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.
26 Mohammed Noor (34) is a star for both Saudi Arabia and Al-Ittihad. The creative midfielder has appeared in two FIFA Word Cups™ (Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006) and the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. Noor was a member of the Green Falcons side that were beaten finalists in the AFC Asian Cup 2002 and won an Arab Nations Cup in 2002 and a Gulf Cup of Nations in 2003. At Jeddah-based Al-Ittihad, he has played a major part in the club’s recent success.
In more than a decade with The Tigers, the playmaker has lifted six league titles, two Saudi Crown Prince Cups, one Saudi Federation Cup, one Saudi King Cup of Champions and a Saudi-Egyptian Super Cup. On the international stage, Noor has won the AFC Champions League twice, in 2004 and 2005, an Asian Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999, an Arab Champions League in 2004 and a Gulf Club Champions Cup in 1999. The player known as the 'Saudi Patrick Vieira' is still going strong and will be hoping to lift many more trophies with his beloved Al-Ittihad.
27 Carlos Alberto Parreira (69) has been in charge of a national side at a FIFA World Cup no fewer than six times. He first experienced the global showpiece as a member of backroom staff for the victorious Brazilian team in Mexico in 1970. Then, in 1982, he led minnows Kuwait to a first and only FIFA World Cup appearance, during which Al-Azraq managed one point in three matches and were knocked out in the group stages. Next, the Brazilian held the reins of fellow underdogs United Arab Emirates, who lost all their matches in their first and only appearance at Italy 1990. Parreira’s chance for glory came at USA 1994, and he took it, leading his native Brazil to a first FIFA World Cup triumph in 24 years.
He then managed Saudi Arabia, in a second spell, at France 1998, where they finished winless. Ten years before, in his first stint with the Green Falcons, the tactician lifted the AFC Asian Cup. Back in charge of the Seleção at Germany 2006, Parreira could only watch as his side were knocked out in the quarter-finals by a Thierry Henry goal for France. However, the coach did win the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and Copa America 2004 with Brazil. His latest appearance at football’s biggest tournament was at the helm of the hosts at South Africa 2010 where Bafana Bafana were unfortunate to miss out on a spot in the Round of 16 on goal difference, despite defeating France 2-1. His managerial career has seen him coach a host of clubs, including Fluminense, Santos, Internacional, Corinthians and Sao Paulo in his homeland and Valencia, Fenerbahçe and New York MetroStars abroad.
28 Sepp Maier (68) is one of the greatest goalkeepers ever to guard the posts of the German national side. With Germany FR (West Germany), he participated in three FIFA World Cups. At Brazil 1970, he was mainly a deputy to Hans Tilkowski as the Germans finished third. Four years later, on home soil, he was an undisputed starter as Die Mannschaft lifted their first FIFA World Cup since 1954.
'The Cat From Anzing also played in two UEFA European Championships, winning his first, in Belgium in 1972, and finishing a runner-up four years later in Yugoslavia. The goalminder spent the whole of his career at Bayern Munich, where he won four Bundesligas, four German Cups, three consecutive European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups and one Intercontinental Cup. He then coached goalkeepers for the German national side during four FIFA World Cups and four UEFA European Championships. Maier’s individual honours include being named German Footballer Of The Year three times.
29 Taylor Twellman (32) is a retired American striker who never quite had the opportunity to show off all his goalscoring skills with the national side. Twellman was a squad member at the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and the Copa America 2007, and participated in Team USA’s 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup Triumph. After a spell at Munich 1860, the forward signed for New England Revolution, where he won the US Open Cup and the North American SuperLiga. A series of superb performances in 2005 led to him being awarded both the MLS Most Valuable Player and the MLS Golden Boot. However, after being plagued by injury, Twellman retired in 2010.
1 Carlos Vela (23) is one of Mexico’s brightest young stars. The tricky forward came to the world’s attention for the first time when he starred for the Mexico side that lifted the FIFA U-17 World Championships in Peru, earning the adidas Golden Shoe on the way. He also participated in the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2007, in Canada, and in the Tricolor’s triumph at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup, before helping Mexico to the Round of 16 at South Africa 2010, where they lost 3-1 to Argentina. Vela earned a move to Arsenal but has failed to tie down a regular starting spot, instead spending loan spells at Salamanca, Osasuna, West Bromwich Albion and currently Real Sociedad.
2 Younis Mahmoud (29) played a memorable part in Iraq’s first triumph at the AFC Asian Cup, in 2007, scoring the winning goal in the final and being named most valuable player, as well as finishing as joint top-scorer of the competition. This historic victory qualified the Lions of Mesopotamia for their first ever FIFA Confederations Cup, at South Africa 2009. The current Iraqi captain was in the team that reached the semi-finals of the Olympic Football Tournament Athens 2004 and won silver at the Asian Games in 2006.
He also participated in two other AFC Asian Cups, in 2004 and 2011 and lifted the second edition of the West Asian Football Federation Championships, scoring late in the final to take the game to extra-time. After starting his career with Baghdad-based Al-Talaba, the forward left his country to play in the UAE, where he had a loan spell with Al-Wahda before moving to Qatar. At Al-Khor, he won the Qatari Cup before signing with Al-Gharrafa. In Doha, the prolific goalscorer, who has been awarded many minor individual honours, won three league titles and a wealth of national competitions including the Qatari Crown Prince Cup, the Qatari Stars Cup and the Emir Of Qatar Cup. In late 2011, Mahmoud completed a transfer to Al-Wakrah.
3 Bob Bradley (54) coached the United States at South Africa 2010, where the Stars and Stripes reached the Round of 16 before succumbing to Ghana. His side also had an exceptional run in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, ending Spain’s joint record of 35 games unbeaten in the semi-finals. In the final, USA went 2-0 up early on against Brazil, but the Seleção fought back to clinch a 3-2 victory. Two years earlier, Bradley oversaw his USA side at the 2007 Copa America. Currently in charge of Egypt, Bradley is hoping to lead the Pharaohs to qualification for both the next FIFA World Cup and CAF African Cup Of Nations.