Nicolas Anelka Country: France. Position: Striker/Winger. Club Team: Chelsea. Age: 31. Bio: Anelka made his first major national team appearance at Euro 2000, which France won. He was also part of the French squad that won the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Despite a promising start to his career, Anelka lost his place in the national team from 2001–2007. Since his time with Chelsea beginning in 2008, however, he has cemented his place in France's starting lineup with his solid play. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP)
Gianluigi Buffon Country: Italy. Position: Goalkeeper. Club Team: Juventus. Age: 32. Bio: During the 2006 World Cup, Buffon was simply stellar. He recorded five shutouts and gave up only two goals in the entire tournament. He also ran a 453-minute scoreless streak. It is thanks in large part to Buffon's outstanding play that Italy are the defending World Cup champions. (PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP)
Tim Cahill Country: Australia. Position: Midfielder. Club Team: Everton. Age: 30. Bio: Cahill made his debut on Australia's national team in 2004, a year in which he was named Oceania Footballer of the Year. He was once dubbed "the super-sub" after scoring two goals off the bench against Japan in the 2006 World Cup, and after saving Australia from an embarrassing defeat against Oman at the 2007 Asian Cup with a stoppage-time goal. In 2008, former Australian coach Rale Rasic described Cahill as the best Australian footballer he had seen in his lifetime. (GREG WOOD/AFP)
Fabio Cannavaro Country: Italy. Position: Centre back. Club Team: Al-Ahli Dubai. Age: 36. Bio: Cannavaro has helped defend the Italian goal in every World Cup since 1998. Although he is often credited for stepping up his game on the international stage, Cannavaro and Italy continually had moderate success. That is, however, until the 2006, when he captained Italy to World Cup glory. (JOCHEN LUEBKE/AFP)
Iker Casillas Country: Spain. Position: Goalkeeper. Club Team: Real Madrid. Age: 29. Bio: Casillas is blazing a trail for himself to become one of Spain's best soccer players of all time. Since his debut at the senior international level two weeks after turning 19, he has played the second-most international games for a goalkeeper in Spanish history. He's already broken national records after racking up the most shutouts ever and at one time going 710 minutes without giving up a goal. He was also a key component in Spain's Euro 2008 championship, shutting out the competition in each playoff round. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP)
Landon Donovan Country: USA. Position: Attacking Midfielder/Striker/Winger. Club Team: Los Angeles Galaxy. Age: 28. Bio: Donovan has been a shining star for Team USA on the world stage since joining the senior national team in 2000. Already, he has become the country's all-time leading player in goals and assists. Donovan captained USA to their most recent international success, the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP)
Samuel Eto'o Country: Cameroon. Position: Striker. Club Team: Internazionale. Age: 29. Bio: Despite his reputation as a hot-head, Eto'o boasts an impressive international resume. He was the youngest competitor in the 1998 World Cup at the age of 17, and won Olympic gold with Cameroon at the 2000 Summer Olympics. In 2008, he became the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament. (GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP)
Diego Forlan Country: Uruguay. Position: Striker. Club Team: Atletico Madrid. Age: 31. Bio: Forlan debuted for the Uruguayan national team in 2002 and participated in that year's World Cup. He's been a regular on the squad since 2007. Forlan is also two-time winners of both the Pichichi Trophy and European Golden Shoe. (PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP)
Alexander Frei Country: Switzerland. Position: Striker. Club Team: Basel. Age: 30. Bio: Switzerland's top striker, Frei is currently the country's all-time leading scorer with 40 goals in 73 international matches. He represented the Swiss at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP)
Steven Gerrard Country: England. Position: Midfielder. Club Team: Liverpool. Age: 30. Bio: Gerrard made his international debut for England in 2000 and also participated in Euro 2000. He earned a spot on the national squad for the 2002 World Cup, but had to pull out due to injury. He was finally able to represent England at the World Cup in 2006, where he was the team's top scorer. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP)
Thierry Henry Country: France. Position: Striker/Winger. Club Team: Barcelona. Age: 32. Bio: Henry has had a vastly successful career at the international level. Coming into the 1998 World Cup as a relative unknown, Henry ended up leading France in scoring as they went on to win the tournament. He repeated the feat at Euro 2000, which France also won. Henry has maintained such stellar play throughout his career, and is currently France's all-time leading scorer. (FRANCK FIFE/AFP)
Kaka Country: Brazil. Position: Attacking Midfielder. Club Team: Real Madrid. Age: 28 Bio: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (AKA Kaka) was part of the Brazil squad that won the 2002 World Cup, although he only played 25 minutes in the tournament. He recently, and briefly, became the most expensive player in the world when he signed with Real Madrid for $95 million in 2009. That record was broken weeks later, however, when the club signed Cristiano Ronaldo for $132 million. (GLYN KIRK/AFP)
Miroslav Klose Country: Germany. Position: Striker. Club Team: Bayern Munich. Age: 31. Bio: Klose was born in Poland, and is German and Polish by birth, but has chosen to play internationally for Germany. He's well known for his knack of scoring headers and his front-flip goal celebration. One odd fact about Klose: Germany has never lost a game in which he has scored. (NIGEL TREBLIN/AFP)
