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.
18. Sol Campbell (38) was a towering figure at the heart of the England defence for many years and appeared at three UEFA EURO championships and three consecutive FIFA World Cup™ finals (France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006), scoring a goal against Sweden in 2002. So distinguished were his performances in Korea and Japan and at Portugal 2004, that he was named in the official Team of the Tournament at both competitions. His club career began at Tottenham Hotspur, Campbell becoming a firm favourite with the White Hart Lane faithful and helping Spurs to lift the English League Cup in 1999. Further trophies would follow when he moved across north London to join age-old rivals Arsenal, the centre-half winning two league titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shields during his time at Highbury. Campbell also came close to European success with the Gunners, scoring the goal that gave them the lead in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona, only for the Catalans to fight back to win 2-1. A fourth FA Cup winners’ medal would come his way following a subsequent move to Portsmouth.
19. David Seaman (48) was the last in a line of great England goalkeepers, succeeding the legendary Peter Shilton as the nation’s No1 and making the position his own for many years. In representing his country he played at two FIFA World Cups (France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002) and two UEFA EURO championships (England 1996 and Netherlands/Belgium 2000). Starting out in the youth teams at Leeds United, the club he supported as a boy, Seaman hit the big time in 1990 when he joined Arsenal. During his 13-year stay at Highbury he had a hand in one success after another, helping the north Londoners to three league titles, four FA Cups, one League Cup and three Community Shields. A member of the side that won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994, Seaman reappeared in the following season’s final against Real Zaragoza. That game was settled in extra time by Nayim’s spectacular long-range strike, a goal that would haunt Seaman for the rest of his career. The dependable custodian saw out his 957-game career at Manchester City, donning his gloves for the last time in 2004.
20. Henrik Larsson (40) was one of the most accomplished strikers of his generation and made a valuable contribution to Sweden’s stirring run to third place at the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA, their best performance in the competition since hosting it in 1958. Larsson was also on duty at Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006, and appeared at three straight UEFA EURO championships between 2000 and 2008. The prolific Swede is best remembered for his achievements at domestic level, however. After making his Swedish league debut with Hogaborgs, he joined Helsingborgs and then Feyenoord , winning two Dutch Cups with the Rotterdam giants. A move to Glasgow Celtic followed, with Larsson’s prodigious goalscoring propelling the Hoops to four Scottish league titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups The top scorer in the SPL in five separate seasons, he also pocketed the European Golden Boot in 2001. Suitably impressed by those credentials, Barcelona lured him to Spain, the Swede helping them to two La Liga crowns, a Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Champions League glory in 2006. A short stay with Manchester United was sandwiched by spells with Helsingborgs, where Larsson collected a Swedish Cup winners’ medal. By the end of his richly productive career he had scored no fewer than 434 goals in 772 games for club and country.
21. Bruce Arena (60) made his name as the coach of a USA side that qualified for back-to-back FIFA World Cup finals (Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006) and two FIFA Confederations Cups. He also presided over four CONCACAF Gold Cup campaigns, emerging victorious in two of them.
22. Ronaldo Nazario de Lima (35) is one of the finest players ever to have graced the game, earning his place in the footballing pantheon thanks to his innate gift for goalscoring. The Brazilian star forged his reputation on the biggest stage of all, scoring 15 goals in four successive FIFA World Cup finals, more than any other player in the history of the competition. A teenage squad member at USA 1994, he was on the losing side in the Final at France 1998, before firing A Seleção to their fifth world title at Korea/Japan 2002. His match-winning brace against Germany in the Final took his tally for that tournament to eight, making him the first player in 24 years to score more than six goals at a single FIFA World Cup, and helped him secure the adidas Golden Boot. He furthered his legend at Germany 2006 despite his side’s quarter-final exit at the hands of France, the Brazilian surpassing Gerd Muller’s overall record of 14 world finals goals. In addition to his FIFA World Cup feats, Ronaldo also won consecutive Copa America trophies with Brazil as well as the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup. A Brazilian Cup winner with his first club Cruzeiro, he went on to win the Dutch Cup with PSV Eindhoven, ending the 1994/95 Eredivisie season as the leading scorer in the land. He showcased all his staggering talent in a brilliant one-season stay at Barcelona, scoring a hatful of goals as the Catalans won the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, while he took the coveted Pichichi title as the league’s leading scorer. Then came a move to Inter Milan, where he added the UEFA Cup to his list of career successes and was also named Serie A Footballer of the Year before being laid low by a serious knee injury. Following a long period of rehabilitation, he returned to Spain, this time linking up with Real Madrid, where more winners’ medals would come his way, with Los Blancos clinching two league titles, a Spanish Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup during his stay at the Bernabeu. Injury would strike him down again after his subsequent move to AC Milan, prompting him to return home and try his luck with Corinthians, where he won the Sao Paulo State Championship and the Brazilian Cup before making the most difficult decision of his career in 2011 and retiring. His status as a footballing legend was secure by that time, however, a status cemented by the three FIFA World Player of the Year awards he collected, not to mention his two European Footballer of the Year awards and one European Golden Boot.
23. Paolo Rossi (55) will forever be remembered for his part in Italy’s FIFA World Cup triumph at Spain 1982, scoring six goals to catapult La Squadra Azzurra to their third world title. His virtual one-man show began with a stunning hat-trick in a memorable 3-2 win over Brazil in the second round, the Italian poacher following up with a brace against Poland in the semi-final and the opener in the 3-1 defeat of West Germany in the Final. Rossi’s opportunistic finishing earned him the adidas Golden Ball and the European Footballer of the Year award for 1982. He also appeared at Argentina 1978, where he scored three goals, and made the Italy squad for Mexico 1986, though he failed to play a game on that occasion. Rossi’s greatest successes at club level came with Juventus. In addition to two Scudetti and two Coppa Italias, he won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1984 and the European Cup the following year. The leading marksman in the 1983 European Cup, he was also top scorer in the 1977/78 Serie A season, a feat he achieved while with Vicenza. A FIFA 100 inductee, he was also named by UEFA as one of the 50 greatest European players of all time.
24. Fabio Aurelio (32) has patrolled the left flank to great effect wherever he has gone. Making an impressive start to his career at Sao Paolo, where he won two state championships, he then signed for Valencia, contributing to two Spanish league triumphs and a UEFA Cup success and narrowly missing out on a UEFA Champions League winners’ medal in 2001. His next stop was Liverpool, where he tasted success in the 2006 Community Shield but endured further Champions League disappointment in the following year’s final against AC Milan.