In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
22 Mark van Bommel (35) was the captain as the Netherlands reached their third FIFA World Cup™ Final, losing to Spain at South Africa 2010. Also a member of the Dutch side that reached the Round of 16 at Germany 2006, Van Bommel kicked off his long club career at Fortuna Sittard, appearing for seven seasons before moving to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven where he would make his name. With Boeren, Van Bommel lifted four Eredivisies, the Dutch Cup and the Dutch Super Cup three times before signing for Barcelona, where in one year he would win La Liga, the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Champions League. The defensive midfielder then left Catalonia for Germany, and a spell at Bayern Munich. That would prove to be a wise move as he lifted a German League Cup, two German Cups and a German Super Cup, as well two Bundesliga titles. After becoming the first foreign player to captain die FCB, Van Bommel moved from Bavaria to AC Milan in January 2011. In his first season in Italy, the hard-tackling Dutchman won Serie A before lifting the Italian Super Cup earlier this season.
23 Abdallah Yaisien (18) made his mark on the international scene when he took part with his native France at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011. The rising star led his team to the quarter-finals, scoring one goal, before the French were knocked by hosts and eventual winners Mexico. Yaisien is looking to hold down a regular starting place at Paris Saint-Germain where he is hoping to win a first league title.
24 Stuart Pearce (50) was a key part of the England defence during the 1990’s. Pearce missed from the spot as the Three Lions crashed out of the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup Italy 1990 on penalties against West Germany. The left-back did score his penalty in another semi-final shoot-out versus Germany, this time at UEFA Euro 1996 on home soil, but Die Mannschaft were once again triumphant. The no-nonsense defender also featured at UEFA Euro 1992 in Sweden, when England were knocked out at the group stage. ‘Psycho’, as he was affectionately known, spent the bulk of his playing days at Nottingham Forest, but also enjoyed spells with Coventry, Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester City, where he finally hung up his boots. He then took charge of the Citizens for two years before becoming the manager of the England U-21 side. He has led the English youngsters to three UEFA European U-21 Championships, finishing third in 2007 and second in 2009. Also the manager of the Team GB Olympic team, Pearce became caretaker manager of the senior England side following Fabio Capello’s resignation as manager in February of this year.
25 Ruben Sosa (46) was a stalwart in Uruguay’s Copa America successes in 1987 and 1995 and also participated at the FIFA World Cup Italy 1990. The striker started off his career with Danubio in his homeland before signing for Real Zaragoza, where he rose to international fame, scoring the winner in the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona. Sosa then moved to Lazio and Inter Milan, where he lifted a UEFA Cup before joining Borussia Dortmund where he won a Bundesliga title. The forward then had spells at Logrones, Shanghai Shenhua, Nacional, where he lifted three Uruguayan titles, and Racing where he finally retired.
26 Jonathan Dos Santos (22) is currently fighting to gain a place among some of the world’s best at Barcelona. After rising through the ranks of the famed La Masia academy, the Mexican has played mostly for the Blaugrana’s second string, Barcelona B. The younger brother of Tottenham star Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan has represented his national side on a handful of occasions and will be hoping to play a larger part in both his club and country’s fortunes in the years to come.
27 Walter Pandiani (36) started off a long and distinguished career in his native Uruguay with Penarol, where he won a league title before crossing the Atlantic to sign for Deportivo La Coruna. In northwest Spain the striker lifted a Copa Del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup. Then sent out on loan to Mallorca, Pandiani lifted the Copa Del Rey a second time before another loan transfer, this time to Birmingham, gave him a taste of British football. A good showing there led to him signing permanently for the Blues, but he soon returned to the Iberian Peninsula with Espanyol, where he reached the final of the UEFA Cup and finished as top scorer of the competition. A four-year stay at Osasuna was followed by a return to his former club in Catalonia, and he is now hoping to lead Espanyol into Europe again. Although his club performances abroad have been impressive, Pandiani has never participated in a major international competition for Uruguay and has only made four appearances for his national side.
28 Diego Simeone (42) has enjoyed a trophy-lade career for both club and country. Having started his career with Velez Sarsfield as a 17-year-old, the combative central midfielder was brought to Europe by Pisa. After two seasons in Italy he moved to Sevilla, before making a real name for himself at Atletico Madrid. Having claimed a league and cup double in 1996, he moved on to Inter Milan where he claimed the UEFA Cup. Lazio was his next, and most fruitful, stop of his career, winning his second European title by claiming the UEFA Super Cup on arrival. Another league and cup double followed later that season, before he finished his playing days by returning to Atletico before moving to Racing Club in Argentina. With the national side he claimed two Copa America titles in 1991 and 1993, as well as an Olympic silver medal in 1996 on his way to 106 caps. Now a coach, he has already won the two Argentinean Primera titles and helped Catania dodge relegation in Serie A before now taking Atletico Madrid to a UEFA Europa League semi-final.