Rafael Marquez Country: Mexico. Position: Centre back. Club Team: Barcelona. Age: 31. Bio: Although not selected to Mexico's 1998 World Cup team, Marquez did help his country win the Confederation Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup in 1999. Since then, he has been an integral part of the Mexican squad, and was named team captain prior to the 2002 World Cup at the age of 23. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP)
Lionel Messi Country: Argentina. Position: Striker/Winger. Club Team: Barcelona. Age: 22. Bio: Messi is one of the game's fastest rising young stars. In 2006, he became the youngest player to ever represent Argentina at a World Cup when he was 18. At that same tournament, he became the sixth youngest player to ever score a World Cup goal. Messi's most recent international success came when Argentina won gold at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP)
Park Ji-Sung Country: South Korea. Position: Winger/Attacking Midfielder. Club Team: Manchester United. Age: 29. Bio: Park, South Korea's captain, is well-known for scoring one of the most memorable goals in his country's history. During the 2002 World Cup, his team needed at least a draw against heavily-favoured Portugal in order to advance. The game was tied 0-0 until Park scored in the 70th minute, a goal that eventually propelled South Korea into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time ever. The team went on to take fourth place. (GLYN KIRK/AFP)
Lukas Podolski Country: Germany. Position: Forward/Winger. Club Team: Koln. Age: 24. Bio: Like fellow countryman Miroslav Klose, Podolski was born in Poland but eligible to play for either his country of birth or Germany. Lack of interest from the Polish team drove him towards the German squad, where he has since become one of the team's most proficient scorers. (OLIVER LANG/AFP)
Franck Ribery Country: France. Position: Winger. Club Team: Bayern Munich. Age: 27. Bio: Prior to making the senior national team, Ribery was a stalwart presence on France's under-21 squad. In 2006, he helped the big boys reach the World Cup final, which they lost to Italy. He's known as one of the best French players of his generation. Even legend Zinedine Zidane called Ribery the "jewel of French football." (LEON NEAL/AFP)
Cristiano Ronaldo Country: Portugal. Position: Winger/Forward.
Club Team: Real Madrid. Age: 25.
Ronaldo was crowned both FIFA World Player of the Year and European Player of the Year in 2008. He is known for his dazzling dribbles and flawless technique. Portuguese fans expect him to step up his game, however, after scoring only one goal in the 2006 World Cup. (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP)
Wayne Rooney Country: England. Position: Striker.
Club Team: Manchester United. Age: 24.
Rooney became the youngest English player to compete at the senior international level in 2003 at the age of 17. It's also the same age he became the youngest player to ever score for England (at the time). When Rooney made his Manchester United debut in 2004, the BBC called him a "teenage prodigy" for his simply breathtaking display of attack. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP)
Bastian Schweinsteiger Country: Germany. Position: Winger/Midfielder. Club Team: Bayern Munich. Age: 25. Bio: Schweinsteiger shot into prominence during the third place match at the 2006 World Cup with his dominant play and pair of long-range goals against Portugal. Since then, he has continued to produce at the international level. Just like fellow countryman Miroslav Klose, Germany has never lost a game in which Schweinsteiger has scored. (OLIVER LANG/AFP)
Fernando Torres Country: Spain. Position: Striker. Club Team: Liverpool. Age: 26. Bio: Torres has taken Spanish soccer by storm at every level of international play. In 2006, he led Spain in scoring at the World Cup, and in 2008 helped lead his team to victory at the Euro competition. The future seems very bright for this Spanish star. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP)
Robin van Persie Country: Netherlands. Position: Striker. Club Team: Arsenal. Age: 26. Bio: Robin van Persie has quickly risen through the ranks to become a star for the Netherlands. He earned a spot on the 2006 World Cup team before even becoming a starter for his club team, Liverpool. At Euro 2008, he led the Netherlands in scoring. He is expected to be a key part of the team's 2010 World Cup campaign. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP)
David Villa Country: Spain. Position: Striker. Club Team: Barcelona. Age: 28. Bio: David Villa flew under the radar in Spain until 2006 when he was named to the country's World Cup squad. He ended up tying teammate Fernando Torres for the team's scoring lead in the tournament. Afterwards, his status on the international stage kept on rising. In 2008, he was pivotal in Spain's Euro championship, leading the competition in goals despite being injured in the semi-final game. (MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP)
Xavi Country: Spain. Position: Midfielder. Club Team: Barcelona. Age: 30. Bio: Xavier Hernandez (AKA Xavi) is considered one of the finest playmakers in the world. He made his senior international debut in 2000, and has been a regular on Spain's team since. Xavi's selection to the Spanish 2006 World Cup team came under much scrutiny, because he had barely recovered from an injury just prior to the start of the tournament. His importance to the team, however, was echoed by Spain's coach with these powerful words: "People say it is a gamble to take Xavi with us, but I say it would be a crazy gamble to leave him at home." (JOE KLAMAR/AFP)