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. Juan Veron (39) took part in three FIFA World Cup™ tournaments with Argentina, at France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010. In addition, he earned a runners-up medal at the 2007 Copa America and finished third at the 1991 FIFA U-17 World Cup. After starting out at Estudiantes, where he won the Argentinian second division, the elegant midfielder joined Boca Juniors. A move to Italy saw him turn out for Sampdoria, Parma, where he claimed the Italian Cup and UEFA Cup, and Lazio, with whom he clinched the Serie A title, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and UEFA Super Cup. The deep-lying playmaker put pen to paper with Manchester United in 2001, securing the English Premier League title the following season. A subsequent spell at Chelsea was followed by a return to Italian soil, where, as part of a fast-improving Inter Milan side, he added further honours to his footballing CV in the form of a Serie A crown, two Italian Cups and an Italian Super Cup. Veron then re-signed for Estudiantes, inspiring the club to two Argentinian Championships and a Copa Libertadores, a victory which qualified Los Pincharratas for the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup, where they lost in the final. The La Plata-born international collected numerous individual accolades during his career, including two Argentinian Player of the Year awards.
10. Toni Polster (50) is regarded as one of the greatest players Austria has ever produced. The free-scoring striker participated in Italy 1990 and France 1998, the last time that his country appeared on football’s greatest stage. He also played at the U-17 World Cup in 1983. The iconic attacker turned professional with Austria Vienna, with whom he sealed three league championships and a national cup, before going on to star for Torino, Sevilla, Logrones, Rayo Vallecano, Cologne, Borussia Monchengladbach and Austria Salzburg. During his playing career, Polster was twice named Austrian Footballer of the Year, and finished top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga on three occasions. After hanging up his boots, he fulfilled coaching roles at LASK Linz, Wiener Viktoria and Admira Wacker.
11. Didier Drogba (36) is a living legend of Ivorian football, having helped Les Elephants to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 2006 and to repeat the feat at South Africa 2010. Following the African nation’s third successive qualification, the powerful front man will likely be one of the players to watch at Brazil 2014. He has also competed at no fewer than five CAF Africa Cup of Nations events, losing two finals on penalties and finishing joint top scorer in 2012. The African forward began his career at French outfit Le Mans, but it was at Guingamp that he rose to prominence, attracting the interest of big-name clubs such as Marseille, who acquired his services in 2003. He then moved to England, landing three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two English League Cups, two FA Community Shields, a UEFA Champions League crown and two African Footballer of the Year awards during an eight-year period with Chelsea. After half a season at Shanghai Shenhua, Drogba committed himself to Galatasaray, where he has since picked up winners’ medals in the Turkish League and Turkish Super Cup.
12. Konstantinos Mitroglou (26) played a key role in Greece’s recent qualification for Brazil 2014, scoring three goals in their two-legged play-off victory over Romania. The dynamic striker had previously appeared at UEFA EURO 2012 and at the 2007 UEFA European U-19 Championship, where he finished second and topped the scoring charts. He started out in Borussia Monchengladbach’s reserve side, prior to enjoying success with Olympiacos in the shape of three Greek League titles, three Greek Cups and a Greek Super Cup. Loan periods at Panionios and then Atromitos – at the conclusion of which he was named Greek Footballer of the Year – ensued, as did an eventual transfer to Fulham at the turn of the year.
13. Edgar Davids (41) represented the Netherlands at France 1998 and at three European Championships in a row (1996, 2000 and 2004). A product of Ajax’s youth academy, he swiftly became a first-team regular at the Amsterdam club, bagging four Dutch titles, two Dutch Cups, four Dutch Super Cups, a Champions League title, a UEFA Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. Following a stint at AC Milan, the hard-working midfield man joined Juventus, with whom he triumphed in three Serie A league campaigns, two Italian Super Cups and a UEFA Intertoto Cup. Davids then embarked on a brief loan spell with Barcelona, before moving to Inter Milan, where he lifted the Coppa Italia. The dogged Dutchman later played for Tottenham Hotspur, Ajax (again), Crystal Palace and Barnet, where was appointed manager in December 2012. He left the Conference club earlier this year.
14. Kim Nam Il (37) played at three World Cups with Korea Republic, finishing fourth in 2002. The tireless defensive midfielder also took part in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup and the 2002 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where his nation reached the semi-finals. Although he has spent the majority of his career in Asia, pulling on the jerseys of outfits such as Chunnam Dragons, Suwon Bluewings, with whom he hoisted the Korean League Cup and Korean Super Cup, and Vissel Kobe, he nevertheless enjoyed two European adventures, first with Dutch club Excelsior and then with Russian side Tom Tomsk. In 2012, he returned from Russia to defend the colours of Incheon United. The Korean international signed for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the turn of the year.
15. Medhi Lacen (30) performed for Algeria at the 2010 World Cup and during the qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. The defensive midfielder was also part of the Fennec Foxes’ squad at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Born in France, Lacen started off at Laval and Valence, before moving to Spain to turn out for Alaves, Racing Santander and current club Getafe.