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.
Former Brazil regular Alemao (48) took part in the 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups™. The midfielder was nicknamed 'The German' due to his fair skin and mop of blond hair. Today’s birthday boy spent the best part of his club career with Napoli in Italy’s Serie A.
Nihat Kahveci (30) featured for Turkey at Korea/Japan 2002. The forward played out the middle years of his career in Spain, appearing in La Liga for Real Sociedad and Villarreal, before returning last summer to Istanbul giants Besiktas, the club where he first made his name.
The phrase ‘much-travelled’ is often used in connection with football people, but few have been on the move as much as Tuesday’s birthday boy, Otto Pfister (72). The former Cameroon, Togo and Ghana coach rates as one of the best-known coaches in the whole of Africa.
South Africa captain Aaron Mokoena (29) and his men aim to hit the headlines for the right reasons at next year's FIFA World Cup. The next big date for him and the untold millions of South African fans is 4 December and the Final Draw in Cape Town, where Bafana Bafana will discover the identity of their group-stage opponents.
Our oldest birthday boy this week is Imre Kovacs (88). The Hungarian was a member of his country’s legendary post-war generation, who fell at the last fence in the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final with defeat by Germany in Berne. Kovacs spent his club career with MTK Hungaria.
Russia striker Alexander Kerzhakov (27) made it as far as the UEFA EURO 2008 semi-finals with his country, but has just suffered the blow of failure to qualify for next summer’s global showdown. Kerzhakov goes for goal in Dynamo Moscow colours and previously had a spell in Spain with Sevilla. He was a member of his national squad for the Korea/Japan 2002, but made just one appearance and failed to score.
Italian FIFA World Cup winner Fabio Grosso (32) switched to Juventus last summer. The rugged fullback previously had stints with Inter Milan and former French serial champions Lyon. The left-sided player features strongly in Italy coach Marcello Lippi’s plans to defend the world crown in South Africa.