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.
David Beckham (35) will not feature at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ due to injury, but the England midfielder still rates as one of the best players ever to have emerged from the motherland of the game. South Africa would have been Beckham’s fourth run-out at the FIFA World Cup finals, after previous appearances in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
Bernd Foerster (54) was a member of the European Championship-winning Germany team in 1980, and was also in the squad for the FIFA World Cup two years later. The Germans made it to the Final, but fell 3-1 to Italy. At club level, the defender put in stints with Bayern Munich and Stuttgart.
Cesc Fabregas (23) is still young in footballing terms, but the talented Spaniard has plied his trade on the big stage for many years now. The Arsenal midfielder is a carefully-nurtured product of the Barcelona youth system, but has matured to superstar status in the English Premier League. After a first taste of the FIFA World Cup finals in 2006, the schemer is currently injured, but is confident of recovering fitness in time for South Africa.
Yossi Benayoun (30) is arguably the best Israeli player of all time. The Liverpool midfielder switched to the Premier League in 2005, initially for West Ham United, before moving to the Reds two years later. Yet to feature at a major tournament in national colours, that is something he will hope to remedy before hanging up his boots.
Dani Alves (27) rates as one of the world’s best right-backs. The Brazilian joined Barcelona in 2008, collecting six winners’ medals at club level last season, including the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. The player has been in Europe for seven seasons now, having started in the Spanish top flight with Sevilla.
Harry Williams (59) is not especially well known outside his home country, but he featured on the global stage in Australia’s number 15 shirt at the 1974 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The former player, who spent five seasons with now defunct Australian outfit Inter Monaro SC, made one FIFA World Cup appearance.
Franco Baresi (50) was a one-club man, spending his entire professional career with AC Milan from 1977 to 1997. The former world-class defender, one of the greatest liberos the game has ever seen, represented Italy at three FIFA World Cup finals (1982, 1990, 1994) and was named Italian Player of the Year in 1990.