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.
21. Joaquin(32) has established himself as one of La Liga’s most effective wingers over the last decade, a status that saw him twice called up to Spain’s FIFA World Cup™ squads at Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006 and participate in UEFA EURO 2004. The skilful Spaniard began his club career with Real Betis’ reserve side, before earning a promotion to the senior team, with whom he lifted the Copa del Rey. After six fruitful seasons with the Seville-based team, he joined Valencia, where he added another Spanish Cup to his footballing CV. Joaquin returned to Andalusia in 2011 to bolster an ambitious and fast-improving Malaga side, propelling them to fourth place in the Spanish League and to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. In search of a new challenge, the pacey wide man signed for Fiorentina last month.
22. Dennis Rommedahl(35) has taken part in all of Denmark’s major international campaigns over the past few years, including the FIFA World Cups of 2002 and 2010, scoring a goal at each tournament, and the UEFA European Championships of 2004 and 2012. The speedy winger has enjoyed a varied career, performing for a handful of national heavyweights. He started out in his homeland at Lyngby, where his displays attracted the interest of PSV Eindhoven, with whom he would secure four Dutch League titles and three Dutch Super Cups. A move to England saw the attack-minded Dane wear the colours of Charlton Athletic for three seasons, before Ajax persuaded him to showcase his skills in the Netherlands once more. After capturing the Dutch Cup and another Dutch Super Cup, Rommedahl enjoyed subsequent spells at Olympiacos, where he landed the Greek Championship, Danish outfit Brondby and Dutch side RKC Waalwijk. He was named Danish Footballer of the Year in 2007 and 2010.
23. Josefine Oqvist(30) has been one of the mainstays of the Swedish women’s national team in recent times, appearing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003, where her country finished as runners-up, and at the 2011 edition of the competition in Germany, in which she and her team-mates claimed third place. The Scandinavian forward also played in two Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments, reaching the semi-finals at Athens 2004 and the quarter-finals in 2008, and in the 2005 UEFA European Women’s Championship, where she again reached the last four. With Sweden hosting this year’s continental contest, Oqvist will be hoping to at least equal that feat.
24. Johan Micoud(40) can look back fondly on his international achievements, having helped France to emerge victorious from UEFA EURO 2000 and fought off strong competition for places to play at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. At domestic level, Micoud represented just four clubs in his career. After coming through the ranks at Cannes, he put pen to paper with Bordeaux, where he earned a French League winners’ medal. The elegant midfield man then exported his skills to Italy, where he lifted the Coppa Italia with Parma, prior to committing himself to Werder Bremen. His four-year stint at the Weserstadion was highly successful, featuring a German League and Cup double in the 2003/2004 season. In the summer of 2006, Micoud returned to Bordeaux and retired from the game two years later.
25. Paulinho(25) has just experienced one of the most productive seasons of his career, triumphing first in the Copa Libertadores and then in the FIFA Club World Cup with Corinthians. On the international stage, he recently established himself in Brazil’s starting line-up during the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, inspiring his side to their fourth success in the competition. Voted third-best player behind Neymar and Andres Iniesta, the powerful midfielder made a considerable impression at the tournament, particularly against Uruguay in the semi-final, where his late goal sealed A Seleção’s berth in the final. The South American took an unorthodox path to the top of the professional game, starting off with Vilnius (Lithuania) and then LKS Lodz (Poland). He returned home to Brazil, where he initially turned out for Pao de Acucar and Bragantino. A move to domestic giants Corinthians proved a turning point in his career, as he would go on to win the Brazilian League and the Sao Paulo State Championship, as well as the aforementioned continental and global trophies. Paulinho completed a high-profile move to Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month, thereby embarking on another exciting footballing adventure.
26. Pavel Pardo(37) enjoyed a remarkable career at both domestic and international level. The defensive midfielder represented Mexico at the Olympic Football Tournament in 1996 and at the FIFA World Cups of 1998 and 2006. He appeared at four different FIFA Confederations Cups, the most memorable of which undoubtedly came in 1999, when El Tri triumphed in the tournament for the first time. In addition, Pardo competed in the Copa America three times, finishing third on two occasions, and in three CONCACAF Gold Cups, winning twice. The midfield man starred for Atlas and Tecos, but it was with Club America that he experienced the greatest success, clinching two Mexican League titles and a Mexican Super Cup, as well as a CONCACAF Champions League crown. He subsequently departed for Stuttgart, where he collected a Bundesliga winners’ medal, before re-signing for Club America and then joining MLS outfit Chicago Fire in 2011.
27. Goran Pandev(30) is regarded as one of the greatest Macedonians ever to have played the game. The clinical striker turned professional with Belasica, but soon joined Inter Milan, who swiftly loaned him out to Spezia and then Ancona. A five-year spell at Lazio followed, during which he lifted the Italian Cup. A return to Inter saw Pandev secure two Italian Cups, an Italian Super Cup, the UEFA Champions League title and the FIFA Club World Cup. The Macedonian international was then once more sent out on loan, but consoled himself by lifting the Italian Cup again, this time with Napoli. In the summer of 2012, he sealed a permanent move to the Stadio San Paolo. He has been named Macedonian Footballer of the Year no fewer than five times, and is currently heavily involved in his country’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.