return to the Champions League will give him extra chances to shine later in the year.

  1. Sergio Aguero, Atletico Madrid and Argentina
    Atletico is determined to hang on to its most prized asset, but the vultures are circling already. Don't be surprised to see Aguero at one of Europe's elite clubs by the end of the year and further boosting his rapidly rising stock.

  1. Fernando Torres, Liverpool and Spain
    Torres is a goal machine and few players have adapted so quickly and effortlessly to the English Premier League. His hopes of winning the award may rest with Liverpool's title dream and progress in the Champions League.

  1. Xavi, Barcelona and Spain
    If you want to build an outstanding midfield, what better place to start? Unfortunately for potential suitors, Xavi is signed up with Barca until 2014 and looks set to spend his whole career at the same club. His style may be unspectacular, but he is ruthlessly effective and provides the backbone for both club and country.

  1. Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich and France
    Ribery suffers in many ways. In France, the tag of the new Zidane" was a heavy burden to carry. So too were the unrealistic expectations that he could lift an aging French team to Euro 2008 glory. His efforts for Bayern in the highly technical German Bundesliga garner less attention than if he was playing in England, Spain or Italy.

  1. Marek Hamsik, Napoli and Slovakia
    Hamsik is an all-action midfielder who is blossoming into one of the real stars of Serie A. Napoli is on the comeback trail after bankruptcy and seven years out of the top flight, and its side relies on the 21-year-old as its heartbeat. His profile is growing – and quickly.

Pele, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Pelé is the first soccer player to truly reach superstar status. His name is still mentioned even today, more than a quarter century after his retirement.

Apart from his popularity, Pelé's life story is what all soccer players dream of. He began as a poor boy from the slums in Tres Coracoes, Brazil but earned fame and fortune through his talent on the pitch.

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Diego Armando Maradona, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Diego Armando Maradona has enthralled both fans and critics during the long span of his career. He debuted in professional football during 1975 and played his farewell match in November of 2001.

Throughout a quarter of a century, Diego has influenced a multitude of people including some of the top soccer players today. Parallel to his brilliant skill, Maradona has stirred global controversy of unmatched magnitude. Regardless of his addiction to cocaine, failed doping tests and his wile on-pitch actions, Maradona is still regarded as the most skillful soccer player of all time.

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Zinedine Zidane, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Zinedine Zidane was born on the 23rd of June in 1972. Including Zizou, his Algerian parents had five children in total. School was not his specialty, so he turned to football.

By the age of 16, a scout by the name of Jean Varraud recruited him to Cannes. One year later, Zidane made his debut in the French First Division. The midfielder was later signed by Bordeaux where he started winning important matches.

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Ronaldo, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Ronaldo was born in the poor suburbs of the football Mecca Rio de Janeiro. Driven by his childhood hero Zico, Ronaldo enters soccer at a young age. By his 12th birthday he is playing in an organized youth club called Tennis Club Valqueire.

With them, he played "futebol de salão" or small-sided football with a miniature ball. This is considered an important step in Ronaldo's development because playing with a smaller ball has been proven to rapidly increase foot skills.

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Hristo Stoichkov, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Hristo Stoichkov is the most successful Bulgarian soccer player of all time. He debuted in professional football with CSKA Sofia and was later spotted by European giant FC Barcelona.

Stoichkov earned global acclaim after winning the Spanish Primera Division four consecutive times and taking his club to Champions League glory in 1992. He retired from soccer in December of 2003.

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Trifon Ivanov, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Trifon Ivanov was born in Gorna Lipnitza, located in the northeast Bulgarian district of Veliko Turnovo. He began his professional career with the local club Etar at the age of 18.

In the very same team, he played alongside with Krasimir Balakov, Ilian Kiriakov and a few other talented soccer players. By his 24th birthday, Trifon gets drafted by elite Bulgarian club, CSKA Sofia. With CSKA, Ivanov wins the Bulgarian championship in 1989, 1990, and 1992. He also takes the Bulgarian Cup for 1989. Trifon earned even more attention with CSKA by playing in international soccer competition next to soccer players like Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov, and Luboslav Penev.

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David Beckham, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

David Beckham signed with the youth squad of Manchester United in July of 1991, at the tender age of sixteen.

It took him about five years of playing with the youth squad, reserves and on loan (with Preston North End) until he got permanently established in the first Man U team.
By the 1997/8 season, he attracted enough attention to get selected for England's World Cup team.

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Pavel Nedved, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Pavel Nedved was born in the town of Cheb, near Prague, the capital of former Czechoslovakia. Parents Vaclav and Ana raised Pavel along with his older sister and encouraged him to become an accountant.

By the age of 19, Nedved debuted with Dukla Praga and less than a season later he was recruited by rivals Sparta. At Sparta, success also came promptly and the club took three consecutive league titles between 1992 to 1995.

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Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Raul Gonzalez Blanco was born on June 27th 1977 in Madrid, Spain. He was brought up in a modest quarter of the city, the colony of San Cristobal de los Angeles.

Raul is a product of Atletico Madrid's youth system but was picked up by rivals Real during a financial slump at his former club. Real's coach Jorge Valdano introduced him to the starting lineup at 17, and the youngster did not disappoint scoring six goals in his first 11 games.

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Luis Felipe Madeira, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006

Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo was born on the 4th of November, 1972 as the only son of parents Antonio and Maria Joana. He grew up in a modest family in Almada, the working-class district of Lisbon.

Luis began his career as a street footballer at Os Pastilhas, before joining Sporting Lisbon at the age of 11. As a youngster, Figo won the U-16 European Championship and the 1991 World Youth Cup.

Luis Felipe Madeira, Famous Soccer Players at Bet World Cup Soccer 2006