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.
6. Andy Carroll (24) enjoyed an eventful year, with the highlight his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for UEFA EURO 2012, where he made three appearances, scoring once. The challenge for the robust target man now consists of establishing himself in the Three Lions’ first XI, so that he can play a central role in the ongoing qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Carroll turned professional at Newcastle United, with whom he experienced the lows of relegation from the Premier League as well as the highs of promotion 12 months later. During a four-year spell at St James' Park, the English striker spent one season on loan at Preston North End. In the middle of the 2011/12 campaign, he signed for Liverpool, where he picked up an English League Cup winners’ medal. At the start of this current term, he was loaned out to West Ham United with the aim of increasing his playing time.
7. Kais Ghodhbane (37) helped Tunisia to qualify for their second-ever FIFA World Cup in 1998, and subsequently represented the Carthage Eagles at Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006. He also played at the 1996 Olympic Football Tournament in Atlanta and the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as at six consecutive CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. After losing out in the final of 1996, the midfielder finally emerged victorious at the continental event in 2004, where he and his team-mates were spurred on by a vociferous home support. It was in the colours of Etoile du Sahel that Ghodhbane made his name, winning numerous trophies during his time with the Tunisian giants. He then exported his skills abroad to Turkey, where he turned out for Diyarbakirspor, Samsunspor and Konyaspor, before returning home to see out his career with his former employers.
8. Hanna Ljungberg (34) is one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of Swedish football. She appeared at three FIFA Women’s World Cups™ in a row, securing a runners-up spot at USA 2003, and also at three Olympic Women’s Football Tournaments. The prolific forward built an equally impressive career at club level, securing three league titles, four Swedish Cups, two Swedish Super Cups and two UEFA Women’s Cups – a competition in which she finished second three times – with Umea IK. As far as individual achievements are concerned, she finished top scorer in the Swedish League in 2001/2002 and in the UEFA Women’s Cup, on two different occasions. Ljungberg was recently handed a coaching role with Umea.
9. Gennaro Gattuso (35) was instrumental in Italy’s capture of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, missing just one match during the entire competition. Four years later at South Africa 2010, however, he only took part in one encounter before La Nazionale’s disappointing group-stage exit. The tough-tackling midfield man also competed at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and at two UEFA European Championships, and claimed the UEFA European U-21 Championship in 2000. Gattuso originally came through the ranks at Perugia, before moving to Rangers in Scotland, and then Salernitana in his homeland. His performances piqued the interest of AC Milan, where he not only found the ideal platform for his abilities, but also enjoyed great success, winning two Serie A championships, one Italian Cup, two Italian Super Cups, two UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup. After struggling to maintain a first-team place at the Lombardy club, Gattuso put pen to paper with Swiss heavyweights Sion at the start of this season.
10. Edu (34) has played for prominent sides on both sides of the Atlantic, starting out at Sao Paolo before travelling to Europe to join Celta Vigo. After four campaigns in Galicia, the attack-minded Brazilian signed for Real Betis, with whom he lifted the Copa del Rey. Five years down the line, he returned to Brazil to don the jerseys of Internacional and Vitoria, before spending last season with Colorado Rapids. Edu represented his country at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and has been capped once at senior level.
11. Emile Heskey (35) appeared in all of the Three Lions’ fixtures at both Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010. In addition, he participated in the European Championships of 2000 and 2004. Heskey rose to stardom at Leicester City, where he won two English League Cups. A move to Liverpool saw him record further triumphs, in the FA Cup, the League Cup (twice), the Community Shield, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. Following his successful stint at Anfield, he went on to play for Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Australian outfit Newcastle Jets, his current employers.
12. Robert Prosinecki (44) is a living legend of Yugoslavian and Croatian football, having forged a remarkable career for himself at domestic and international level. He inspired Yugoslavia to victory in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1987, and to a runners-up place at the UEFA European U-21 Championship two years later. Later that same year, he was selected for the senior side’s final squad for Italy 1990. After Croatia became an independent nation, the creative midfielder propelled the newly formed country to maiden qualifications for the European Championship, in 1996, and for the FIFA World Cup, in 1998. At the latter tournament in France, the Croatians shocked the watching world by finishing third, knocking out Germany along the way. Prosinecki appeared at his final FIFA World Cup in 2002. The skilful playmaker started out at Dinamo Zagreb, before joining Red Star Belgrade, where he earned winners’ medals in three league campaigns, one Yugoslav Cup and one European Cup, attained in 1991 versus Marseille. The Croatian is one of just a few players to have defended the colours of La Liga's two biggest clubs, Real Madrid, with whom he held aloft the Spanish Cup and Spanish Super Cup, and Barcelona, where he also won the Supercopa de Espana. During his stay in Spain, he also had relatively brief stints with Real Oviedo and Sevilla. He then re-signed for Dinamo Zagreb, where he added three Croatian league championships, a Croatian Cup and a Croatian Supercup to his footballing CV, before embarking on a nomadic adventure that saw him star for Standard Liege in Belgium, Portsmouth in England and Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia, where he hoisted the national cup. A final fling with NK Zagreb was followed by retirement and a move into coaching. After leading Red Star Belgrade to Serbian Cup glory in May of last year, he took charge of Turkish outfit Kayserispor in October.