In our regular Sunday feature, we bring you the names of some of the best-known figures on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
Cafu (39) is almost certainly the greatest right-back ever to represent Brazil. He earned 142 caps for the Seleção in an astonishing 16 years as a national team regular, and laid his hands on the FIFA World Cup™ twice. Today is his special day.
Jose Antonio Camacho (54) and Vedad Ibisevic (25) represent two completely different footballing generations. Camacho appeared at the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cup™ finals, an achievement Bosnian striker Ibisevic would love to emulate during his career. After a truly impressive first half to the Bundesliga season, featuring 18 goals in 17 matches, a cruel blow of fate struck the Hoffenheim man in the winter break: he tore a cruciate ligament and has played neither for his club nor his country since then.
Were they so inclined, a trio of sharp-shooters could stage a joint birthday party today. Bayern Munich hitman Miroslav Klose (31), Wesley Sneijder (25) of Real Madrid, and former USA international Eric Wynalda (40) will be tearing off the gift-wrapping today.
New Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti (50) celebrates a special milestone today. After 13 years with AC Milan, eight of which were spent as coach, the two-time former UEFA Champions League winner has this week taken up his first coaching role outside Italy. The challenge for Ancelotti is now to lead London outfit Chelsea to the European title the club's players and owner so crave.
Hugo Sanchez (51) and Vagner Love (25) have more in common than a shared birthday. In the 80s and 90s, the Mexican caused panic and fear in opposing penalty areas, something the Brazilian international is currently provoking for CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier Liga and on the European stage, where he finished top scorer in last season’s UEFA Cup with eleven goals.
Nigerian star Victor Ikpeba (36) spent his playing career in the French Ligue 1 and in the German Bundesliga. His most productive years were with AS Monaco between 1993 and 1999. The best season of all was 1997, when he not only collected a French championship winners’ medal, but was also named African Player of the Year. Diego Milito (30) fell just short of finishing top scorer in the 2008/09 Serie A campaign. Genoa’s Argentine striker ended up just one goal adrift of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who plies his trade for champions Inter.
Rinat Dassaiev (52) was one of the best goalkeepers ever produced by the former Soviet Union. He was named World Goalkeeper of the Year in 1988, and was named in the FIFA 100 by Pelé six years later. Florent Malouda (29) of Chelsea also rates as one of the best players in his position. The French international has already earned 44 full international caps and appeared at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany. He is hoping to double that total in South Africa next year.