In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com brings you the names of some of the best-known figures who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
26. Michael Ballack (34), veteran of the German national team, is celebrating his birthday today. Now back in the colours of former club Bayer Leverkusen but currently out injured, the ex-Chelsea and Bayern Munich midfielder and star of the Germany sides that finished second at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ and UEFA EURO 2008 will be wishing for a speedy recovery when he blows out his candles.
27. Dick Advocaat (63), at the helm of the Russian national team since May 2010, boasts vast coaching experience with his last major triumphs the 2008 UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup with Zenit St. Petersburg. The Dutch supremo has also guided sides at two editions of the FIFA World Cup, taking charge of his homeland at USA 1994 and Korea Republic at Germany 2006. With Russia having narrowly failed to qualify for South Africa 2010, Advocaat has been charged with ensuring they reach EURO 2012.
28. Mohammed Shiliya Al-Jahani (36), will be celebrating his birthday on Tuesday, with the former Saudi Arabian international able to look back on appearances at the FIFA World Cup final tournaments of France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002.
29. Per Mertesacker (26) has been an integral member of the German national side for years now, though the Werder Bremen centre-back is currently sidelined due to a serious facial injury. The gritty and dependable defender will be determined to rediscover his best form as soon as possible and aid his club’s push up the Bundesliga standings.
30. Frank Rijkaard (48) was part of a magical and all-conquering Dutch trio at AC Milan alongside fellow Oranje superstars Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten. Since turning his hand to coaching, Rijkaard held the Netherlands’ reins between 1998 and 2000, was Barcelona boss for five years and since 2009 has been in charge of Turkish Super Lig giants Galatasaray.
1. Julio Baptista (29) was a member of the Brazil squad which bowed out at the quarter-final stage of South Africa 2010, though the Roma midfielder made just one appearance for A Seleção at the finals. Prior to joining the Italian capital club in 2008, La Bestia (The Beast) brought his eye for goal and physical presence to bear at Real Madrid, Arsenal and particularly Sevilla.
2. Luke Wilkshire (29) has been plying his trade at Russian top-flight outfit Dinamo Moscow since August 2008, following spells in both Dutch and English football. The Australian international midfielder has appeared at the last two FIFA World Cups with the Socceroos, the highlight coming when he helped the Aussies reach the Round of 16 at Germany 2006.