Happy Birthday to you!

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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.

26. Nelinho(65) starred for Brazil at the 1974 FIFA World Cup™ in West Germany, where he made three appearances, and at Argentina 1978, where he scored two goals in four matches as he and his team-mates finished third. The talented right-back rose to prominence at Cruzeiro, with whom he amassed five Minas Gerais State League titles, three Minas Gerais Cups and a Copa Libertadores. Nelinho later turned out for Gremio, winning the Rio Grande do Sul State League, and for Atletico Mineiro.

27. Trifon Ivanov(50)took part in Bulgaria’s historic World Cup campaign at USA 1994, where the European side finished fourth. The confident centre-back also participated in UEFA EURO 1996 and France 1998. After making his name at CSKA Sofia, where he claimed two Bulgarian Championships, a Bulgarian Cup and a Bulgarian Super Cup, he would later pull on the jerseys of, among others, Real Betis, Neuchatel Xamax and Rapid Vienna, where he bagged an Austrian Bundesliga crown, an Austrian Cup and a Bulgarian Footballer of the Year award. The combative Bulgarian was also part of the Rapid team that lost the 1996 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final to Paris Saint-Germain.

28. Pedro(28) was part of the Spanish squads that emerged victorious from South Africa 2010 and that failed to live up to expectations at Brazil 2014, where they exited at the group stage. In addition, the skilful forward triumphed at EURO 2012 and lost the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup final to Brazil. Pedro, a one-club man, boasts a remarkable CV with Barcelona that includes five Liga titles, three Spanish Cups, four Spanish Super Cups, three UEFA Champions League crowns, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.

29. Mircea Lucescu(70) played at the 1970 World Cup with Romania. At club level, the pacy winger defended the colours of Dinamo Bucharest, landing seven Romanian League titles and a Romanian Cup, and of Corvinul, bagging a second division championship. He then moved into coaching, taking the reins of Corvinul, where he again won the second division title, and the Romanian national team, whom he guided to EURO 1984. Lucescu subsequently coached several sides in Italy, including Reggiana and Inter Milan. During two separate spells with Rapid Bucharest, he steered the club to a Romanian League title, Romanian Cup and Romanian Super Cup. A successful period followed in Turkey, where the respected coach first led Galatasaray to a Super Lig title and a UEFA Super Cup, and then guided Besiktas to league glory the season after. In 2004, the Romanian tactician took charge of Shakhtar Donetsk, and has since added eight Ukrainian League crowns, five Ukrainian Cups, six Ukrainian Super Cups and a UEFA Cup to his impressive CV.

30. Nery Pumpido(58) lifted the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, performing heroically between the sticks for Argentina throughout the competition. The consistent goalkeeper was also included in the South Americans’ squads for Spain 1982 and Italy 1990, where a serious injury in the second group match ruled him out for the rest of the tournament. Pumpido turned professional at Union Santa Fe, prior to moving to Velez Sarsfield, River Plate, where he earned winners’ medals in the Argentinian League, Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup, and Real Betis. After turning his hand to coaching, he enjoyed Copa Libertadores success with Paraguayan giants Olimpia. The Argentinian later took the helm at Tigres (Mexico), as well as at Argentinian sides Newell’s Old Boys, Godoy Cruz and Union Santa Fe.

31. Desiree Scott(28) played in all of the host nation’s matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, adding to the two appearances she made at Germany 2011. The athletic midfielder also picked up a gold and bronze medal respectively at the 2011 Pan American Games and 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, as well as holding aloft the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup and taking part in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Scott began her career with Vancouver Whitecaps, but joined Kansas City in 2013. The following year, the determined Canadian committed herself to English WSL team Notts County.

1. Esteban Paredes(35) was a member of Chile’s squads at South Africa 2010, where he appeared in two encounters, and Brazil 2014, where he did not compete in any games. The natural goalscorer also starred at the 2011 Copa America, where he played in all of his country’s matches and found the net once. He started out in his homeland at Santiago Morning, where he spent eight seasons, securing the second division championship and embarking on several loan spells, at Puerto Montt, where he won another second division title, and at Mexican outfit Pachuca, among others. Two separate stints with Colo Colo, during which the Santiago native clinched two Chilean League titles, were punctuated by a return to Mexico, where he represented Atlante and Queretaro. A prolific striker, Paredes has finished top of the Chilean and Mexican scoring charts five times in total.

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