In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names from Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
19 - Kleberson (32) is unlikely to ever forget the emotions he felt on 30 June 2002, the day he and his Brazil colleagues lifted the most coveted trophy in world football. The defensive midfielder was a key figure as A Seleçao won their most recent FIFA World Cup™ and he likewise helped Brazil triumph in the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 and the 2004 Copa America. Back on the world stage at South Africa 2010, Kleberson can similarly pride himself on having represented a number of prestigious clubs, including Flamengo and Manchester United. After collecting a healthy list of winners’ medals, he returned to the team where it all began for him, Atletico Paranaense, earlier this year.
20 - Jose Basualdo (48) played alongside Diego Maradona for Argentina, holding down a starting place as La Albiceleste advanced through Italy 1990, only to succumb to West Germany in the showpiece. He was also part of the Argentina side that claimed the country’s last Copa America crown, in 1993, while his club career featured stints at Stuttgart, Boca Juniors and Velez Sarsfield. Since hanging up his boots, he has turned his hand to coaching and is keen on experiencing similar success.
21 - Michel Platini (56) is nothing short of a world football icon. Not only was he the driving force as France won their first major title at UEFA EURO 1984, he finished the tournament as top scorer, and he appeared in three consecutive FIFA World Cup final tournaments between 1978 and 1986. The legendary playmaker won everything during his career, not least the European Cup with Juventus in 1985, beating Liverpool in a final remembered principally for the Heysel Stadium tragedy. With the Turin giants, he also clinched the Serie A title and Coppa Italia, the UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. Before that, he claimed the Ligue 1 crown with Saint-Etienne and helped Nancy lift the French Cup, while on the personal front he topped the Serie A scoring charts three times, received three Ballon d’Or awards, and was named player of the year twice in France and once in Italy. After ending his playing days, Platoche coached France at EURO 1992 and now overseas European football as president of UEFA.
22 - Nelson Tapia (45) enjoys the reputation of having been one of Chile’s greatest ever goalkeepers. He played a leading role as the South American nation advanced to the last 16 at the 1998 FIFA World Cup France, as well as appearing in a pair of Copa America final tournaments. Tapia played his club football in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, winning a Brazilian title with Santos.
23 - Patrick Vieira (35) has made a habit of winning silverware throughout his career and in particular with the French national team. A FIFA World Cup winner on home soil in 1998, the powerful holding midfielder added EURO 2000 and the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup to his list of tournaments won with Les Bleus, and he came close to further glory at Germany 2006 as France finished runners-up. His finest years in the professional realm were spent at Arsenal, before he left for Italy and spells with Juventus and Inter Milan. Vieira continues to expand his medal collection even now, having won the FA Cup with Manchester City in May.
24 - Lionel Messi (24) is a football phenomenon whose gift for breaking records left and right has made him an undisputed star of the contemporary game. A product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, he has already amassed a startling collection of titles with the Catalan club, playing a central role as Barça won all six competitions they disputed in 2009. Overall, with the diminutive magician on board the Camp Nou giants have secured three UEFA Champions League triumphs, five La Liga titles, four Spanish Super Cups, a Copa del Rey, the FIFA Club World Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. Although he is far from being a traditional centre-forward, Messi has finished top scorer in the Champions League on three occasions and once in the Spanish league. The individual honours have flowed too, with La Pulga (The Flea) receiving the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2009 and 2010. In addition, he has represented Argentina at two FIFA World Cups, in 2006 and 2010. That is the one competition he may need to win to be judged in the same category as his compatriot, Maradona. Albiceleste supporters will therefore be keeping a hopeful eye on the extraordinary prodigy in the years to come, starting with the 2011 edition of the Copa America due to kick off on Argentinian soil next month.
25 - Karim Matmour (26) is a name dear to Algerian football fans everywhere after the forward helped Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) return to the forefront of the international game with a berth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. He also defended his nation’s colours in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations earlier that same year, while in the club arena he plies his trade with Borussia Monchengladbach, having joined from fellow Bundesliga outfit Freiburg.