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.
28. Miguel Angel Nadal (47) was regarded as one of Spain’s top defenders for the best part of two decades, a status that led to him competing in three FIFA World Cup™ tournaments (in 1994, 1998 and 2002) and at UEFA EURO 1996 with La Roja. He first turned professional with his home-town team, Real Mallorca. After four years in the islanders’ starting XI, the combative Spaniard signed for Barcelona, where he would go on to enjoy great success. During his time at the Camp Nou, Nadal secured five Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, four Spanish Super Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and a European Cup, the first in the Catalan giants’ history. He subsequently rejoined Mallorca, where he lifted the Copa del Rey once more before retiring from the game in 2005.
29. Jean-Luc Ettori (58) is a living legend of French football, having been a key member of the side that reached the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1982, where Les Bleus lost to West Germany and eventually finished fourth. The Marseille native remained faithful to Monaco for his entire domestic career and still holds the record for most matches played for the club (755). During this 19-year period, the athletic goalkeeper won three French Championships, three French Cups and a Challenge des Champions (the precursor to the Trophée des Champions) with the principality side. After hanging up his gloves, Ettori became Monaco’s goalkeeping coach, a role he fulfilled for more than ten years.
30. Umit Davala (40) was instrumental in helping Turkey return to the FIFA World Cup stage in 2002, after an absence of 48 years. While there, the Turks enjoyed their best-ever run at the tournament, reaching the semi-finals and impressing with their sparkling play. Fielded at right-back, Davala scored two goals in his country’s seven matches at Korea/Japan 2002, against China in the group stage and Japan in the Round of 16, the latter of which – a powerful header – knocked the joint hosts out of the competition. The tireless defender also participated in UEFA EURO 2000. Born in Germany, he later packed his bags for Turkish outfit Afyonspor, before moving on to Istanbulspor, Diyarbakirspor and Galatasaray. It was with Cimbom that he first got his hands on silverware, landing three Turkish League titles, three Turkish Cups, a UEFA Cup and a UEFA Super Cup, successes that earned him a move to AC Milan. He was then transferred to city rivals Inter, who sent him on successive loan spells to Galatasaray and Werder Bremen, with whom he won a German League and Cup double. After joining the Bundesliga heavyweights on a permanent basis, the Turkish international played for them until his retirement at the tail end of 2005. Since then, he has taken charge of the Turkish U-21 team and now works as an assistant coach at Galatasaray.
31. Michael Bradley (26) is a lynchpin of the USA’s national team, having taken part in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where the Stars and Stripes came close to upsetting Brazil in the final, and in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. The dynamic midfielder’s strong international performances have been instrumental in the Unites States’ recent series of impressive Brazil 2014 qualifying results, as well as in their run to the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, a competition in which he triumphed in 2007. He previously appeared at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the Olympic Football Tournament at Beijing 2008. Bradley started out at New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls), prior to exporting his skills to Dutch outfit Heerenveen. He then spent three campaigns at Borussia Monchengladbach, before embarking on a brief loan stint at Aston Villa. A move to Italy saw the American pull on the jerseys of Chievo and then present club Roma, with whom he reached the final of the Coppa Italia at the end of last season.
1. David James (43) has constituted a formidable last line of defence for a host of teams during a varied 25-year career that is still ongoing to this day. The imposing custodian was England’s first-choice goalkeeper at UEFA EURO 2004 and for the majority of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. James came through the ranks at Watford, where his displays piqued the interest of Liverpool, with whom he held aloft the English League Cup. He would then go on to play for Aston Villa, West Ham United, Manchester City, Portsmouth (where he won the FA Cup), Bristol City and Bournemouth. Earlier this year, the evergreen shot-stopper put pen to paper with Icelandic outfit IBV.
2. Helder Postiga (31) has provided Portugal with a serious goal threat for almost ten years, including at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, where his country finished fourth. In addition, the clinical striker appeared at three consecutive UEFA European Championships, reaching the final in 2004 and the semi-finals in 2012. Postiga started out with Porto, where he claimed three Portuguese League Championships, a Portuguese Cup, a Portuguese Super Cup, a UEFA Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. Following a disappointing spell at Tottenham Hotspur, he returned to Os Dragões, who promptly loaned him out to Saint-Etienne and Panathinaikos. He was then involved in a high-profile transfer to Sporting Lisbon, where he added a further Portuguese Super Cup to his footballing CV. In 2011, the Portuguese international committed himself to Spanish team Real Zaragoza.
3. Mile Jedinak (29) will likely celebrate his birthday in style this year, having helped Australia to qualify for Brazil 2014. Should he travel to South America, it will be the defensive midfielder’s second experience at FIFA’s flagship tournament, following his inclusion in the Socceroos’ squad for South Africa 2010. He also played at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where the Australians ended up in the runners-up spot, and at the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup. At club level, the tough-tackling Australian defended the colours of Sydney United and Central Coast Mariners, with loans at South Coast United and Croatian side Varteks sandwiched in between. His career moved up a gear with a move to Turkey, where he turned out for Genclerbirligi and Antalyaspor. In 2011, Jedinak joined Crystal Palace, and will therefore perform in the English Premier League during the coming season.