RONALDINHO: The 26-year-old Brazilian won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in the last two years as well as both the European Footballer of the Year award and the inaugural FIFPro World Player of the Year award last year. He won the World Cup in 2002, and helped club Barcelona win the European Champions League last month. The world's best footballer is expected to showcase his sublime skills in Germany and help his nation to a record sixth World Cup title.RONALDO: The hero of 2002, the Brazilian striker will be looking to be the leading World Cup scorer of all time in Germany, most certainly his last World Cup. He needs three more goals to surpass Gerd Muller's record of 14 goals. Ronaldo, who was a teenager in the Brazilian World Cup winning squad of 1994, had a mysterious nervous breakdown on the eve of the 1998 final against France, which affected his and his team's performance.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE: The Frenchman, who was the inspiration for his country's World Cup win at home in 1998 scoring twice in the final, has announced that this will be his last tournament. Zidane, who will celebrate his 34th birthday during the course of the World Cup, was the world's most complete footballer before the dawn of the Ronaldinho era, and like the Brazilian has won all the big trophies and awards that matter in top-flight club and international football. DAVID BECKHAM: The English captain's face that is described as one that launches a thousand products. Famous for his 'Metrosexual' looks, innovative hairstyles, celebrity lifestyle, marriage to former Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham and spin-off potential, on the field, Beckham is a right-sided midfielder noted for his workaholic spirit and excellence in dead ball situations such as free-kicks. Yet to win a World Cup, though he has won the European Champions League with former club Manchester United.

THIERRY HENRY: The 28-year-old Frenchman is by far the best forward in club football, having finished the top-scorer in the English Premiership for the third successive year and the fourth time in five years. But the Arsenal captain has been criticised for not carrying his awesome club scoring record into top-flight international football. He was below par during the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, but he scored three goals apiece in France's successful World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000 campaigns.

MICHAEL OWEN: The 26-year-old English striker made a dream start to his World Cup career in 1998 in France scoring a goal against Argentina that will be remembered as a World Cup classic. Owen is a big-match player for England; he is the joint all-time top-scorer for England in competitive internationals: the World Cup, the European Nations Cup and the qualifiers for the tournaments (22 goals, the same as football legend Gary Linekar). England's strike-force will be on his shoulders in Germany, especially in the group stage for which "young wonder" Wayne Rooney has been ruled out due to a foot injury.