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.
31. David Ospina (26) pulled on the No1 jersey for Colombia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, where he and his team-mates reached the quarter-finals. The goalkeeper played in all five of Los Cafeteros’ encounters, only conceding four goals and cementing his reputation as one of his national team’s key players. After starting out at Atletico Nacional, where he won two Colombian League titles, Ospina moved to Nice and then to Arsenal, his current club.
1. Hakan Sukur (43) is a living legend of Turkish football, having propelled his country to the World Cup at Korea/Japan 2002 after nearly a 50-year absence. At the tournament proper, the Turks beat Korea Republic in the match for third place courtesy of a memorable goal from the clinical forward after 11 seconds, the fastest strike ever recorded on football’s greatest stage. In addition, the Sakarya-born striker competed at the UEFA EURO 1996 and 2000. Sukur came through the ranks at Sakaryaspor, lifting the Turkish Cup in his first season in the senior squad. A transfer to Bursaspor was followed by the first of three spells at Galatasaray, during which he clinched a total of eight Turkish Championships, five Turkish Cups and three Turkish Super Cups, and finished top of the scoring charts on three occasions. The robust attacker also represented Torino, Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers and Parma, with whom he hoisted the Coppa d'Italia.
2. Rafik Halliche (28) played a key role in Algeria’s historic run to the Round of 16 at Brazil 2014, where he took part in four matches and scored a crucial goal against Korea Republic. The commanding centre-back had previously appeared at South Africa 2010 and two CAF Africa Cup of Nations contests, in 2010 and 2013. He began his career with NA Hussein Dey, where his performances attracted the interest of Benfica. Halliche later turned out for Nacional, Fulham, Academica and current employers Qatar SC.
3. Jerome Boateng (26) is likely to look back at the last twelve months with pride while celebrating his birthday, having recently participated in and emerged victorious from Brazil 2014. The energetic defender was also part of the sides that claimed third at South Africa 2010 and reached the semi-finals of EURO 2012. As a younger man, he enjoyed success at the 2009 UEFA European U-21 Championship. Boateng turned professional at Hertha Berlin, before signing for Hamburg and then Manchester City, where he held aloft the FA Cup. In 2011, the German international committed himself to Bayern Munich, where he has since secured two Bundesliga titles, two German DFB-Pokals, a DFL-Supercup, a UEFA Champions League title, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.
4. Ayumi Kaihori (28) was Japan’s last line of defence at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, where she was the heroine of the penalty shoot-out in the Final against USA. The following year, she obtained a silver medal at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in London, her second appearance on that stage after Beijing 2008. At club level, Kaihori scooped three Japanese League titles, four Empress’ Cups and a Japanese League Cup with Kobe Leonessa.
5. Nuri Sahin (26) rose to early prominence by clinching the UEFA European U-17 Championship with Turkey in 2005, a victory that qualified his nation for the FIFA U-17 World Cup later that year, where they finished fourth. The talented midfielder came away from that tournament with the adidas Bronze Ball and adidas Silver Shoe awards. A product of Borussia Dortmund’s youth academy, he earned a promotion to the senior team at the tender age of 16, becoming the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever player in the process. Following a one-season loan period at Feyenoord, during which he landed the Dutch Cup, he returned to Die Schwarzgelben, subsequently developing into one of the team’s key performers and contributing to the capture of the 2011 Bundesliga crown. The creative Turk then joined Real Madrid, but injury severely restricted his playing time. After a loan stint at Liverpool, he retraced his footsteps to Dortmund, with whom he attained the UEFA Champions League final and lifted two German Super Cups.
6. Stephane Guivarc'h (44) can look back with pride on a career that saw him win the World Cup on home soil at France 1998, during which he spearheaded Les Bleus' attack. The hard-working striker started out at Brest, prior to defending the colours of Guingamp, Auxerre, where he earned a French Ligue 1 winners’ medal, Rennes, Newcastle United and Rangers, with whom he bagged a Scottish League, Cup and League Cup treble. Guivarc’h finished top scorer twice in Ligue 1 and once in the UEFA Cup.