In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays during the coming week.
Oh Beom-Seok (28) took part in Korea Republic’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ campaign, and is currently doing his best in Asian qualifying to ensure his country also makes an appearance at Brazil 2014. The combative right-back participated in the FIFA U-20 World Cup UAE 2003, and was a member of the Korean side that secured third place at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. He kicked off his club career in his homeland with Pohang Steelers, prior to packing his bags for Japan, where he turned out for Yokohama. Beom-Seok then enjoyed a spell with Russian outfit Krylya Sovetov, before returning to Korea to play for both Ulsan and Suwon Bluewings.
Hope Solo (31) has been USA’s first-choice goalkeeper since the Olympic Football Tournament at Beijing 2008, where she picked up a coveted gold medal. She is also currently part of the United States team striving to defend their title at London 2012. She is yet to taste similar success at the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, however, securing third- and second-placed finishes at China 2007 and Germany 2011 respectively, earning the adidas Golden Glove award at the latter. The athletic custodian started out at the University of Washington before turning professional with Philadelphia Charge. She then crossed the Atlantic to play for Gothenburg in Sweden and Lyon in France. Solo subsequently retraced her steps to represent American clubs Saint Louis Athletica, Atlanta Beat, magicJack and Seattle Sounders.
Carlos Marchena (33) has amassed more winners’ medals than many footballers could ever dream of, the most treasured of which is likely the one obtained with Spain at the FIFA World Cup in 2010. He was also part of the Spanish side that triumphed at UEFA EURO 2008 and finished in third spot at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. In his younger days, he won the FIFA U-20 World Cup Nigeria 1999 and came second at the Olympic Football Tournament at Sydney 2000. Marchena’s first club was Sevilla, and it was while playing for the Andalusian outfit that he caught the eye of Benfica. The defender’s stint in Lisbon was followed by a transfer to Valencia, where his career moved onto a different level with victories in two La Liga campaigns, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. Having enjoyed great success with Los Che, he decided a new challenge was in order, and duly joined Villarreal in 2010.
Nwankwo Kanu (36) is one of Nigerian football’s most legendary and decorated players. After having led his country to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1993 and obtained a gold medal at Atlanta 1996, he then played a key role in qualifying the Super Eagles for their second-ever FIFA World Cup, at France 1998. The skilful forward also defended his country’s colours at Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010, as well as at six consecutive CAF Africa Cup of Nations, finishing in the runners-up position on home soil in 2000. At domestic level, he attained a Nigerian league winners’ medal with Iwuanyanwu Nationale, before signing for Ajax, where he won three Dutch championships, a UEFA Champions League title, a UEFA Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. He was then transferred to Inter Milan, where his new employers also emerged victorious in the UEFA Cup. A move to Arsenal from Italy brought more success in the shape of two English league titles, two FA Cups and a Community Shield. After two seasons with West Bromwich Albion, he put pen to paper with Portsmouth, where he once again lifted the FA Cup. During his remarkable career, Kanu was named African Footballer of the Year on two occasions.
Michel Bastos (29) appeared at South Africa 2010, playing in all of Brazil’s matches and putting in numerous fine performances down the left flank. He began his professional career in the Netherlands at Rotterdam-based outfit Excelsior, before returning to Brazil, where he starred for Atletico Paranaense, Gremio and Figueirense. The talented South American then embarked on a new European adventure, spending three seasons with French side Lille prior to joining Ligue 1 rivals Lyon, with whom he hoisted the Coupe de France last season.
Wael Gomaa (37) is one of the biggest names in the Egyptian game, due in no small part to his anchoring the Pharaohs’ defence during three victorious Africa Cup of Nations tournaments in a row. In addition, he took part in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where the North Africans made a considerable impression, and he picked up a gold medal at the 2007 Pan Arab Games. Beyond the senior side, the centre-back also experienced success with Egypt’s army team, winning the World Military Cup and the African Military Cup of Nations. At club level, Gomaa enjoyed various triumphs with Al Ahly, specifically six league championships, three Egyptian Cups, five Egyptian Super Cups, four CAF Champions League titles and four CAF Super Cups. He also appeared at three FIFA Club World Cups, claiming third spot in 2006.
Fabiana (23) broke into the starting XI of Brazil’s women’s team at a very young age, attaining a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Three years later she took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, but was unable to inspire her side to advance past the quarter-finals. She is presently taking part in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament at London 2012. Domestically, Fabiana started off at Corinthians, but promptly moved to USA to represent Boston Breakers. After a stint back in Brazil with Santos, she signed for Russian club Rossiyanka last year.