Sunday 07 August 2016, 10:12

Happy birthday to you!

In our regular Sunday feature, presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.

7. Goran Vlaovic(44) was part of the Croatia side that made history by qualifying for the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time, in 1998. At the tournament proper in France, the striker played in all seven of his team’s matches, scoring once as the Croatians claimed a memorable third-place finish. Two years earlier, he had taken part in UEFA EURO 1996; his winning strike against Turkey was his country’s first-ever goal at that level. The Nova Gradiska native rose to prominence at Dinamo Zagreb, where he earned winners’ medals in the Croatian First League and the Croatian Cup, and finished top goalscorer in the league on two occasions. Following a subsequent spell with Italian outfit Padova, he joined Valencia, with whom he captured a Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana and UEFA Intertoto Cup. In 2000, Vlaovic made the final move of his career to Panathinaikos, where he added a Greek League and Greek Cup to his CV.

8. Josip Drmic(24) starred in all of Switzerland’s matches at Brazil 2014, but could not prevent them from being knocked out at the Round-of-16 stage. In 2012, the young attacker competed at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in London. After starting out at FC Zurich, Drmic enjoyed stints at Nuremberg and Bayer Leverkusen before moving to Borussia Monchengladbach. He is now back in Gladbach after a loan spell with Hamburg.

9. Wesley Sonck(38) made three appearances for Belgium at Korea/Japan 2002, scoring the winner against Russia. The clinical forward turned professional at Molenbeek, prior to playing for Germinal Beerschot and Genk, where he won a Belgian League title and Belgian Footballer of the Year award, and topped the national scoring charts. He later represented Ajax, where he claimed an Eredivisie title, Borussia Monchengladbach, Club Brugge, Lierse and Waasland-Beveren.

10. Hesham Yakan(54) helped Egypt return to the World Cup stage after a near 60-year absence at Italy 1990, where the Pharaohs were eliminated at the group stage after two draws and a defeat by England. In addition, the defender appeared at two CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. He spent the entirety of his club career with Zamalek, picking up four Egyptian League titles, an Egyptian Cup, three CAF Champions League titles and African Super Cup along the way. After hanging up his boots, Yakan took charge of the club at which he had enjoyed legendary status as a player, guiding them to several prestigious trophies.

11. Jorge Campos(46) showcased his skills with Paraguay at France 1998, where he made three appearances, and at Korea/Japan 2002, where he notched a goal in a 3-1 win over Slovenia that enabled La Albirroja to advance to the last 16. The left-sided midfielder also took part in the 1995 Copa America and the 1992 Olympic Games. At club level, he pulled on the jerseys of Club Olimpia, Beijing Guoan (China), Cruz Azul (Mexico), Cerro Porteno, Quilmes (Argentina) and Libertad, among others. While with Guoan, Campos was named Footballer of the Year by the Chinese Football Association.

12. Djibril Cisse(35) was a member of the France squads that participated in the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, and in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, from which Les Bleus emerged victorious. The all-action striker had previously impressed at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he found the net six times and earned the adidas Golden Boot and adidas Bronze Ball awards. A youth product of Auxerre, he established himself in the club’s first team, later holding aloft the French Cup and finishing second-top goalscorer in Ligue 1. The Arles-born front man then put pen to paper with Liverpool, where he hoisted an FA Cup, a UEFA Champions League trophy and a UEFA Super Cup. Cisse went on to defend the colours of Marseille, Sunderland, Panathinaikos, where he secured a Greek League and Cup double, Lazio, Queens Park Rangers, Al-Gharafa, Kuban Krasnodar, Bastia and Reunion-based Saint-Pierroise, but was forced to retire from the game in October 2015 due to injury.

13. Alex Wilkinson(32) donned the yellow shirt of Australia three times at Brazil 2014, where the Socceroos suffered an early exit. A few months earlier, the influential centre-half had lifted the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, a triumph that paved the way for the Australians to represent Asia at the 2017 Confederations Cup. As a younger man, he took part in the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2003 U-20 World Cup, having previously bagged the OFC U-17 and U-20 Championships. After early stints with Northern Spirit, Ryde City Gunners and Manly United, Wilkinson made his name with Central Coast Mariners, where he landed two A-League Premiership crowns and an A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup, before being loaned out to Chinese side Jiangsu and spending three seasons with Korean outfit Jeonbuk, with whom he won two K-League titles. The Australian defender then returned to his homeland to play for Melbourne City and FC Sydney.