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.
Daniel Cousin (33) is arguably one of the best players ever to emerge from Gabon. The seasoned goal-getter, who previously had spells in France, Scotland and Greece and is currently on the books with Barclays Premier League side Hull City, was a member of his country’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations 2010 in Angola.
Hristo Stoichkov (44) rated as one of the world’s best strikers in his day. The former Barcelona sharpshooter currently coaches Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa. In a Bulgaria shirt, Stoichkov’s greatest success came at the 1994 FIFA World Cup™ in the USA, where the east Europeans finished fourth.
Whatever happens in the rest of his career, Angelos Charisteas (30) will always be a hero in Greece after scoring the only goal of the UEFA Euro 2004 final against hosts Portugal, sealing the continental crown for his country. After spells with Werder Bremen, Ajax and Bayer Leverkusen, the striker is currently with Bundesliga side Nuremberg.
Miroslav Blazevic (75) is one of the most experienced coaches in football today. The Croatian started out as far back as 1976, taking the helm at Swiss top flight side Lausanne Sports. In 1998, he led his country of birth to third place at the FIFA World Cup in France. He recently came within an ace of guiding Bosnia-Herzegovina to the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals, only for his side to fall to Portugal in the play-offs. Blazevic currently coaches at China PR club Shanghai Shenhua.
Former Italy international Ciro Ferrara (43) will doubtless still be celebrating his birthday today, despite his recent dismissal as Juventus head coach. As a rock-solid defender, he represented his country at the 1990 FIFA World Cup on home soil, but the Italians fell to Argentina in the last four. Ferrara spent fully 11 years of his playing career in Turin with Juventus.
Bryan Roy (40) celebrates a milestone birthday today. The midfielder played for the Netherlands at the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cup finals, while his most productive spell at club level was with Ajax, where he played between 1987 and 1992. He also sampled life in some of Europe's other top leagues, including Italy, England and Germany.
Luisao (29) joined Lisbon giants Benfica back in 2003, and has spent almost a decade as a permanent fixture in the Brazil squad. At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, coach Dunga is almost certain to call upon the defender’s deep reserves of skill and experience.