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.
Ivan De La Pena (36) established himself as a solid central midfielder as early as 15, when he was noticed by Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy. With the Blaugrana, he lifted the league in 1998, the Copa del Rey in 1997, the Spanish Super Cup in 1996, and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup double in 1997. A lack of first-team appearances saw him transferred to Lazio, where he was loaned out to Marseille and then back to Barcelona after a disappointing first season. The Spaniard, who only played five times for his national side, did win both a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and an Italian Super Cup during his stay in the Italian capital. He then made the decision to sign for old city rivals Espanyol in 2002, where he would spend the rest of his career, winning the Copa Del Rey in 2006. Settled and content with the Periquitos, ‘The Shaven One’ led the blue-and-white of Barcelona to a penalty shoot-out in the 2007 UEFA Cup Final, which they lost 3-1 to Seville. His finest days as an international were at youth level, as part of the Spanish sides that finished fourth at the FIFA World Youth Championship Qatar 1995 and reached the quarter-finals of the Olympic Football Tournament Atlanta 1996.
Jeremy Menez (25) is hoping to pip Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title, with second-placed Paris-Saint-Germain currently three points behind the league leaders. The Frenchman started his career with Sochaux, becoming the youngest ever player to grace the pitches of French football’s top tier before moving to Roma after a short spell with Monaco. In the Italian capital, Menez made his name as an attacking prowess in three seasons at the club. At international level, he lifted the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship in Norway and is hoping to be picked by Laurent Blanc to participate at UEFA Euro 2012 this summer.
Luis Enrique (42) was one of the best players of his generation, and one of few footballers ever to appear for both sides in the El Clasico derby. Starting off a highly successful career at Sporting Gijon, the winger left mid-table mediocrity for the Santiago Bernabeu and European football with Real Madrid. Five seasons in the Spanish capital rewarded him with the league title in 1995 and a Spanish Super Cup and Copa Del Rey double in 1993. Enrique saw his contract with Los Merengues out before joining rivals Barcelona in 1998. In eight seasons with the Blaugrana, the attacking midfielder lifted back-to-back league titles in 1998 and 1999, two Copa Del Reys in 1997 and 1998, the Spanish Super Cup in 1996 and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup double in 1997. He was a regular for many years in the Spanish national side, winning the Olympic Football Tournament Barcelona 1992 on home soil and participating in three FIFA World Cups™ (USA 1994, France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002) as well as UEFA Euro 1996. After hanging up his boots, he took charge of Barcelona’s second-string side before being named manager of Roma at the beginning of the season.
Jupp Heynckes (67) reached the heights of professional football in a playing career that saw him win the UEFA European Championship 1972 and the FIFA World Cup Germany 1974 with West Germany. The striker also lifted four Bundesligas, the German Cup and the UEFA Cup with Borussia Monchengladbach. He finished as top goalscorer of the 1974 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the 1976 UEFA Cup and the Bundesliga in 1974 and 1975. He then became a manager, leading Real Madrid to the Spanish Super Cup in 1997 and the UEFA Champions League in 1998, Schalke to the Intertoto Cup in 2003 and 2004 and Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title in 1989 and 1990 and a German Super Cup in 1987. In his third stint in Bavaria, Heynckes has taken die FCB to the German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League final against Chelsea. The coach has also taken charge of Borussia Monchengladbach, Frankfurt, Tenerife, Bayer Leverkusen, Athletic Bilbao and Benfica.
Humberto Suazo (31) took part in the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 with his native Chile, as well as the Copa America in 2007 and 2011. The forward is a star in South America, having appeared for a number of clubs, including Colo Colo in his homeland, where he won three league titles and finished as top goalscorer twice. He also reached the Copa Sudamericana final in 2006, finishing once again as top scorer. In recent seasons he has shone for Monterrey in Mexico, winning league titles in 2009 and 2010 and the last two editions of the CONCACAF Champions League, finishing as top-scorer with 7 goals of the 2011-2012 edition.
Giovani Dos Santos (23) played a huge part in Mexico’s triumph at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru, winning the adidas Silver Ball, and in his country’s participation at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, this time being awarded the Bronze Ball. With the first team, Dos Santos has participated in the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 and the Copa America 2011 as well as lifting the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2009 and 2011. After rising up through the ranks of Barcelona’s academy, the winger won a Spanish Super Cup before signing for Tottenham. The North London club have since lent him to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander, but, if he chooses to stay, he will be hoping to break into the first team in his fifth season with Spurs.
Thomas Dooley (51) represented the United States in two FIFA World Cups (USA 1994 and France 1998) and two CONCACAF Gold Cups, where the Stars and Stripes finished runners-up to Mexico on both occasions. The defender, who was born in Germany to a German mother, started his career with FC Homburg where he spent his first seasons in the Bundesliga before signing for Kaiserslautern, where he lifted the German Cup in 1990 and the Bundesliga in 1991. He next moved to Bayer Leverkusen and then Schalke. With die Schlacke, Dooley lifted the UEFA Cup in 1997 before heading for the MLS, firstly to Colombus Crew and then MetroStars where he finally retired.