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.
19. Lucho Gonzalez (33) helped Argentina to claim a first-ever gold medal in football at the Olympic Games, beating Paraguay in the final of Athens 2004. The previous month, the hard-working midfielder had been part of the side that lost to Brazil in the final of the Copa America, a tournament in which he again tasted disappointment – against the same opponents – in 2007. In the meantime, the combative Argentinian took part in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, but could not prevent La Albiceleste from exiting at the quarter-final stage. Gonzalez turned professional with Huracan, with whom he secured the Argentinian second division championship, before joining River Plate, where he landed two top-flight crowns. After packing his bags for Europe, he won six Portuguese League titles, two Portuguese Cups and three Portuguese Super Cups during two separate spells with Porto, as well as a Ligue 1 title, three French League Cups and two Trophées des champions with Marseille.
20. Pierre Webo (32) represented Cameroon at South Africa 2010 and during the recent qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. The clinical striker also took part in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments of 2006 and 2010. Webo began his career with Nacional, helping the Uruguayan giants to clinch two national championships. A subsequent move to European football saw the African attacker make a name for himself in Spain, turning out for Leganes, Osasuna, with whom he reached the final of the Copa del Rey, and Mallorca. Webo then tried his luck in Turkey, where he starred for Istanbul BB and current employers Fenerbahce. The Cameroonian international lifted the Turkish Cup with Sari Kanaryalar (Yellow Canaries) in May 2013.
21. Alex McLeish (55) is an iconic figure in Scotland, having appeared at three successive World Cups, Spain 1982, Mexico 1986 and Italy 1990. Save for a brief stint at Motherwell, the robust centre-half spent all of his playing days at Aberdeen, where he lifted three Scottish Premier Division titles, five Scottish Cups, two Scottish League Cups, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and a European Super Cup. After bringing his long career to a close, he took the reins at Motherwell, guiding the Lanarkshire side to second place in the Scottish top flight. Successful spells then followed at Hibernian, a club he steered to promotion, and Rangers, where two league crowns and five national cups were captured during a five-year period. McLeish later managed the Scottish national team, as well as Birmingham City, with whom he hoisted the English League Cup, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.
22. Madjer (37) is a veritable beach soccer legend, whose achievements have played a large part in popularising the sport. As a key member of the Portuguese national team, he participated in the first six FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. In 2005, the agile forward lost in the final of the prestigious event, but was nevertheless able to console himself with the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards. Between 2006 and 2011, the imposing Iberian picked up a host of additional accolades, including another Golden Ball, two Silver Balls and two further Golden Shoes. In addition, Madjer has enjoyed success in four Euro Beach Soccer League campaigns and six Euro Beach Soccer Cup finals. At club level, he won national championships at Cavalieri del Mare (Italy), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), Alanya (Turkey) and Al Ahli (UAE), where he also finished top scorer in 2012.
23. Stephen Keshi (52) played a key role in Nigeria’s maiden qualification for the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the same year that the Super Eagles prevailed in the African Cup of Nations for a second time. Almost 20 years later, the former international, appointed coach of his country’s national side in 2011, led his players to continental glory once more in 2013, a victory that provided the team with a berth at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Keshi also recently oversaw Nigeria’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup, the second time he has achieved such a feat as a coach, following a successful period in charge of Togo in the run-up to Germany 2006. A commanding defender in his playing days, he triumphed in two West African Club Championships with New Nigeria Bank, before defending the colours of Ivoirian outfits Stade d’Abidjan and Africa Sports, with whom he earned a league winners’ medal. After exporting his defensive skills to Belgium, he played for Lokeren, Anderlecht, where he added a Belgian Championship and two Belgian Cups to his footballing CV, and Molenbeek. Spells at American clubs CCV Hydra and Sacramento Scorpions followed, but it was at Perlis, in Malaysia, that he finally brought the curtain down on his career.
24. Michel Preud'homme (55) was Belgium’s last line of defence at Italy 1990 and USA 1994, where his fine performances saw him rewarded with the Yashin Award for outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament. The reliable shot-stopper got his hands on silverware at all three of the clubs he played for: Standard Liege (two Belgian League titles, a Belgian Cup and two Belgian Super Cups), Mechelen (one league title, one national cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and a European Super Cup) and Benfica (a Portuguese Cup). Preud’homme was twice named Belgian Footballer of the Year, in 1987 and 1989. After hanging up his gloves, the respected Belgian took the helm at Standard Liege, Gent and Twente, where he lifted the Dutch Cup and Super Cup. He then masterminded Al Shabab’s return to the forefront of the Saudi game, winning a league crown for the Riyadh club in the process.
25. Robinho (30) appeared at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 with Brazil, and emerged victorious from the Confederations Cups of 2005 and 2009. The sprightly forward also brandished the Copa America in 2007, an event in which he finished top scorer and was named Player of the Tournament. He had previously reached the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2003. The skilful South American started out at Santos, where he sealed two Brazilian League Championships, a Sao Paolo State League title and a Brazilian Cup. His strong displays piqued the interest of Real Madrid, with whom he claimed two Liga crowns and the Supercopa de Espana. Following an ultimately disappointing move to Manchester City and a brief return to Santos, Robinho signed for present club AC Milan, where he has since secured the Serie A title and Italian Super Cup.