In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents some of the biggest names from planet football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
15. Frank and Ronald De Boer (41) remain without doubt the most famous twins on Planet Football, having both carved out hugely impressive careers. They have experienced most of their triumphs together too, with both starting out by helping return Ajax to the forefront of the Dutch and European game. With Frank earning plaudits in defence and Ronald ploughing a furrow further forward, the siblings were integral to the young generation of talent which stunned AC Milan in the 1995 UEFA Champions League final. After that, the two brothers headed for Barcelona, where Frank was particularly instrumental in the Catalan side’s 1998/99 La Liga triumph, and they both took in a spell with Glasgow giants Rangers before packing their bags for Al Rayyan in the Middle East. Frank called time on his playing days at the Qatari outfit, but Ronald continued the adventure with Al-Shamal, while his brother’s thoughts turned to coaching. The youth teams at Ajax provided Frank with his platform and he travelled to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ as assistant coach for the Netherlands, an experience he has drawn upon since taking the first-team reins at Ajax in December last year. At international level, the pair both participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, losing out to Brazil in the semi-finals of the latter tournament, while Frank took in four UEFA European Championships to his brother’s two.
16. Ricardo Costa (30) has known success throughout his career, most notably playing his part as Porto experienced triumph in the UEFA Cup, Champions League and Intercontinental Cup. After taking his skills to Germany, the defender helped steer Wolfsburg to their maiden Bundesliga title in 2008/09, and he is now plying his trade with Valencia, hoping to reacquaint the Spanish side with their former glory. For Portugal, meanwhile, Costa has contested two FIFA World Cups, appearing at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.
17. Damiano Tommasi (37) is considered a club legend at Roma, where he spent ten years and won the Scudetto in 2000/01 as the capital outfit ended their 20-year wait, adding the Italian Super Cup the same year for good measure. Orchestrator of I Giallorossi’s play from his defensive midfield position, Tommassi became an indispensable member of the side and earned himself a seat on the plane to the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, which Italy exited in the last 16. After a decade with Roma, he signed for Levante in Spain, later joining English team Queens Park Rangers and Tianjin Teda in China PR, before modest side Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo beckoned back on home soil.
18. Ricardo Carvalho (33) has long since proved that he is one of the finest defenders in Europe. Winner of several Portuguese and European titles with Porto, he made the trip to Chelsea along with his coach Jose Mourinho in 2004 and quickly settled into a similar rhythm of success. Mourinho enticed him to Real Madrid in 2010 and this season he lifted the Copa del Rey, bringing the trophy back to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time in 18 years. Carvalho has also represented Portugal at a pair of FIFA World Cups, in 2006 and 2010, and disputed two European Championships.
19. Diego Forlan (32) can be proud of his achievements thus far, not least his adidas Golden Ball as the best player at South Africa 2010. The striker enjoyed an excellent tournament as Uruguay made their way through to the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years. In the club realm, he began his career with Independiente in Argentina before Europe came calling in the shape of Manchester United. Forlan won the Premier League and FA Cup during a mostly underwhelming spell, but it was at Villarreal in Spain that he truly displayed his gifts in front of goal, finishing top scorer in La Liga as well as picking up the European Golden Shoe. His accuracy did not desert him after he joined Atletico Madrid either, and with Los Rojiblancos he has tasted triumph in the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey.
20. Iker Casillas (30) is unquestionably one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game, having set numerous records and won a long list of trophies in a career which is still going strong. Casillas forced his way into the Real Madrid first team as a teenager in 1998/99 and, just a year later, was celebrating his part in the 2000 Champions League showpiece win against Valencia. Overall with Los Merengues, he has won four Liga crowns plus one Copa del Rey, three Spanish Super Cups, two Champions League titles, a UEFA Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. He is beginning to become accustomed to silverware with Spain too, following up the EURO 2008 title – the country’s first trophy in 44 years – with the grandest prize of them all, the FIFA World Cup, last summer. Casillas’s superb showings on South African soil also earned him the adidas Golden Glove as best keeper, and he can surely look forward to plenty more highs in the years to come.
21. Mario Mandzukic (25) is hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of the most venerated names in Croatian football. The young forward first rose to prominence after being snapped up by Dinamo Zagreb in 2007, and he helped the perennial contenders win three league titles and two Croatian Cups before making the switch to Wolfsburg in 2010, where he notched eight goals this season.