Happy birthday to you!
In our regular feature, we bring you the names of some of the best-known figures on planet football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the next seven days.
Zambian idol Kalusha Bwalya celebrates his 46th birthday today. The much-travelled midfielder spent spells in Belgium, the Netherlands and Mexico during a colourful career. Meantime, Roque Santa Cruz turns 28. The Paraguay forward has just joined Manchester City, where he and a host of big-name recruits will be aiming for the English Premier League title.
French twosome William Gallas (32) and Thierry Henry (32) were born on the same day – and their illustrious playing careers do bear striking similarities. Both are graduates of the elite Clairefontaine football academy, and both started out in the French league before switching to England. They spent a season together at Arsenal, before Henry quit the Gunners for Barcelona in 2007.
Argentina international Esteban Cambiasso will be 29 on Tuesday. The midfielder signed a ten-year deal with Inter in 2004, and he will duly spend the coming season pulling the strings for the reigning Serie A champions. French great Just Fontaine will simultaneously turn 76. The former striker, who was born in Marrakech to a Norman father and Spanish mother, made his name at the 1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden™ with an incredible 13 goals.
Italian FIFA World Cup winner Marco Materazzi (36) is under contract to Inter until 2012, the year he turns 39. That would be a relatively advanced age for an outfield player, so it's a question of wait-and-see as to whether the centre-half prolongs his playing career after that.
Joshua Kennedy, who is aiming for glory with Australia at South Africa 2010, will celebrate his 27th birthday. The 1.94m striker spent eight seasons in the German Bundesliga before switching to Japanese side Nagoya Grampus, for whom he already has three goals in as many games.
Two big names of the late 1970s and 1980s, Petr Rada (51) and Didier Six (55), will blow out the candles on Friday. The Czech recently coached his national team but was dismissed after an unhappy nine-month spell in charge. Six appeared for France at two FIFA World Cups, in 1978 and 1982.
Alexander Mostovoi (41) and Rob Witschge (43) both represented their countries with distinction. The Russian playmaker made appearances at USA 1994 and Japan/Korea 2002, while the Dutchman pulled on an orange shirt at the first of those tournaments.