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.
1. Walid Soliman (29) rose to prominence while defending the colours of Haras El Heddood, Gouna and Petrojet, helping the trio of clubs to compete for national honours. Following a short spell with Saudi Arabian heavyweights Al Ahli, he returned to Egypt to sign for ENPPI and then for current employers Al Ahly. The skilful playmaker has since enjoyed significant success with the Cairo-based giants, lifting the Egyptian Super Cup, the CAF Super Cup and the CAF Champions League, an accomplishment that qualified the club for the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco. Soliman previously appeared at the tournament in 2012, when he and his team-mates finished fourth. On the international stage, the creative midfielder won a gold medal with Egypt at the 2007 Pan-Arab Games and took part in the qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, which ended in a disappointing play-off exit at the hands of Ghana.
2. David Batty (45) appeared for England at UEFA EURO 1992 and at the 1998 World Cup in France. At club level, he was a key member of the Leeds United XI that became champions of England in season 1991-92, just two years after claiming the second division title. After holding aloft the FA Charity Shield, the combative midfield man moved to Blackburn Rovers, a club that was about to enter one of the most fruitful periods in its history, finishing second and then first in the two campaigns following Batty’s arrival. The England international then joined Newcastle United, before returning to Leeds to see out the remainder of his career.
3. Christian Karembeu (43) was part of the French team that emerged victorious at France 1998, EURO 2000 and the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. He also participated in EURO 1996, where Les Bleus reached the semi-finals. The tough-tackling midfielder started out at Nantes, where he secured the French League title, prior to exporting his ball-winning skills to Sampdoria. His transfer to Real Madrid marked a turning point in his career, one that lead to two UEFA Champions League triumphs and two Intercontinental Cup successes. After a season at Middlesbrough, the New Caledonia-born Frenchman tried his luck with Olympiacos, with whom he clinched two successive Greek League crowns. Karembeu then turned out for Geneva-based Servette and French outfit Bastia, before hanging up his boots.
4. Ulf Kirsten (48) was one of the finest forwards to emerge from Germany in modern times, representing Die Nationalelf at USA 1994, France 1998 and EURO 2000. The prolific goalscorer turned professional at Dynamo Dresden, where he scooped two East German titles, two East German Cups and the East German Footballer of the Year award. After the reunification of Germany, he put pen to paper with Bayer Leverkusen, a club to which he would remain a loyal servant for 13 seasons, during which time he hoisted the German Cup and finished top scorer in numerous competitions, including the Bundesliga (three times), the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup. A post-retirement appointment to the Leverkusen backroom staff saw him fulfil the roles of assistant coach of the senior side and head coach of the reserve team.
5. Foued Kadir (30) is likely to celebrate his birthday with considerable vigour this year, having recently helped Algeria qualify for the 2014 World Cup, where he will be hopeful of getting his second taste of the prestigious tournament, after making his debut at South Africa 2010. The attacking midfielder also played at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in January. Kadir began his career at Cannes, before pulling on the jerseys of Amiens, Valenciennes and Marseille. He has recently put in some strong displays during a loan spell at Rennes.
6. Federico Balzaretti (32) played a key role in Italy’s run to the final of EURO 2012, where La Nazionale lost to Spain. After having been greatly involved in his country’s successful qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014, he will be hopeful of retaining his place in the national squad and thereby performing at the World Cup for the very first time. A product of Torino’s youth academy, the Turin-born left-back appeared on loan for modest outfits Varese and Sienna, prior to returning to his home-town team to play one season in Serie A and two in Serie B. His performances attracted the interest of city rivals Juventus, with whom he would also experience life in both of Italy’s top two divisions. After briefly starring for Fiorentina, Balzaretti spent five years with Palermo. At the start of this current season, the energetic defender committed himself to Roma, going on to break the national record for consecutive victories (ten) in Serie A.
7. Colin Hendry (48) captained Scotland at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France, his second appearance at a major tournament after EURO 1996. The no-nonsense centre-back plied his trade for several different clubs in Scotland and England during a 20-year career. After making his professional debut for Dundee, he moved south to join Blackburn Rovers, then in the English second tier. The Scottish defender subsequently represented Manchester City for two seasons, before returning to Blackburn and propelling the Lancashire outfit to promotion and then to victory in the Premier League. Hendry later played for Rangers, where he won the Scottish domestic treble, Coventry City, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End and Blackpool. After moving into management, he took the reins at Blackpool and then at Scottish side Clyde.