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.
9. Masoud Shojaei (29) can look back with pride on his contribution towards Iran’s third-ever FIFA World Cup™ campaign at Germany 2006, a tournament that provided him with the opportunity to establish himself in his nation’s starting XI. The attacking midfielder also participated in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, and is currently heavily involved in Team Melli’s attempts to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Shojaei turned professional with Sanat Naft, but signed for Saipa within a year. He subsequently moved to Sharjah in the UAE, before putting pen to paper with Spanish outfit Osasuna, where he has held down a regular place for the past five seasons.
10. Hajime Hosogai (27) has continued his constant progression by being included in Japan’s squad for the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup, and will be keen to ensure he is also selected for Brazil 2014. After having competed in the Olympic Football Tournament at Beijing 2008, he was promoted to the senior team, with whom he lifted the AFC Asian Cup in 2011. At club level, he rose to prominence by securing a J. League title, two Emperor’s Cups, a Japanese Super Cup and the AFC Champions League with Urawa Red Diamonds. The latter achievement enabled the versatile defender to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2007. His displays piqued the interest of Bayer Leverkusen, who immediately loaned him out to Augsburg. Upon his return to Die Werkself, the Japanese international helped the club to claim third place in the Bundesliga and a slot in next season’s UEFA Champions League. Hosogai recently joined Hertha Berlin.
11. Vagner Love (29) has never had the chance to play at a FIFA World Cup, but he has nevertheless enjoyed some memorable moments with the Brazilian national side. The lively striker emerged victorious at two Copa America tournaments in a row, in 2004 and 2007, playing in every match second time around. After coming through the ranks at Palmeiras, he exported his scoring talents to CSKA Moscow. His move coincided with a trophy-laden period for the Krasno-sinie, who have to date captured three Russian League titles, six Russian Cups, three Russian Super Cups and a UEFA Cup during Love’s time at the club. He embarked on two separate loan spells while with CSKA, first with Palmeiras and then with Flamengo. The Rio de Janeiro-born forward has previously finished top scorer in both the Russian Championship and the UEFA Cup.
12. Thomas Sorensen (37) is regarded as one of Denmark’s greatest-ever goalkeepers, having been the country’s last line of defence at the 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, as well as at UEFA EURO 2004. He began his club career in his homeland, where he turned out for Odense, Velje and Svendborg. After securing a transfer to Sunderland, he helped the club regain promotion to the English top flight. A five-year stint at Aston Villa followed, before Sorensen committed himself to Stoke City, with whom he reached the FA Cup final in 2011.
13. Richard Kingson (35) has been a key player for Ghana for many years, propelling the Black Stars to their maiden FIFA World Cup appearance in 2006, and to the quarter-finals of the 2010 event in South Africa. At continental level, the reliable goalkeeper led his team-mates to third-placed and second-placed finishes at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, in 2008 and 2010. Kingson has represented a host of clubs, including Ghanaian outfit Great Olympics, as well as Turkish sides Goztepe, Antalyaspor, Elazigspor, Galatasaray and Ankaraspor. Following a short loan period with Hammarby in Sweden, he tried his hand at English football, donning the No1 jersey at Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Blackpool.
14. Karla Reuter (29) has played in several major competitions for Australia, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 and the 2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, in which the Matildas claimed an historic triumph. Earlier in her international career, the centre-back appeared at the 2004 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and the 2002 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Reuter wore the colours of Queensland Sting for eight seasons, before signing for Brisbane Roar in 2008, with whom she won the Australian W-League title in 2009.
15. Mohamed Salah (21) has developed into one of Egyptian football’s most high-profile players over the past three years, due in no small part to his efforts in helping his country qualify for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia and for the 2012 Olympics in London. He is currently a key component in the team striving to reach Brazil 2014. The skilful left winger started his career at Arab Contractors in Egypt, prior to packing his bags for Basel last year. He went on to inspire the Swiss club to retain the domestic league title, scoring five goals in the process, and to reach the final of the domestic cup. Salah and his team-mates earned plaudits around Europe this campaign, as they went on a run to the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League, an adventure that was eventually ended at the hands of Chelsea. The Egyptian international made 14 appearances in the continental competition and scored two goals, against Tottenham and Chelsea.