In our regular Sunday feature, we bring you some of the best-known figures on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
Dominic Adiyiah (20) emerged as the star of the recent FIFA U-20 World Cup, ending the thrilling tournament with the trophy in his hands. The striker contributed a hugely impressive eight goals in seven games as Ghana marched to the title. Adiyiah also converted from the spot in the dramatic penalty shoot-out that settled the final against Brazil.
Abel Xavier (37) appeared at FIFA World Cup finals tournaments on three occasions. After featuring for Portugal at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1989, he graduated to the FIFA U-20 World Cup two years later and came away with a silver medal. Da Silva Costa Xavier Abel Luis, to give him his full name, then made his sole FIFA World Cup™ appearance as a full international at the 2002 finals in Korea/Japan.
Javier Aguirre (51) has just coached Mexico to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. The former Atletico Madrid coach, who had a previous stint in charge of his country back in 2001-2002, is now plotting the best course for his team to take when they enter the global fray next summer.
Last summer Danijel Pranjic (28) switched from the Netherlands to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, but the left-sided player has struggled to hold down a regular berth since arriving in Bavaria. Making matters worse, the Croatia international and his team-mates came up short in their bid for a place at South Africa 2010. Despite it all, the midfielder will assuredly find time to celebrate the passing of another year on Wednesday.
Injury forced Greece hitman Ioannis Amanatidis (28) to watch from the sidelines as his fellow countrymen overcame Ukraine in the FIFA World Cup play-offs to seal a berth at next year’s finals. However, the Eintracht Frankfurt striker is a battler and will be determined to feature when the nations gather in South Africa in June.
Belgian goalkeeping legend Jean-Marie Pfaff will be 56 on Friday. The former Bayern goalkeeper was between the posts for his country at two FIFA World Cup finals, including the Red Devils’ fourth-place finish at Mexico 1986. He finally hung up his gloves in 1991 after a stint with Turkish side Trabzonspor.
Marcelo Zalayeta (31) starred for Uruguay in two FIFA World Cup qualifying competitions, subsequently retiring from national-team duty after the Celeste missed out on the 2006 finals. The striker currently goes for goal in Serie A with Bologna, after signing on loan from Napoli.