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.
Peter Rufai (51) was Nigeria’s last line of defence during the 1980s and 90s, starring in two FIFA World Cup™ tournaments: USA 1994, where he captained the side and reached the Round of 16, and France 1998, where the Super Eagles again advanced from the group stage. In addition, the reliable shot-stopper played a key role in his country’s 1994 CAF Africa Cup of Nations triumph, which opened the door to the 1995 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he and his team-mates claimed a creditable fourth place. At club level, Rufai turned out for numerous European clubs, including Lokeren, Beveren, Go Ahead Eagles, Farense, Hercules and Deportivo La Coruna.
Hao Haidong (44) was a stalwart of the Chinese national team for two decades, during which time he propelled them to their first-ever World Cup, at Korea/Japan 2002. The prolific goalscorer also took part in three AFC Asian Cups, finishing second in 2004 and third in 1992. The Qingdao native started out at Beijing-based Bayi, before going on to secure five Chinese League titles, one Chinese Cup, three Chinese Super Cups and two Chinese Footballer of the Year awards with Dalian Shide. In 2005, the Asian striker’s unerring eye for goal, which had previously seen him crowned top goalscorer in China three times, earned him a move to Sheffield United, but unfortunate injury problems forced him to prematurely hang up his boots.
Kim Un-Hyang (21) lifted the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup New Zealand 2008 with Korea DPR, and later competed in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2010 and 2012, exiting at the quarter-final stage on both occasions. In 2012, the North Korean defender participated at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in London.
Maxwell (33) was part of Brazil’s squad for the 2014 World Cup, but will likely be highly disappointed with his side’s eventual fourth-place finish. The speedy left-back started out at Cruzeiro, with whom he won the Brazilian Cup, prior to exporting his skills to Europe, where he sealed two Eredivisie titles, two Dutch Cups and two Dutch Super Cups with Ajax, as well as three Serie A Championships and two Italian Super Cups with Inter Milan. A transfer to Barcelona saw the incisive Brazilian add two Liga crowns, three Spanish Super Cups, a UEFA Champions League title, two UEFA Super Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup to his footballing CV. In January 2012, Maxwell put pen to paper with Paris Saint-Germain, later winning two Ligue 1 titles, a French League Cup and two Trophees des champions.
Daniel Andersson (37) travelled to Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006 with Sweden, making one appearance at the latter tournament. The influential midfielder also participated in the UEFA European Championships of 2000 and 2008. After turning professional at Malmo, he defended the colours of Italian outfits Bari, Venezia, Chievo and Ancona. Upon returning to Malmo, Andersson clinched two Allsvenskan Championships with the Swedish heavyweights.
Gonzalo Jara (29) appeared for Chile at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, as well as at the 2007 and 2011 Copa America contests. As a younger man, the versatile defender took part in the 2005 U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands. Jara came through the ranks at Talcahuano-based Huachipato, where his strong performances piqued the interest of Colo-Colo, who acquired his services in 2007. Four seasons at West Bromwich Albion followed, during which time he was loaned out to Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest. After joining the former European champions on a more permanent basis in 2013, he signed for Bundesliga side Mainz the following summer.
Pavel Nedved (42) is regarded as a legend of Czech football, whose sublime skills kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout his career. He was a lynchpin of the Czech Republic team that reached the World Cup – their first as an independent nation – in 2006, having previously attained the final of EURO 1996 and the semi-finals of the 1997 Confederations Cup. The graceful playmaker also appeared at two other European Championships, in 2000 and 2004. Nedved began his career at Dukla Prague, but quickly committed himself to city rivals Sparta Prague, where he scooped three national titles and a Czech Cup. A high-profile move to Lazio led to further successes for the talented midfield man, including a Serie A crown, two Italian Cups, two Italian Super Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. An eight-year spell at Juventus ensued, as did further honours in the shape of two Serie A titles, two Italian Super Cups, a Serie B Championship, a Serie A Footballer of the Year award and a European Footballer of the Year accolade. In 2003, he earned a runners-up medal in the UEFA Champions League final. After retiring from the game, the Cheb native took a seat on the Turin club’s board of directors.