Happy Birthday to you
In our new regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com brings you the names of some of the best-known figures on Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
May: This Sunday sees David Jarolim reach a milestone. The Czech international and captain of Bundesliga side Hamburg will be thirty. Horst Koppel (61) will have to blow out more than twice as many candles today. The member of Germany's 1972 European Championship winning team is currently the coach of German second division outfit Ingolstadt - the Bavarian club is the ninth team he has managed to date.
May: Portuguese central defender Ricardo Carvalho (31) is a rock in the Chelsea back four that many an opposing striker has foundered on, so congratulations to the 2004 UEFA Champions League winner. Erik Gerets (55) is also celebrating today. His Olympique Marseille team could give him the extra-special present of the French top flight title this week. Congratulations are due to Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Mariusz Lewandowski who is also 30 today.
May: This week includes the big day for a current FIFA World Cup™ winner, as AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo clocks up thirty years not out. And Uruguay striker Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid) also reaches the big three-O today. Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk can sit back and enjoy his 57th birthday as his Oranje side are top of Group 9 in European qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ with a perfect record of five wins from five games.
May: Today's list of birthdays includes two goalkeepers and a former world star. Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) and Petr Cech (Chelsea) are currently among the best shot-stoppers in the world and richly deserve congratulations from their team-mates on their 28th and 27th birthdays respectively. An Indomitable Lion is also celebrating as former Cameroon star Roger Milla, the holder of the record of oldest player at the FIFA World Cup finals, is 57 today.
May: Mario Mandzukic is just 23 years old but the Croatia midfielder already rates as one of his country’s stars of the future. And it's happy birthday to Frantisek Straka. The Czech Republic coach celebrates his 51st birthday.
May: Three players, three countries, three continents but only one club: Switzerland winger Tranquillo Barnetta (24), Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal (22) and former South Korea striker Cha Bum-Kun (56) not only share the same birthday but also play or have played for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. The first two still line out for Bayer 04, but the “Asian Player of the 20th century” plied his trade for the Rhineland side over 20 years ago.
May: Congratulations are due today for another former Leverkusen star, as Theofanis Gekas celebrates his 29th birthday. The Greece striker 's CV includes finishing as top goalscorer in his home country and in Germany. He also featured in the FIFA Confederations Cup Final in 2005. Another forward who will be opening his presents this week is Hugo Almeida (25). The Portugal striker plays in the Bundesliga for Werder Bremen.