In our regular Sunday feature, we bring you the names of some of the best-known figures on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
Cuauhtémoc Blanco (37) spent a long spell with CF America in his home nation of Mexico, and more recently turned out for Chicago Fire. The striker, now playing with Veracruz, represented his country at the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cup™ finals in France and Korea/Japan, and finished as leading scorer at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1999.
Peter Beardsley (49) also appeared at two FIFA World Cup tournaments. The England schemer and his team-mates were knocked out by Diego Maradona’s Argentina in 1986. Four years later, Beardsley suffered the agony of a penalty shoot-out defeat to Germany in the semi-finals. The former Newcastle United idol scored one goal in his nine finals appearances.
Like Beardsley, Montenegro-born Predrag Mijatovic (40) is a distinguished former international whose playing days are over. The striker’s most productive spell was in Spain, where he knocked in the goals for the likes of Valencia and Real Madrid. He represented Yugoslavia at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France, scoring once in four games.
Karim Haggui (26) is currently in Angola for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. It is the defender’s fourth tilt at the continental crown, a tournament at which he has one goal to his name in 15 appearances so far. Haggui was a member of the Tunisia squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, where he plays his club football for Hannover.
Simon Rolfes (28) captains the Bayer Leverkusen side and is a Germany squad regular. A defensive midfielder with a remarkably good goalscoring record, Rolfes and his club are enjoying a highly successful season to date, although he himself suffered a long injury lay-off at the end of last year. The player stands a good chance of a regular berth for his country at the 2010 finals in South Africa.
Fabricio Coloccini (28) is one of those players whose hairstyle can fairly be described as a trademark. After starting out in his home country of Argentina, and following stints in Italy and Spain, the defender with the long, bushy mane switched to then Premier League side Newcastle United in 2008. He is expected to be part of the Gauchos squad for next summer’s global showdown.
Bayern Munich attacker Arjen Robben (26) is one of the reasons why the Netherlands rate as serious contenders in South Africa. The versatile wide player switched to Munich from Real Madrid last July and has rapidly confirmed his ability and top-flight status in the German Bundesliga.