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.
25. Demba Ba (29) has developed into one of the most feared strikers in the English Premier League over the past few seasons. The France-born penalty-box specialist began his career at Rouen, before pulling on the jerseys of Mouscron, Hoffenheim and West Ham United. His strong displays with the London club persuaded Newcastle United to acquire his services in the summer of 2011. A subsequent move to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea further boosted his growing profile. At the international level, Ba represented Senegal at the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations.
26. Juan Cuadrado (26) played a key role in Colombia’s recent qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, and will likely be one of the first names on Los Cafeteros’ teamsheet this summer, having previously gained his first taste of a major international tournament at the 2011 Copa America. The skilful winger has enjoyed a fine campaign with Fiorentina, who qualified for the UEFA Europa League by finishing fourth in the Italian Serie A and also lost to Napoli in the final of the Coppa Italia. After coming through the ranks at Independiente Medellin, the pacey South American joined Udinese, who loaned him to Lecce and then to Fiorentina. In 2013, Cuadrado signed a permanent deal with La Viola, where he has since become a regular fixture.
27. Gervinho (27) has been one of Roma’s best players this season, helping the resurgent side to claim second place in Serie A and reach the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. His excellent form has also been evident on the international stage, as he made a significant contribution to Côte d'Ivoire’s successful qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. If selected for Sabri Lamouchi’s final squad, the sprightly forward will appear at his second World Cup, after South Africa 2010. He previously starred at four Cup of Nations events, coming close to lifting the continental trophy versus Zambia in 2012, and at the 2008 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Gervinho started out in Belgium with Beveren, prior to moving to France and defending the colours of Le Mans and Lille, where he won the French League and Cup double in 2011. Following a spell with Arsenal, the two-time Ivoirian Footballer of the Year signed for Roma in 2013.
28. Doriva (42) appeared for Brazil at the 1998 World Cup, where A Seleção reached the Final, at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he hoisted the trophy, and at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The energetic midfielder played for a number of clubs, including Sao Paolo, with whom he secured the Copa Libertadores, the Recopa Sudamericana, the Supercopa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup, and Porto, where he clinched two Portuguese League titles and a Portuguese Cup. After turning out for Sampdoria and Celta Vigo, Doriva held aloft the English League Cup with Middlesbrough.
29. Hernanes (29) has had a tremendous year, taking part in Brazil’s triumphant 2013 Confederations Cup venture and earning a place in Luis Scolari’s 23-man 2014 World Cup squad. The talented midfield man had previously picked up a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Hernanes turned professional with Sao Paulo, with whom he bagged two Brazilian League titles and a Brazilian Footballer of the Year award, but rose to wider prominence at Lazio, particularly after I Biancocelesti’s Coppa Italia success of 2013. During the recent January transfer window, the gifted dead-ball expert moved to Inter Milan, and subsequently helped his new team-mates to seal a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League.
30. Nicolas Olivera (36) participated in the 1997 Confederations Cup with Uruguay, finishing fourth and scoring twice in the group stage, against the United Arab Emirates and the Czech Republic. A few months earlier, he had already notched two goals for La Celeste at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, a tournament that ended with a defeat to Argentina in the final. A product of Defensor’s youth system, the Montevideo-born front man later exported his skills to Spain, where he played for Valencia, Sevilla and Real Valladolid, among others. Olivera also tried his hand at Mexican football, representing Necaxa, Atlas, Puebla, Club America and Vera Cruz. He returned to Defensor in 2011.
31. Birgit Christensen (36) was a member of the Denmark team that reached the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Sweden 1995™. She also took part in the inaugural Women’s Olympic Football Tournament at Atlanta 1996, and in the 1995 UEFA Women’s Championship.