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.
9. Johan Mjallby (43) played in four matches at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, where Sweden reached the Round of 16 before suffering a surprise defeat by Senegal. Two years prior to that, he had taken part in the Swedes’ disappointing UEFA EURO 2000 campaign. The commanding centre-back began his club career at Stockholm-based AIK, with whom he won two Swedish Championships and two Swedish Cups, before signing for Celtic, where he secured three Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups. He was also part of the side that attained the 2003 UEFA Cup final, a match the Bhoys lost to Porto in extra time. Following an injury-ravaged spell with Spanish outfit Levante and a brief swansong with former side AIK, Mjallby hung up his boots in 2006. In 2010, he became assistant manager to Neil Lennon at Celtic.
10. Noureddine Naybet (44) represented the Moroccan national team for 16 years, participating in USA 1994 and France 1998. In addition, the influential defender appeared at the 1992 Olympic Football Tournament and the CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments of 1992, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, where the Atlas Lions advanced to the final, and 2006. The African centre-back started out at Wydad Casablanca, claiming three Moroccan League titles, a Moroccan Cup and the CAF Champions League. A move to French outfit Nantes was followed by successful stints with Sporting Lisbon and Deportivo, where he landed a Liga crown, a Copa del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups. Naybet then tried his hand at English football, seeing out the remainder of his playing career with Tottenham Hotspur.
11. Mark Bresciano (34) competed at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 with Australia, and looks likely to star at Brazil 2014 this summer. The versatile attacking midfielder previously appeared at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2001, finishing third, as well as at the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2000 Olympic Football Tournament in Sydney. He has also enjoyed continental success, clinching the OFC U-20 Championship in 1998 and the OFC Nations Cup in 2004. After the Socceroos switched to the Asian Football Confederation, Bresciano participated in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. The set-piece specialist began his career in his homeland with Bulleen Lions and Carlton, prior to pulling on the jerseys of Empoli, Parma, Palermo and Lazio in Italy. He then packed his bags for the Middle East, where he defended the colours of Emirati club Al Nasr and Qatari side Al Gharrafa.
12. Omar Daf (37) can look back with pride on Senegal’s one and only World Cup venture, at Korea/Japan 2002, where the Africans raised eyebrows across the world by reaching the quarter-finals. The defender also performed at five Cup of Nations contests, at 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012. Daf played for Sochaux for a decade, but was tempted away from the Montbeliard-based team to join Brest in 2009. Three seasons later, he returned to Les Lionceaux, before retiring and becoming the club’s assistant coach in 2013.
13. Rafael Marquez (35) has been a mainstay of the Mexican national side since the late 1990s, appearing at three World Cups – Korea/Japan 2002, Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 – and lifting two CONCACAF Gold Cups (in 2003 and 2011) and the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. The classy centre-back has taken part in four Copa America tournaments, earning a runners-up medal in 2001, and in the U-20 World Cup of 1999. After coming through the ranks at Atlas, he exported his defensive skills to Monaco, where he scooped the Ligue 1 title, the French League Cup and the Trophée des champions. His form attracted the interest of Barcelona, with whom he went on to bag four Liga titles, a Spanish Cup, three Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Champions League crowns, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup. After seven seasons at the Catalan club, Marquez put pen to paper with MLS side New York Red Bulls. In late 2012, the Mexican international returned home to play for Leon, winning the Liga MX Apertura Championship a year later.
14. Angel di Maria (26) helped Argentina to reach the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and is hopeful of being included in his country’s squad for Brazil 2014. The dynamic winger has previously appeared at the 2007 U-20 World Cup, the 2011 Copa America and the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament, where La Albiceleste collected a gold medal. A product of Rosario Central’s youth system, Di Maria subsequently captured a Portuguese Championship and two Portuguese League Cups with Benfica. Since his transfer from the Lisbon side to Real Madrid in 2010, the pacey South American has added Spanish League, Cup and Super Cup honours to his footballing CV.
15. Alejandro Lembo (36) was a key member of Uruguay’s Korea/Japan 2002 squad, having formerly finished second at the 1999 Copa America and the 1997 U-20 World Cup with La Celeste. The dominant central defender may have turned professional with Bella Vista, but it was with Nacional that he rose to prominence, emerging victorious from two Uruguayan League campaigns. In Europe, he earned a Spanish Cup winners’ medal with Real Betis, and briefly starred for Greek outfit Aris. Lembo also represented Danubio (Uruguay) and Belgrano (Argentina).