Birthdays

Happy Birthday to you!

Atletico Madrid's Argentinian coach Diego Simeone celebrates
© AFP

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

26. Byun Byungjoo(54) represented Korea Republic at two successive FIFA World Cup™ events, Mexico 1986 and Italy 1990. In 1988, he not only reached the final of the AFC Asian Cup against Saudi Arabia, having scored two goals during the group phase, but also played at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Seoul. The forward started out at Daewoo Royals (now Busan Ipark), with whom he won a Korean League title and an AFC Champions League crown, before signing for Hyundai Horangi. After moving into coaching, he took charge of several clubs in his homeland, including Daegu FC.

27. Anita Asante(30) competed at the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ tournaments with England, as well as at the 2002 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. In addition, the London-born defender starred at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and the 2009 UEFA Women’s EURO, where she and her team-mates lost to Germany in the final. At club level, Asante began her career with Arsenal, where she secured five English Women’s Premier League titles, four FA Women’s Cups, two Women’s Premier League Cups and one UEFA Women’s Cup. She later plied her trade with Chelsea, American outfits Sky Blue, Saint Louis Athletica, Chicago Red Star and Washington Freedom, and Swedish side Goteborg, where she lifted two national cups. In 2013, the England international put pen to paper with Malmo-based Rosengard.

28. Diego Simeone(45) has developed into one of Europe’s most respected coaches in recent years, due to his fine work with Atletico Madrid, whom he guided to Liga success and to within minutes of UEFA Champions League glory against Real Madrid last season. These achievements led to the fiery Argentinian appearing on the shortlist for the 2014 FIFA Men's World Coach of the Year award at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala in January. He started this current campaign well too, steering his charges to the Spanish Super Cup, having previously overseen memorable UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey triumphs. Simeone made his coaching debut in Argentina with Racing, prior to taking the reins at Estudiantes, where he bagged a league title, and then River Plate, where he repeated the feat. He also enjoyed spells at San Lorenzo and Catania before finally taking the helm at Estadio Vicente Calderon. In his playing days, the tenacious midfielder defended the colours of Argentina at three World Cups (1994, 1998 and 2002), the 1989 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 1996 Olympic Football Tournament, where he earned a silver medal. He also lifted two major international trophies, the FIFA Confederations Cup (in 1992) and the Copa America (twice, in 1991 and 1993). The hard-working South American initially pulled on the jerseys of Velez Sarsfield, Pisa, Sevilla and Atletico, where he claimed a Spanish League and Cup double. He later played for Inter Milan and Lazio, bagging a UEFA Cup with the former and a Serie A title, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and UEFA Super Cup with the latter.

29. Kevin Moran(59) was part of the Irish national squads that travelled to Italy 1990, where he made five appearances, and USA 1994, where he remained on the bench. The combative defender also took part in UEFA EURO 1988. He rose to prominence at Manchester United, where he hoisted an FA Cup and FA Charity Shield during a ten-year period. Moran also starred for Sporting Gijon and Blackburn Rovers.

30. Gerardo Torrado(36) took part in three World Cups (in 2002, 2006 and 2010) with Mexico, as well as in three Confederations Cups, a trophy he brandished in 1999. The defensive midfielder also appeared at the U-20 World Cup, four Copa America tournaments and four CONCACAF Gold Cups, from which El Tri emerged victorious on three occasions. Torrado turned professional with Pumas, but soon exported his skills to Spain, where he represented Tenerife, Poli Ejido, Sevilla and Racing Santander. In 2005, he returned home to sign for Cruz Azul, propelling his new employers to Copa MX and CONCACAF Champions League triumphs. Due to the latter result, the tough-tackling Mexican got the opportunity to compete at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup.

1. Leonardo Bonucci (28) is regarded as one of Italian football’s most competent defenders, having established himself at Juventus in recent seasons, during which time he has captured three Serie A titles and two Italian Super Cups. In a few weeks’ time, when the Turin side takes on Lazio in Rome, he will hope to add the Coppa Italia to his CV. Although the commanding centre-half was called up to the Italy squad bound for South Africa 2010, he did not play in any of his country’s matches, a setback he made up for at Brazil 2014, where he made his World Cup debut. Bonucci was also part of the Nazionale *team that reached the final of EURO 2012 and finished third at the 2013 Confederations Cup. The Viterbo native first made his name with Inter Milan, with whom he earned a Serie A winners’ medal. He then embarked on stints with Treviso, Pisa and Bari, prior to committing himself to *La Vecchia Signora.

2. Alireza Haghighi(27) was Iran’s last line of defence during Brazil 2014, and he held on to his place for the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia. The talented goalkeeper started off at Persepolis, where he clinched an Iranian Championship and two Iranian Cups, piquing the interest of Russian heavyweights Rubin Kazan in the process. The Tatarstan-based club subsequently loaned out their new signing, first back to Persepolis and then to Sporting Covilha and Penafiel – his current club – in Portugal.

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