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.
7. Franck Ribery (30) came to global prominence at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, where he took part in all of France’s matches and scored in their Round-of-16 triumph over Spain. Four years later at South Africa 2010, he was once again a key member of the French squad, but could not prevent Les Bleus from suffering a disappointing group-stage exit. The skilful winger also appeared at the UEFA EUROs of 2008 and 2012, putting in some particularly effective performances at the latter tournament. He spent his first few years as a professional at modest clubs such as Boulogne, Ales, Brest and Metz, before signing for Galatasaray, where he lifted the Turkish Cup. A subsequent transfer to Marseille proved to be a pivotal moment in the Frenchman’s career, as his strong displays during the club’s eventful UEFA Intertoto Cup run attracted the attention of Bayern Munich. He would go on to secure two Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, a German League Cup and two German Super Cups in Bavaria, but he had to make do with a runners-up medal in the UEFA Champions League last year. Ribery has previously earned three Footballer of the Year awards, two in France and one in Germany.
8. Mazinho (47) helped Brazil to capture the FIFA World Cup at USA 1994, after having previously held aloft the 1989 Copa America, A Canarinha’s first success in the continental tournament for many decades. The versatile midfielder started out at Vasco da Gama, where he enjoyed triumphs in the Brazilian League, Rio de Janeiro State Championship (twice) and the Guanabara Trophy (twice). He then crossed the ocean to Italy, where he played for Lecce and Fiorentina, prior to returning to his homeland to defend the colours of Palmeiras, with whom he emerged victorious in two Brazilian League campaigns, two Sao Paulo State Championships and the Rio-Sao Paolo Tournament. After spells with Spanish outfits Celta Vigo and Elche, as well as with Brazilian side Vitoria, Mazinho decided to hang up his boots. In 2009, he had a short spell as coach of Greek club Aris.
9. Antonio Nocerino (28) has recently established himself as one of the best Italian midfielders currently playing the game, with his physical strength and never-say-die attitude making him a valuable asset for club and country. He was part of the Italy squad that reached the final of EURO 2012, having competed in the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the 2007 UEFA European U-21 Championship and the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament. Nocerino played for Avellino, Genoa, Catanzaro and Crotone in Serie B, before jumping up a division to join Messina. A brief stint at Piacenza was followed by a move to Juventus, but limited playing time in Turin led to his putting pen to paper with Palermo in the summer of 2008. The combative midfield man spent four seasons in Sicily, helping the club to return to the forefront of the Italian game and qualify for the UEFA Europa League in the process. Seeing in him the ideal successor for Gennaro Gattuso, AC Milan acquired Nocerino’s services at the start of the 2011/2012 campaign, during which I Rossoneri finished second behind Juventus.
10. Vincent Kompany (27) is regarded as one of Europe’s top defenders, having grown in stature since joining up with the Belgian national set-up during the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign and appearing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Now captain of Les Diables Rouges, the robust defender has his sights firmly set on leading his team-mates to Brazil next summer. A product of Anderlecht’s youth system, he rapidly gained a place in the senior XI, with whom he landed two Belgian League titles and was named Belgian Footballer of the Year. A subsequent stint at Hamburg, during which he won the UEFA Intertoto Cup, was followed by a move to Manchester City. He has since experienced tremendous success with the Citizens, hoisting the FA Cup, Community Shield and English Premier League trophy, and picking up the 2011/12 Premier League Player of the Season award.
11. Keiji Tamada (33) played a central role in Japan’s successful attempts to qualify for Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, going on to appear at the tournament proper on both occasions, and even scoring against Brazil in Dortmund. In addition, the forward participated in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2004 AFC Asian Cup, a competition in which he excelled, bagging three goals, including one in the final against China. Tamada has represented just two Japanese outfits during his career, Kashiwa Reysol and present club Nagoya Grampus, landing the J. League Cup with the former and the J. League title and Japanese Super Cup with the latter.
12. Nicolas Burdisso (32) has been a mainstay of the Argentina squad over the last decade, gaining FIFA World Cup experience at both Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010. Earlier in his career, he was a key component of the Argentinian sides that held aloft the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup and that attained gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Football Tournament in Athens. He also turned out at two Copa America tournaments, in 2007 and 2011. The South American defender began his career with Boca Juniors, where he won two league championships, three Copa Libertadores crowns and two Intercontinental Cups. He then packed his bags for Italy, where he pulled on the jersey of Inter Milan, earning winners’ medals in four Serie A campaigns, two Italian Cups and four Italian Super Cups. He currently plays for Roma.
13. Claudio Bravo (30) is one of the most competent goalkeepers to emerge from South America in recent years. He took part in the last three Copa America contests and in qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa with Chile. At club level, he won a Chilean League title with Colo Colo, prior to exporting his shot-stopping skills to Real Sociedad in Spain. He remained with the Basque club after relegation, helping them to win the second division title and to return to La Liga in 2010.