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.
6. Tim Howard (37) was United States’ last line of defence at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and at Brazil 2014, having been an unused substitute at Germany 2006. The reliable goalkeeper also competed at the 2003 and 2009 FIFA Confederations Cups, reaching the final and winning the adidas Golden Glove award at the latter tournament. At the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he lifted the continental trophy in 2007 and earned a runners-up medal in 2011. As a younger man, the athletic shot-stopper played at the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup, as well as at the 2000 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Howard began his career with North Jersey Imperials and MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls), prior to exporting his skills to Manchester United, where he scooped an FA Cup, an English League Cup and an FA Community Shield. He subsequently signed for Everton, his current club.
7. Laure Lepailleur (31) made five appearances for France at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, where Les Bleues recorded their best performance to date by finishing fourth. Earlier in her career, the versatile Frenchwoman reached the quarter-finals of the 2009 UEFA European Women’s Championship and triumphed at the 2003 UEFA European Women’s U-19 Championship. After starting out at Montpellier, where the midfielder landed a French League title and a French Cup, she added two further championships (with Lyon) and a national cup (with Paris Saint-Germain) to her CV. In 2012, Lepailleur put pen to paper with Juvisy.
8. Batista (61) represented Brazil at two World Cups, namely Argentina 1978, where he and his team-mates finished third, and Spain 1982. The Porto Alegre-born midfielder also competed at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. At club level, he made his name with Internacional, with whom he obtained three Brazilian League titles and three Rio Grande do Sul State Championships, but also enjoyed success with Gremio, where he again emerged victorious from the Campeonato Gaucho. Batista later pulled on the jerseys of Palmeiras, Lazio, Avellino, Belenenses and Avai, with whom he clinched the Santa Catarina State Championship.
9. Lucas Neill (38) is regarded as one of the greatest defenders in Australian football history, after contributing to his country’s World Cup campaigns of 2006 and 2010. He also participated in the 1997 U-20 World Cup, the 2000 Olympic Football Tournament, the 2004 OFC Cup, where Australia prevailed, and two AFC Asian Cups, losing to Japan in the final in 2011. The robust centre-back defended the colours of numerous clubs during his club career, including Millwall, with whom he won the English second division, Blackburn Rovers, where he hoisted the English League Cup, West Ham United, Everton, Galatasaray, Al Jazira, Al Wasl, Sydney FC, Omiya Ardija, Watford and Doncaster Rovers.
10. Samuel Eto'o (35) is a living legend of Cameroonian football, having appeared at four World Cups, scoring three goals in eight matches, and two FIFA Confederations Cups, reaching the final in 2003. In addition, the powerful striker earned a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Football Tournament in Sydney, and starred in six CAF Africa Cup of Nations contests, claiming the continental crown twice, losing in the final twice and twice topping the competition’s scoring charts. He began his career at Real Madrid, who sent him out on loan to Leganes and Mallorca, where he then signed a permanent deal and later held aloft the Copa del Rey. In 2004, the clinical striker joined Barcelona, where he secured three Liga titles, another Spanish Cup, two Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Champions League titles and the Pichichi Trophy, before moving to Inter Milan, where he amassed a Serie A title, two Italian Cups, an Italian Super Cup, a Champions League crown and a FIFA Club World Cup. Eto'o, a four-time African Player of the Year award recipient, subsequently turned out for Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria and current club Antalyaspor.
11. Pirri (71) appeared for Spain at the 1966 and 1978 World Cups, notching one goal in four matches (in England against Argentina). The incisive midfielder started out at Grenada, but rose to prominence at Real Madrid, where he bagged no fewer than ten Liga titles, four Spanish Cups and a European Cup. After 16 seasons in the Spanish capital, he saw out the remainder of his career with Mexican outfit Puebla.
12. Patrick Battiston (59) helped France to capture their first-ever UEFA European Championship in 1984. The solid defender also played in three consecutive World Cups: Argentina 1978, Spain 1982, where Les Bleus finished fourth, and Mexico 1986, where they finished third. In 1976, he took part in the Olympic Football Tournament in Montreal. The Amneville native spent the entirety of his career in France, plying his trade with Metz, Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, and Monaco, winning the French League with Les Verts, three league crowns and a French Cup with Les Girondins and a final French Championship with Les Rouges et Blancs.