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.
18. Patrik Andersson (42) played a key role in the Swedish team that claimed an unexpected third place at the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™. After turning professional at Malmo, the robust defender pulled on the jerseys of Blackburn Rovers and then Borussia Monchengladbach, with whom he lifted the German Cup. The Swede then signed for Bayern Munich, where he won two Bundesliga titles, a German Cup, two German League Cups and a UEFA Champions League crown. Following an injury-ravaged spell at Barcelona, he returned to Malmo, where he secured the Swedish Championship. Andersson was named Swedish Footballer of the Year on two occasions.
19. Saeed Al Owairan (46) is a living legend of Saudi Arabian football, having helped the Falcons to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the very first time in 1994. At the tournament proper in the United States, he scored a truly magnificent goal against Belgium. The attack-minded performer also participated in France 1998, the first three FIFA Confederations Cups – all held in his homeland – and the AFC Asian Cup, of which he reached the final in 1992. Al Owairan represented just one club – Al Shabab – throughout his career, inspiring them to three Saudi League titles, a Crown Prince Cup, an AFC Cup Winners’ Cup and an Arab Cup of Champions Clubs. He was voted Asian Footballer of the Year in 1994.
20. Alvaro Negredo (28) has established himself as one of the most effective Spanish forwards playing the game today, and will hope to shine at new club Manchester City this season. He triumphed at UEFA EURO 2012 with La Roja and is currently involved in their qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. The clinical striker came through the ranks at Rayo Vallecano, before turning out for Real Madrid’s reserve side. It was at Almeria that he rose to prominence, however, putting in scoring performances that attracted the attention of Sevilla, where he hoisted the Copa del Rey and took his Liga goal tally to over 100. He joined City in July.
21. Robert Lewandowski (25) is regarded as one of Europe’s elite attackers, a reputation sealed by top-class displays for Borussia Dortmund over the past three seasons, during which time he has earned winners’ medals in two German League Championships, a German Cup and a German Super Cup. After starting off with a handful of modest Polish clubs, the dynamic front man moved to Lech Poznan, with whom he enjoyed success in the Polish League, Cup and Super Cup, before putting pen to paper with Dortmund. On the international stage, he starred for Poland at EURO 2012 and is presently doing his best to ensure his country qualifies for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Lewandowski was Polish Player of the Year for 2011 and 2012, and finished top scorer in the Polish Ekstraklasa in 2010.
22. Rob Witschge (47) appeared at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and EURO 1992 with the Netherlands, attaining the semi-finals at the latter tournament. The midfield man began his career at Ajax, where he held aloft the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, prior to packing his bags for Saint-Etienne. Following one season in France, he returned home to defend the colours of PSV Eindhoven, with whom he won the Dutch League, Cup and Super Cup. Witschge then spent two campaigns at Utrecht, and subsequently brought the curtain down on his career with a final year at Saudi outfit Al Ittihad. Since retiring, he has worked as part of the Dutch national team’s backroom staff and as Ajax’s assistant coach.
23. Goiko (57) played at two major competitions with Spain, EURO 1984, where he and his team-mates lost to France in the final, and the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico, where La Roja exited at the quarter-final stage. The no-nonsense centre-half made his name at Athletic Bilbao, leading the Basque club to glory in two Spanish League campaigns, a Copa del Rey final and a Spanish Super Cup final. He then committed himself to Atletico Madrid, where he saw out the remainder of his career. A move into coaching saw him steer the Spanish U-21 side to third and then second place at consecutive UEFA European U-21 Championships. Goiko went on to take the reins at Salamanca, Compostela, Numancia, Racing Santander, Rayo Vallecano, Hercules and Ceuta. He is currently the national coach of Equatorial Guinea.
24. Kim Kallstrom (31) is one of the best midfielders Sweden has produced in recent years. He competed at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany and at the last three UEFA European Championships (2004, 2008 and 2012). He started out in his national league, starring for Hacken and Djurgardens, where he landed two Swedish titles and a Swedish Cup. He then exported his skills to France, playing for Rennes and then Lyon. He enjoyed a productive stint at Stade de Gerland, winning two French League Championships, two French Cups and two Trophees des Champions. At the beginning of last season, he was transferred to Spartak Moscow.