In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com brings you some of the biggest names on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
20. Owen Hargreaves (32) took part in two FIFA World Cups™ – Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006 – with England, as well as the 2004 UEFA European Championship. After graduating from Bayern Munich’s youth academy, the combative midfielder was promoted to the senior side, with whom he went on to secure four Bundesliga championships, three German Cups, a German League Cup, a UEFA Champions League title and an Intercontinental Cup. A high-profile transfer to Manchester United followed, as did four English Premier League titles and a further Champions League crown. Hargreaves then tried his luck with rivals Manchester City, but as injuries prevented him from establishing himself in the Citizens’ starting XI, he is currently on the lookout for a new club.
21. Hussain Saeed (54) is an Iraqi football legend, having starred and scored for the Lions of Mesopotamia at different age categories over a thirteen-year period. The prolific striker played in the 1977 FIFA U-20 World Cup and won the AFC Youth Championship, before stepping up to the senior team and helping them to qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico. He also participated in three successive Olympic Football Tournaments (Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988) and lifted two Gulf Cups. After a serious injury brought his career to a premature end, Saeed fulfilled a number of management roles before becoming President of the Iraqi Football Association, and it was under his stewardship that Iraq triumphed at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.
22. Hidetoshi Nakata (36) represented Japan at numerous major international competitions, including three successive FIFA World Cups (France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006) and three FIFA Confederations Cups, earning a runners-up place in 2001, the Samurai Blue’s maiden appearance at the event. The creative playmaker also turned out at the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the U-20 equivalent in 1995, as well as at two Olympic Football Tournaments, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. Nakata started out at Bellmare Hiratsuka in his homeland, hoisting the AFC Asian Cup Winners’ Cup, prior to packing his bags for Europe. An initial stint at Perugia was followed by a transfer to Roma, where he won the Serie A title, before a move to Parma saw him hold aloft the Coppa Italia. He subsequently played in the colours of Bologna, Fiorentina and Bolton Wanderers in England, where he brought the curtain down on a remarkable career. The skilful midfielder was named Asian Footballer of the Year in 1997 and 1998.
23. Julie Foudy (42) was a trailblazer for the women’s game as a player, taking part in the first four editions of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ with the USA, claiming the trophy in 1991 and 1995 and finishing third in 1999 and 2003. The midfielder also appeared in three Olympic Women’s Football Tournaments, earning a gold medal at Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, as well as a silver medal at Sydney 2000.
24. Luis Suarez (26) has developed into a bona fide international star over the past few years, due in part to his role in Uruguay’s re-emergence as a global force. The pacey forward was instrumental in La Celeste’s march to the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, scoring three goals in six games, and played a central role in their capture of the Copa America in 2011, hitting the net four times, including once in the final versus Paraguay. He also participated in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, as well as in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He turned professional at Uruguayan giants Nacional, where he earned a league winners’ medal. Suarez then exported his significant skills to Europe, and the Netherlands in particular, where he wore the colours of Groningen and Ajax, with whom he won the Dutch Cup and Eredivisie title. It was during his time at the Amsterdam club that he finished top scorer in the Dutch League and was named Eredivisie Footballer of the Year. After three-and-a-half campaigns with the Godenzonen, he joined Liverpool, where he emerged victorious in the English League Cup final last season.
25. Eusebio (71) is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of Portuguese and world football. During his sole FIFA World Cup venture, at England 1966, the powerful attacker finished top of the tournament’s scoring charts, netting nine goals – including four against Korea DPR – and helping Portugal to secure third place in the process. The prolific striker began his career in Mozambique, the land of his birth, where he came to the attention of Benfica, who signed him in 1960. Over the next fifteen years, he enjoyed a remarkable level of success with As Águias, landing eleven Portuguese League titles, five Portuguese Cups and a European Cup, the final of which saw him score twice in his side’s memorable 5-3 victory over Real Madrid. As far as individual accolades are concerned, the Portuguese icon was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965 and Portuguese Footballer of the Year in 1970 and 1973. He was also top scorer in three European Cups and seven Portuguese league campaigns. After leaving Benfica, Eusebio had spells with Boston Minutemen, Las Vegas Quicksilver, Monterrey, Toronto Croatia and Portuguese outfits Beira-Mar and Uniao de Tomar.
26. Sebastian Giovinco (26) has risen to prominence in Italy over the past few seasons, and is now viewed as one of Juventus’ key players. The diminutive attacking midfielder first broke into the Turin outfit’s line-up during their year in Serie B. Following La Vecchia Signora’s return to the top flight, he was loaned out to Empoli and then to Parma, where his sparkling form earned him a call-up to Italy’s UEFA EURO 2012 squad. Giovinco rejoined Juventus at the beginning of this current season, and lifted the Italian Super Cup soon after.