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.
25 Djamel Belmadi (36) participated with Algeria at the CAF African Cup Of Nations 2004 and in the Fennecs’ unsuccessful attempt at qualification for the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006™. Belmadi began his club career at Paris Saint-Germain, before spending a season with Martigues in southern France. Snapped up by nearby Marseille, he was then re-signed by L'OM after a stint with Cannes and a loan spell at Spanish side Celta Vigo. The versatile playmaker spent the latter part of his career in Qatar, with Al-Ittihad and Al-Khritiyat, and England, with Manchester City and Southampton. After hanging up his boots, Belmadi took charge of Qatari outfit Lekhwiya and instantly led them to the Qatar Stars League. In his second season in Doha, the Algerian is one point away from retaining the league title.
26 Choi Jin-Cheul (41) was part of the historic Korea Republic side that finished fourth at the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002 and then qualified for Germany 2006. The defender spent his whole career with his beloved Jeonbuk, lifting three league titles and a Korean Super Cup. Choi’s greatest club achievement was in winning the AFC Champions League in 2006, leading to his participating in the FIFA Club World Cup the same year.
27 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (40) was a prolific striker who appeared for the Netherlands at the FIFA World Cup France 1998, where they finished fourth, but thereafter was unable to earn a regular spot in the national side. The striker spent a large part of his club career in England, most notably at Leeds United, where he was awarded the Golden Boot, and Chelsea, where he won a Community Shield, a second Golden Boot in 2001 and finished as runner-up in the 2002 FA Cup final. He also had spells at Charlton, Cardiff, whom he led to the FA Cup final, and Middlesbrough, with whom he reached the UEFA Cup final. The forward enjoyed a season in Spain, losing a Copa Del Rey final with Atletico Madrid, and also played in Portugal, where he earned a Portuguese Cup and Super Cup double with Boavista and in his homeland, where he made his beginnings with Telstar and AZ Alkmaar.
28 Ivan Helguera (37) was a key component of the Spain side of the early 21st century, playing in UEFA EURO 2000 and 2004 as well as the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002. After rising through the ranks of Albacete, the defender, who occasionally played as a defensive midfielder, moved to AS Roma and then Espanyol. Helguera’s solidity at the back was then spotted by giants Real Madrid and he was soon regularly gracing the pitch of the Santiago Bernabeu. In Madrid, he lifted three La Liga titles, two Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one Intercontinental Cup and one UEFA Super Cup. He won his only remaining national title, the Copa Del Rey, with Valencia, in 2008.
29 Marc Overmars (39) was one of the Netherlands’ greatest ever wingers, participating at USA 1994, France 1998 and UEFA Euro 2000 and 2004. Part of the great Ajax side of the 1990’s, he won three Eredivisies, one Dutch Cup and one Dutch Super Cup as well as a UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup treble in 1995. Success followed him to Arsenal, where he won a Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield in a three-year stay in England. A move to Barcelona followed, but here the trophy trail stopped as the Catalonian giants were going through a rare period of reconstruction. Overmars ended his glittering career back at his very first club, Go Ahead Eagles, in the Netherlands.
30 Philippe Mexes (30) is one of the most talented French defenders of his generation. A winner of the European U-18 Championship back in 2000, great things were expected of the elegant centre-back on the senior international stage, but a FIFA Confederations Cup 2003 winners-medal aside, he did not fulfil that potential until the qualifiers for EURO 2012, where he finally settled into a starting role. After lifting the French Cup with Auxerre, Mexes moved to AS Roma, where he won the Coppa Italia in successive seasons. After six consistent years with the Giallorossi he moved to AC Milan, where he won the Italian Super Cup. With the Rossoneri, he will be optimistic of his chances at finally landing a league title and even a UEFA Champions League.
31 Marco Bueno (18) played a starring role in Mexico’s triumph at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2011. A series of excellent displays there has observers tipping him for an attacking spot for El Tri in the years to come. Bueno has since earned a starting berth with Mexican giants Pachuca.