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.
23. Mido (31) is one of the most high-profile players to represent Egypt over the past decade, appearing at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments of 2002, 2004 and 2006, where the Pharaohs lifted the continental trophy. The imposing striker also took part in three unsuccessful FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaigns. After coming through Zamalek’s youth set-up, the enthusiastic goalscorer was promoted to the senior side and went on to lift the African Cup Winners’ Cup. His precocious performances piqued the interest of Belgian outfit Gent, who transferred him to Ajax, where he won the Dutch League, Cup and Super Cup. Following spells with Celta Vigo, Marseille and Roma, Mido joined Tottenham Hotspur, first on loan and then on a permanent basis. The Egyptian international subsequently enjoyed further loan stints with Middlesbrough, Wigan Athletic, Zamalek, West Ham United and Ajax, before returning to the Giza-based club for a second time in 2011. A swansong with Barnsley was followed by a move into coaching, which saw him take the helm at Zamalek at the tender age of 30.
24. Annika Nessvold (43) was part of Sweden’s squad at the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the 1996 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and the 1995 UEFA Women’s Championship, where the Scandinavians lost to Germany in the final. At club level, Nessvold turned out for Malmo.
25. Marc Emmers (48) participated in Italy 1990 and USA 1994 with Belgium, suffering Round-of-16 exits at the hands of England and Germany respectively. The midfielder started out at Waterschei, prior to claiming the Belgian League title, European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup with Mechelen. He then signed for Anderlecht, with whom he added two further league crowns, a Belgian Cup and two Belgian Super Cups to his footballing CV. Following brief spells with Italian outfit Perugia and Swiss club Lugano, Emmers saw out the remainder of his career with modest Flemish side KFC Diest.
26. Pepe (31) is generally regarded as one of Europe’s top defenders, a status earned by his strong displays for Portugal at South Africa 2010 and the UEFA European Championships of 2008 and 2012, during which he was named in the Team of the Tournament on both occasions. Having helped A Seleção das Quinas to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, the rugged centre-back will be confident of being included in the squad that will travel to Brazil over the summer. Pepe turned professional at Maritimo, before putting pen to paper with Porto, where he clinched two Portuguese League titles, a Portuguese Cup, two Portuguese Super Cups and an Intercontinental Cup. His success did not escape the attention of Real Madrid, who secured his services in 2007. Since then, he has landed two Liga Championships, a Copa del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups with Los Blancos.
27. April Heinrichs (50) captained the USA to a FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph in 1991, during which she struck the back of the net four times. The free-scoring forward starred for FCF Juventus and Prato Wonder in Italy, before hanging up her boots and embarking on a successful coaching career. She initially took charge of the women’s teams at the Universities of Princeton, Maryland and Virginia, building a strong reputation that saw her invited into the national set-up, first fulfilling the role of assistant coach and helping her compatriots to seal the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games and the 1999 Women’s World Cup, and then taking the reins in her own right. During her tenure as head coach, the Stars and Stripes bagged gold at Sydney 2000 and silver at Athens 2004, as well as a third-place finish at the 2003 Women’s World Cup. Heinrichs subsequently coached at the University of California, before becoming Technical Director for women’s football with the United States Soccer Federation.
28. Antonio Candreva (27) was a key member of the Italian squad that finished third at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and that later qualified comfortably for Brazil 2014. Earlier in his international career, the skilful winger had appeared at the Olympic Football Tournament at Beijing 2008. Having started off at Ternana, Candreva committed himself to Udinese, but found playing time hard to come by. The creative playmaker was then sent out on loan to numerous Italian sides, including Livorno, Juventus, Parma and Lazio. After brandishing the Coppa Italia in May 2013, he signed a permanent contract with I Biancocelesti the following month.
1. Jonathan Spector (28) appeared at the 2009 Confederations Cup with the USA, unexpectedly reaching the final and coming close to beating Brazil. The versatile defender had previously lifted the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and taken part in the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He was also selected for the final American squad that competed at South Africa 2010. Spector started out at Manchester United, where he played in the FA Community Shield match against Arsenal. Following a season on loan at Charlton Athletic, the tireless full-back spent five campaigns with West Ham. He joined Birmingham City in 2011.