In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names from Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
11. Dejan Stankovic (33) began his career in impressive fashion with home side Red Star Belgrade, winning a league title and three Yugoslav Cups, before a move to Italian giants Lazio brought him to the attention of the world, coinciding as it did with a rich run of form for the Rome side. During his time there, the Serbian midfielder was a first-team regular, winning a Scudetto, an Italian Cup and two Italian Super Cups in addition to a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. Yet that impressive trophy haul is small compared to the honours he has won with current club Inter Milan, who he joined in 2004.
To date, Stankovic has bagged five Serie A championships, four Italian Cups and four Italian Super Cups with I Nerazzurri, not to mention the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2010, the season Stankovic was named Serbian Player of the Year. His international career has included three FIFA World Cup™ finals appearances, the first in France 1998 with the Yugoslavia team, the second in Germany 2006 with Serbia and Montenegro and the third in South Africa 2010, where he captained Serbia.
12. Roda Antar (31) has long been the face of Lebanese football abroad. Early success with Tadamon Sour brought the attacking midfielder’s undoubted talents to the attention of scouts from the Bundesliga and a move to Germany soon followed, where he played for Hamburg and Freiburg before settling down at Cologne for six years. A transfer ensued to Chinese giants Shandong Luneng, where he currently plies his trade. His first major tournament for his country was the Lebanon-hosted AFC Asian Cup 2000, and the veteran is still going strong, guiding his national side as they attempt to reach the final round of qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.
13. Fabio Cannavaro (38) has enjoyed a long and glittering career for club and country, but may remember 2006 as the best season of them all. He captained Italy to their fourth FIFA World Cup in Germany that year, winning the Silver Ball in the process, before scooping the Balon D’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. The gifted centre-back represented his country in a total of four FIFA World Cups, starting with France 1998, then Korea/Japan 2002 and the glory of Germany 2006, before ending with disappointment at South Africa 2010 when Gli Azzurri went out in the first round. He also played in two UEFA European Championships, losing to France in the final of EURO 2000.
As for his club career, suffice to say all he touched turned to gold. Cannavaro began at Napoli, his early performances moving legend Diego Maradona to predict a glorious future for the young man, and at Parma he set about fulfilling that prophecy, winning an Italian Cup, an Italian Super Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. A rare unproductive spell at Inter Milan was followed by a move to Juventus where he won successive Scudettos. Spain was his next port of call, the rock-solid defender journeying to Real Madrid and collecting two La Liga titles and a Spanish Super Cup, before making his way back to Italy for another season with Juventus. He eventually decided to bring the curtain down on his career at United Arab Emirates outfit Al Ahli, and announced his retirement there after a single season. He is staying on with the club as a technical consultant.
14. Ivica Olic (32) is known and feared for his lethal capabilities in the box, which have served him well for club and country. The Croatian striker has featured in two FIFA World Cups, at Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006, and two UEFA European Championships. After beginning his career with Croatia club NK Zagreb, with whom he won the league, he then moved to rivals Dinamo Zagreb, where he repeated the feat and again ended up as top scorer in the championship.
A move to high-flying Russian outfit CSKA Moscow netted the six-foot Olic three league titles, two Russian Cups and a UEFA Cup, before the Bundesliga came calling. An impressive start with Hamburg brought him to his current club Bayern Munich, where his attacking talents have been given free rein to impressive effect. Olic has won three Bundesliga titles with the club and was an integral part of a UEFA Champions League campaign that brought the side to the final in 2010, only to lose to Inter Milan.
15. Marcio Santos (42) has many memories to look back on but the fondest must be his surprise call-up for the Brazilian squad at the 1994 FIFA World Cup to replace injured captain Gomez. Largely ignored after featuring in the 1991 Copa America, the defender made an immediate impact at the global showcase in USA, scoring against Cameroon in the group stages and providing solid cover in front of Taffarel. Santos’ missed penalty against Italy in the final had hearts in mouths but his team-mates saw Brazil to victory. Last appearing for his country in their successful Copa America campaign of 1997, Santos had an impressive and varied club career, playing among others for Botafogo, Bordeaux, Fiorentina, Ajax and Sao Paulo.
16. Rafael Alkorta (43) only played for two sides during his time as a footballer, his first eight seasons with Athletic Bilbao leading to a contract with Real Madrid, where he won La Liga twice and the Spanish Super Cup once, before returning to Bilbao to play out the rest of his career. The classy defender featured in three successive FIFA World Cups for Spain (Italy 1990, USA 1994 and France 1998) and a single UEFA European Championship in 1996.
17. Bakary Kone (30) is one of Cote d’Ivoire’s most celebrated sons, participating in his country’s first FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006 before injury robbed him of the chance to repeat the feat at South Africa 2010. The diminutive forward has played in three CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, losing to Egypt in the 2006 final. Graduating to the ASEC Mimosas first team from the club’s academy side, he won three Ivorian Premier Division titles and an African Super Cup before moving to France, where three seasons at Nice were followed by a spell with Marseille, with whom he won the league title in 2010. Qatar was his next destination, the prolific Kone throwing his lot in with rising stars Lekhwiya and claiming the domestic championship.