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.
10. Cat Whitehill (31) helped United States to finish third at two FIFA Women’s World Cup™ competitions in a row, in 2003 and 2007, and earned a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament in Athens. In common with a number of other American internationals, the solid defender honed her skills at the University of North Carolina. Her subsequent professional career saw her turn out for a handful of USA-based clubs, including Washington Freedom, Atlanta Beat and current employers Boston Breakers.
11. Rafael Van der Vaart (30) has, for many years, been a key player for the Dutch national side, whose fans greatly appreciate his leadership attributes and playmaking abilities. He took part in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, and made an appearance in the Final of the same tournament four years later, in South Africa. The dynamic midfielder has also participated in the last three UEFA European Championships, playing nine times and scoring once, and in the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He initially rose to prominence at Ajax, securing two Dutch League titles, a Dutch Cup and Dutch Super Cup. After six seasons in Amsterdam, Van der Vaart moved to Hamburg, where he won two UEFA Intertoto Cups. A two-year spell at Real Madrid, during which he lifted the Spanish Super Cup, was followed by a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur in England. He re-signed for Hamburg at the beginning of this campaign.
12. Nicolas Otamendi (25) was called up for Argentina’s squad for South Africa 2010, and appears to be well on his way to representing his country at Brazil 2014 as well. The versatile defender turned professional in his homeland at Velez Sarsfield, with whom he claimed a national championship, before crossing the ocean to join Porto shortly after the last FIFA World Cup. Otamendi’s first two seasons with Os Dragões have been highly successful, as he has added two Portuguese League titles, one Portuguese Cup, two Portuguese Super Cups and a UEFA Europa League crown to his expanding footballing CV.
13. Mahmoud Fathallah (31) has been a regular starter for Egypt for the best part of eight years, playing a crucial role in his nation’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations triumphs of 2008 and 2010, and appearing at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. The defensive stalwart is heavily involved in the Pharaohs’ present attempts to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, a feat they have not achieved since 1990. At club level, Fathallah started out at Ghazl El-Mehalla, before putting pen to paper with Zamalek, where he has since become one of the lynchpins of the team. He hoisted the Egyptian Cup with the Giza giants in 2008.
14. Edinson Cavani (26) has emerged as one of the most feared forwards in Europe in recent seasons, courtesy of his ability to pierce even the most miserly defences. With Uruguay, he participated in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, prior to stepping up to the senior side, reaching the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and triumphing at the 2011 Copa America. In addition, the rangy striker turned out for Uruguay’s Olympic XI at London 2012. Cavani’s club career began at Danubio, where he landed the Uruguayan championship and attracted the attention of Italian outfit Palermo in the process. His scoring prowess in Sicily then earned him a move to Napoli, where he propelled his new team-mates to the upper echelons of Serie A and to success in the Italian Cup, a competition in which he finished top scorer.
15. Philipp Degen (30) represented Switzerland at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, after having previously played at the UEFA European U-21 Championship. Degen’s career began at Basel, where he earned winners’ medals in three Swiss League campaigns and a Swiss Cup final. After stints at Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Stuttgart, he returned home to re-join the RotBlau, winning a further league and cup double last season.
16. Angelo Peruzzi (43) is one of a host of top-class goalkeepers to emerge from Italy over the past two decades, and capped off a long and productive career by holding aloft the FIFA World Cup in 2006. He had previously been a member of the Italian squad that competed at UEFA EURO 1996. The athletic shot-stopper started off at Roma, and also spent a year with Hellas Verona, but it was in the colours of Juventus that he truly made his name. During a trophy-laden period for the Turin club, Peruzzi bagged three Serie A titles, an Italian Cup, two Italian Super Cups, a UEFA Champions League crown, a UEFA Cup, a UEFA Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup. A barren spell at Inter Milan followed, but he got back to winning ways at Lazio, again lifting the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana, before finally hanging up his gloves.