Happy Birthday to you!
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.
There’s a round number on Sunday for Brazil international Josue, who has his 30th birthday today. The defensive midfielder is currently preparing for the new Bundesliga season with reigning German champions Wolfsburg. Elsewhere, former pros Pavel Kuka and Ebbe Sand will also be blowing out the candles. The former Czech international turns 41, while the Danish marksman reaches the age of 37.
Alex is surely an intriguing case: he was born in Brazil, but plays for Japan. With two FIFA World Cup™ finals appearances under his belt already, the Urawa Red Diamonds talent is 32 today. Thomas N'Kono, a goalkeeping legend in his native Cameroon, reaches the age of 54. Our final highlighted birthday boy for Monday is former USA international Claudio Reyna, who will be 36.
Tuesday means celebrations for a pair of highly successful coaches, namely Co Adriaanse (62) and Marcelo Bielsa (54). The Dutchman guided Red Bull Salzburg to the Austrian championship last term, while Argentinian supremo Bielsa is currently attempting to lead Chile to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Iranian goal-getter and crowd idol Vahid Hashemian (33), and potent Ukraine striker Andriy Voronin (30), will also be unwrapping their presents today.
Wednesday is a special day for Spanish great Emilio Butragueno. The former world-class striker, who took part in the European championships and the FIFA World Cup on two occasions apiece, turns 46. Dutch ace Dirk Kuyt (29) is looking forward to making it two FIFA World Cup finals appearances of his own. The striker featured at the 2006 tournament in Germany, and the men in orange were the first European nation to seal a berth at the 2010 spectacle in South Africa.
One of the most potent Bayern Munich strikers of them all, Giovane Elber, is 37 today. The cheeky Brazilian with the permanent grin on his face never made it to regular status for his country, but he rates as one of the Bundesliga’s most prolific imports of all time. Rock-solid Greece defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos has had spells in both Scotland and Germany, but is now back in his home country with AEK Athens. It’s the big 3-0 for him today.
It’s party time for Italian duo Dino Baggio (38) and Daniele De Rossi (26) on Friday. Baggio twice featured at the FIFA World Cup finals, and enjoyed a successful club career in Serie A with Parma. FIFA World Cup winner De Rossi, a regular in the national squad coached by Marcello Lippi, would be only too delighted to repeat the heroics of 2006 when the show moves to South Africa next year. Iranian footballing icon Mehdi Mahdavkia (32) also celebrates today.
Saturday’s birthday boy Conor Casey is still young at 28, but he boasts a career rich in experience and variety. The USA-born player arrived at Borussia Dortmund in 2000, before spells with Hannover, Mainz and Toronto led him to Colorado Rapids, where he currently goes for goal. Karlheinz Forster (51) finished a FIFA World Cup runner-up with Germany in both 1982 and 1986. His playing career included a four-year stint in France with Marseille.