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.
24 Lionel Messi (25) has many reasons to be satisfied as he blows out the candles on his birthday cake this year. His season got off to the best possible start, as he first helped Barcelona to see off Real Madrid to lift the Spanish Super Cup, before playing a starring role in the Catalan club’s UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup victories. At the beginning of 2012, he was awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the third consecutive time. While Barça were unable to reach the final of the UEFA Champions League or catch Real in La Liga, they did round off their campaign with a consolatory Copa del Rey success. On a personal level, Messi broke numerous records this past season, scoring an astonishing 73 goals, including 14 in the Champions League and 50 in the Spanish championship. These remarkable figures also had the added bonus of making him Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer. As part of the Argentinian national team, who are currently third in the South American qualifying table for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, the skilful forward will be looking to put some of his disappointments behind him. On top of his long list of football triumphs, Messi has also recently learned that he will soon become a father for the first time.
25 Charlie Davies (25) represented the United States at the 2007 Copa America, the Olympic Football Tournament at Beijing 2008, the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He began his professional career at Hammarby in Sweden, before moving to French outfit Sochaux. Davies was caught up in a fatal car crash in October 2009, where he himself suffered life-threatening injuries, but the striker managed to return to training in May 2010, narrowly missing out on 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Following a season-long loan at DC United, he will now be keen to renew acquaintances with the stadiums of Ligue 1 in August.
26 Samir Nasri (25) played a key role in Manchester City’s long-awaited Premier League conquest this season, as well as in their FA Cup success in 2012. Having missed out on a place in France’s squad for South Africa 2010, he subsequently established himself with Les Bleus, becoming a mainstay of Laurent Blanc’s revamped side, and propelling the team to the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2012 before Saturday's defeat to Spain. The creative winger first made a name for himself at Marseille, before signing for Arsenal. Three seasons later, following protracted transfer negotiations, he joined City. Prior to that, Nasri had participated in EURO 2008 and was part of the team that won the UEFA European U-17 Championship.
27 Adil Hermach (26) is on the cusp of what is likely to be a long international career with Morocco; he took part in the most recent CAF Africa Cup of Nations, and is currently involved in the qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and the 2013 Cup of Nations. Hermach made his professional debut for Lens, before being loaned out to Roeselare in Belgium. His performances came to the attention of Saudi club Al Hilal, who signed him up at the beginning of last season. The defensive midfielder has enjoyed a successful campaign with his new club, winning the Crown Prince Cup and reaching the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League.
28 Nawaf Al Temiyat (36) is one of the greatest players in the history of Saudi Arabian football. He represented the Green Falcons at three FIFA World Cups (France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006) and appeared in the final of the 2000 AFC Asian Cup. At club level, he won five championships, three Crown Prince Cups, two AFC Champions League titles and two Asian Cup Winners’ Cups with Al Hilal. The midfielder collected many individual prizes during his career, the most prestigious of which was Asian Player of the Year in 2000.
29 Yann M'Vila (22) is one of the rising stars of French football, a status that led to his selection for Laurent Blanc’s squad ahead of EURO 2012. Unfortunately, an injury picked up just a few days before the tournament was due to kick off cost him his place in the team until their final group game. Previously, M'vila played in the side that attained the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He currently defends the colours of Rennes, who are likely to find it increasingly difficult to rebuff the advances of the major European clubs keen on signing him.
30 Justo Villar (35) put in some brilliant displays between the sticks for Paraguay during the 2011 Copa America, despite his side losing the final of the tournament to Uruguay. He has represented his country at two FIFA World Cups (Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010) and two editions of the Copa America (in 2004 and 2007). Villar has spent the majority of his career in South America, starting out at Sol America. He moved to Libertad, where he secured the Paraguayan title, before departing for Newell's Old Boys, with whom he collected an Apertura winners’ medal in 2004. He then crossed the Atlantic to put pen to paper with Real Valladolid. Three seasons later, he returned to Argentina to sign for Estudiantes. His consistent goalkeeping has attracted many individual accolades, including the 2004 Paraguayan Footballer of the Year award and the Copa America Best Goalkeeper prize in 2011.