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.
10. Choi Soonho (54) represented Korea Republic at two FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, at Mexico 1986, where he played in two matches and scored against Italy, and at Italy 1990, where he made three appearances but could not prevent his nation from suffering an early exit. The lanky striker had previously competed at the FIFA U-20 World Cups of 1979 and 1981, and the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, where he topped the scoring charts at 18 years of age as the South Koreans reached the final. He later starred on home soil at the 1988 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Seoul and obtained a gold and bronze medal at two successive Asian Games. At club level, he clinched a Korean League title with POSCO Atoms (now Pohang Steelers) and also turned out for Lucky-Goldstar Hwangso (now FC Seoul). A move into coaching saw the former international forward take the reins of Steelers and Ulsan Hyundai.
11. Matt McKay (33) took part in the 2014 World Cup with Australia, playing in two group-stage matches prior to his country’s elimination. The versatile midfielder is currently involved in the Socceroos’ Asian qualifying campaign for Russia 2018. After reaching the final of the 2011 Asian Cup, he and his team-mates went one better next time around in 2015 by lifting the continental trophy. As a younger man, the Brisbane native participated in the 2003 U-20 World Cup. He started out at Brisbane Strikers, but enjoyed greater success with Brisbane Roar, where he won two A-League titles. McKay later pulled on the jerseys of Rangers (Scotland), Busan IPark (Korea Republic) and Changchun Yatai (China).
12. Axel Witsel (27) was a key member of the Belgium XI that reached the quarter-finals of Brazil 2014, and he will be a crucial component once more as Les Diables Rouges go in search of European glory at UEFA EURO 2016. The all-action midfielder rose to prominence at Standard Liege, amassing two Belgian Pro League titles, a Belgian Cup, a Belgian Super Cup and a Belgian Footballer of the Year award. A spell at Benfica followed, during which he raised the Portuguese League Cup and attracted the interest of Zenit St. Petersburg, who secured his signature in 2012. Since arriving at Petrovsky Stadium, Witsel has added a Russian Championship and Russian Super Cup to his CV.
13. Mario Yepes (40) gained a taste of football’s greatest stage late in his career, at Brazil 2014, but made the most of the experience by helping Colombia reach the quarter-finals versus the hosts, which equated to Los Cafeteros' best-ever World Cup performance. The robust centre-back had previously appeared in four Copa America contests, holding aloft the continental trophy in 2001. In 2003, he was part of the Colombian side that finished fourth at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The no-nonsense defender turned professional at Cortulua, before moving to Deportivo Cali, where he bagged a Colombian League title, and then River Plate, with whom he landed two Argentinian Championships. He later played for Nantes, Paris Saint-Germain, where he hoisted the French Cup and French League Cup, Chievo and AC Milan, where he collected a Serie A title and an Italian Super Cup. After bringing his stay in Italy to a close with a season-long stint at Atalanta, he joined San Lorenzo, marshalling the Buenos Aires-based club’s defence as they attained the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2014, where they lost to Real Madrid.
14. Maurine (30) has donned the colours of Brazil at several major events, including the FIFA Women’s World Cups™ of 2011 and 2015, and the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, where she gained a silver medal. The adaptable defender also took part in the 2012 Olympics in London, as well as in three FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups, finishing third at the 2006 edition. She lifted the Brazilian Cup and the Copa Libertadores Femenina twice with Santos, before trying her luck in the United States with Western New York Flash. Maurine later returned to Brazil, signing for Centro Olimpico and then Ferroviaria, with whom she claimed another national cup.
15. Mohamed Timoumi (56) inspired Morocco to top their group and reach the knockout stages at Mexico 1986, the only time that the Atlas Lions have achieved such a feat. The attacking midfielder also showcased his skills at the 1984 Olympic Football Tournament and the 1980 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, where the Moroccans finished third. After making his name with FAR Rabat, where he won two Moroccan League titles, two Moroccan Cups, an African Cup of Champions Clubs and an African Footballer of the Year award. Timoumi plied his trade for Murcia, Lokeren and Khouribga.
16. Pablo Zabaleta (31) contributed to Argentina’s run to the 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil, where he and his compatriots were defeated by Germany. The tenacious full-back previously participated in the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2003 and 2005 U-20 World Cups, the latter of which was won by the South Americans. He also earned a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament and competed in two Copa America competitions, losing to Chile in the 2015 final. Zabaleta captured the Copa Sudamericana with San Lorenzo, prior to packing his bags for Europe, where he got his hands on the Copa del Rey with Espanyol and then two English Premier League titles, an FA Cup, an English League Cup and an FA Community Shield with Manchester City.