Happy Birthday to you!

Claudio Andre TAFFAREL/BRA
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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.

4. Fernandinho (29) has developed into one of the best midfielders currently plying his trade in Europe, courtesy of a series of top performances at the highest level. A case in point was the 2003 FIFA U-20 World Cup final, during which he notched the winner for Brazil against Spain. He has also played in several friendly matches for the full Seleção side, recently scoring his first senior goal against South Africa, and could well end up in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s final 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The dynamic South American originally turned professional at Atletico Paranaense, prior to spending eight seasons at Shakhtar Donetsk, where he claimed six Ukrainian Championships, four Ukrainian Cups, three Ukrainian Super Cups and a UEFA Cup. At the start of season 2013/14, Fernandinho put pen to paper with Manchester City, with whom he has since hoisted the English League Cup and been heavily involved in one of the tightest domestic title races in years.

5. Emanuele Giaccherini (29) has become a regular fixture in the Italian national squad in recent times, playing a key role in La Nazionale’s triumphant qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014 and in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he and his team-mates finished third. The speedy winger started off at Cesena, before enjoying loan spells at Forli, Bellaria and Pavia. In 2011, he joined Juventus on a permanent basis, clinching two Serie A titles and an Italian Cup in the two years that followed.Giaccherini then tried his luck with English outfit Sunderland, with whom he reached the English League Cup final earlier this season.

6. Graeme Souness (61) is regarded as one of the greatest players ever to represent Scotland. The energetic midfielder starred for his country at three World Cups: Argentina 1978, Spain 1982, where he scored an equalising goal versus USSR, and Mexico 1986, where he donned the captain’s armband. At club level, he started out at Tottenham Hotspur, who loaned him out to NASL side Montreal Olympique. Upon returning to London, he signed for Middlesbrough, with whom he would go on to win the English Second Division. A subsequent loan stint in Australia with West Adelaide was followed by a transfer to Liverpool, where the combative grafter collected a host of trophies, including three FA Charity Shields, five English League crowns, four English League Cups and three European Cups. Remarkably, he finished joint top scorer in the prestigious continental tournament in 1981. Eager for a new challenge, Souness joined Sampdoria in 1984, where he lifted the Coppa Italia, before seeing out the remainder of his career as player-manager of Rangers. He enjoyed considerable success at Ibrox, guiding his charges to three Scottish League titles and four Scottish League Cups. That trophy haul persuaded Liverpool to acquire his managerial services in 1991, a move that produced an FA Cup victory for the Reds later that season. The charismatic Scotsman went on to take the reins at Galatasaray, where he lifted the Turkish Cup and Super Cup, Southampton, Benfica, Blackburn Rovers – with whom he secured the English League Cup – and Newcastle United.

7. Henrik Andersen (49) was part of the Danish teams that attained the second round at Mexico 1986 and caused a huge upset by emerging victorious from UEFA EURO 1992. He did not, however, feature in the historic continental final against Germany, having suffered a serious knee injury during De Rod-Hvide’s semi-final clash with the Netherlands. The tireless left-back made his professional debut with Anderlecht, where he earned winners’ medals in three Belgian League campaigns, two Belgian Cup finals and a UEFA Cup final over an eight-year period. Anderson then committed himself to Cologne, where he saw out the remainder of his playing career.

8. Claudio Taffarel (48) enjoys legendary status in Brazil, having performed with distinction between the sticks no fewer than 18 times at three successive World Cups. At Italy 1990, A *Canarinho* were defeated by Argentina in the Round of 16, but at USA 1994, the athletic goalkeeper and his team-mates succeeded in hoisting the illustrious trophy. Four years later, he reached the final, but could not prevent France from becoming world champions on home soil. As a younger man, the Santa Rosa-born custodian had brandished the 1985 FIFA U-20 World Cup and obtained a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Football Tournament in Seoul. In addition, he held aloft the Copa America on two occasions. Taffarel began his career at Porto Alegre-based Internacional, where his fine displays attracted the attention of Parma. After lifting two Italian Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with *I Ducali, *he moved to Reggiana and then Atletico Mineiro, where he added a Minas Gerais State League title and a CONMEBOL Cup to his footballing CV. A return to Europe saw the Brazil No1 pull on the jersey of Galatasaray, with whom he bagged two Turkish League crowns, two Turkish Cups, a UEFA Cup and a UEFA Super Cup. A two-term swansong at former club Parma preceded his decision to retire from the game. He presently fulfils the role of goalkeeper coach at Galatasaray.

9. Genar Andrinua (50) appeared at the 1990 World Cup, playing in four matches and exiting the competition in the Round of 16. The influential centre-back had previously competed at UEFA EURO 1988. Save for a one-season loan with Real Valladolid, the Basque defender remained a loyal servant of Athletic Bilbao for the entirety of his 17-year career, the highlight of which was undoubtedly the club’s memorable Spanish League and Cup double triumph in 1984.

10. Rustu Recber (41) defended the colours of the Turkish national XI at Korea/Japan 2002 and the 2003 Confederations Cup, finishing third in both contests. The talented goalkeeper also took part in the UEFA European Championships of 1996, 2000 and 2008, advancing to the semi-finals at the latter tournament. After rising to prominence at Antalyaspor, he cemented his reputation at Fenerbahce, winning four Turkish League titles over 12 seasons. During that period, he also embarked on a short, injury-hit spell with Barcelona. In 2007, the gifted shot-stopper crossed Istanbul to sign for Besiktas, later propelling the team to a Turkish Championship and two Turkish Cups. Recber announced his retirement from football in 2012.

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