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.
15. Hossam Ghaly (32) has been one of Egyptian football’s most prominent figures over the past decade. After appearing at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where his country finished third, the charismatic midfielder moved up to the senior side and competed at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 2004 and 2010, where the Pharoahs claimed their third continental crown in a row. In addition, he secured a gold medal at the 2007 Pan Arab Games. At club level, the North African clinched three Egyptian League titles, two Egyptian Championships and a CAF Champions League title with Al Ahly, before exporting his skills to Europe, where he turned out for Feyenoord, Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County. Following a season with Saudi Arabian heavyweights Al Nassr, Ghaly returned to Al Ahly, inspiring the Cairo team to success in the Egyptian League, two Egyptian Super Cup finals and another CAF Champions League final. That particular triumph enabled him to take part in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, where he suffered a serious injury. Having returned to full fitness, he signed for Belgian outfit Lierse this summer.
16. Mats Hummels (25) has developed into one of Germany’s best defenders over the past few seasons. Starting out in Bayern Munich’s reserve side, he spent time on loan with Borussia Dortmund before signing permanently for the latter club. The talented centre-back went on to play a key role in Die Schwarzgelben’s return to the forefront of the German game, scooping successive Bundesliga titles, a German Cup and a German Super Cup. Last season, he reached the final of the UEFA Champions League, a match Dortmund lost to their old rivals Bayern Munich. On the international stage, Hummels was part of the Germany team that won the UEFA European U-21 Championship in 2009. With the senior XI, he reached the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2012 and was recently involved in their highly successful qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
17. Seo Jung Won (43) starred for South Korea at USA 1994 and France 1998, playing in all three of his country’s games each time and scoring an impressive last-gasp equaliser against Spain at the former tournament. The flamboyant winger had previously participated in the 1992 Olympic Football Tournament and the 1996 AFC Asian Cup. He started out at Anyang, where his good form earned him a move to Strasbourg. After retracing his steps to his homeland, he landed a Korean League title, a Korean Cup, two AFC Champions League crowns and two Asian Super Cups with Suwon Bluewings. Jung Won’s next stop-off was Austria, where he pulled on the jerseys of Austria Salzburg and Ried. The Asian wide man then became Salzburg player-coach, prior to hanging up his boots for good and taking charge of South Korea’s U-23 team. A promotion to the helm of the senior Korean team was followed by a return to Suwon, where he fulfilled the roles of assistant coach and then head coach in his own right.
18. John Moshoeu (48) was a key member of the South African side that achieved various firsts, including lifting the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations and qualifying for the World Cup, at France 1998. In addition, he played at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1997, 2000 and 2004. The skilful attacking midfielder represented Kaizer Chiefs, with whom he captured numerous domestic honours, and Turkish outfits Genclerbirligi, Kocaelispor, Fenerbahce, where he earned a Turkish League winners’ medal, and Bursaspor. Moshoeu then returned to Kaizer Chiefs, before seeing out the remainder of his career at AmaZulu.
19. Alexis Sanchez (25) has become of the world’s top attackers over the last few years. With Chile, he appeared at the 2010 World Cup and will likely be part of the squad that travels to Brazil next summer. The dynamic forward also took part in the 2011 Copa America and finished third at the 2007 U-20 World Cup. Sanchez came through the ranks at Cobreloa, earning a move to Udinese, who promptly loaned him to Macul-based giants Colo Colo, where he collected two Chilean Championships. A subsequent loan stint at River Plate saw him add an Argentinian League title to his footballing CV. Upon his return to Italy, the Chilean international performed for Udinese for three seasons, where his displays piqued the interest of Barcelona. Since arriving at the Camp Nou, he has enjoyed great success, prevailing in La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana (twice), UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
20. Ashley Cole (33) participated in the last three World Cups with England, in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and in the UEFA European Championships of 2004 and 2012. The tireless full-back has spent his entire club career in London, starting with a six-season stint at Arsenal, during which he was briefly loaned out to Crystal Palace. Two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shields later, he signed for Chelsea, where he is now embarking on his eighth campaign. In his time with the Blues, Cole has bagged a Premier League Championship, a Champions League crown, a Europa League title, three FA Cups, a League Cup and a Community Shield. The English defender also finished runner-up at the 2012 Club World Cup.
21. Ahmed Bahja (43) appeared at the 1992 Olympic Football Tournament, at the 1994 World Cup, and at the 1998 and 2000 Africa Cup of Nations events with Morocco. A product of Kawkab Marrakesh’s youth academy, the elegant striker joined Saudi club Al Ittihad, with whom he hoisted the 1999 Asian Cup Winners’ Cup – scoring a brace in the final against South Korean outfit Chunnam Dragons – and claimed two domestic titles. After putting pen to paper with Al Nassr, the Moroccan front man played at the inaugural Club World Cup, in 2000, helping his side to emerge victorious from their memorable group-stage duel (4-3) with Raja Casablanca. Bahja went on to defend the colours of three other clubs before retiring: Al Hilal, where he held aloft the Asian Super Cup, Raja and Fes.