In our regular Sunday feature, FIFA.com presents you with some of the biggest names from Planet Football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.
27 Bruno Alves (30) featured in every game for Portugal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, helping his side reach the Round of 16 before eventual winners Spain halted their run. It was the centre-back’s second major tournament after UEFA EURO 2008, where he contested a single match, and he also represented his country in two separate UEFA European Under-21 Championships. On the club front, he came to prominence at Porto, collecting a vast array of trophies with the Dragons, including four league titles, three Portuguese Cups and two Portuguese Super Cups. In 2009, he was voted player of the year in his homeland, and a year later he opted to test his abilities further afield, agreeing terms with Zenit St. Petersburg. He won the Russian championship with his new club last season.
28 Fabio Grosso (34) is unlikely to ever forget the moment he buried the winning penalty in the shoot-out with France during the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. Italy fans have cherished the memory too, just as they look back fondly on his goal against hosts Germany in the last four. Grosso also served the Squadra Azzurra cause at EURO 2008 and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, while his club career has followed an upward trajectory since his early days with modest outfits including Perugia and Palermo. The left-back signed for Inter Milan in 2006 and won a Serie A title and Italian Super Cup with I Nerazzurri before taking his talents to Lyon, where he tasted success in the league, French Cup and Trophee des Champions. From there, he joined Juventus in the closing moments of the 2009 summer transfer window and has remained loyal to the club despite some testing times in the last two years.
29 Dominic Adiyiah (22) shone for Ghana on their way to FIFA U-20 World Cup glory in 2009, finishing top scorer in the competition thanks to eight goals in seven matches. Those performances earned him the title of Young Player of the Year at the 2009 CAF Awards, and the following year he was called up to Ghana’s senior squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Adiyiah went on to make two appearances in a historic tournament for the Black Stars, who narrowly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals. He also experienced heartbreak in the CAF African Cup of Nations a few months previously as Ghana succumbed to Egypt in the showpiece. In the club game, the forward packed his bags for Europe to join Norwegian outfit Fredrikstad in 2008, earning a transfer to AC Milan two years later. The Serie A giants promptly loaned him out to Reggina and then to Partizan Belgrade, where he picked up a league and cup double last term. This season, he is on loan with Turkish side Karsiyaka.
30 Aldair (46) is considered a legend of the Brazilian game, having helped the national team to victory in numerous competitions, not least the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Four years on from that triumph, he was on the losing side against hosts France in his second FIFA World Cup Final, but he also won the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, two Copa Americas and took bronze at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Overall, he collected 80 caps in a 12-year run with A Seleção. Aldair started out with prestigious Brazilian side Flamengo, winning the Rio State Championship before crossing the Atlantic to join Benfica, where he lifted the Portuguese Super Cup during his single season with the Eagles. Roma brought him to Italy and he spent 13 years in the Italian capital, enjoying victory in the Coppa Italia and then winning both the Scudetto and Italian Super Cup in 2001. The defender left Roma for Genoa in 2003 and eventually ended his career with Murata in San Marino, where he claimed the national title.
1 Joseph-Desire Job (34) carved out a spot for himself in the Cameroon line-up despite fierce competition for places among the country’s strikers. He represented the Indomitable Lions at the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, two FIFA Confederations Cups and three African Cup of Nations final tournaments, winning the latter competition in 2000. Job has also turned out for a lengthy list of clubs down the years, defending the colours of Lyon, Lens, Metz, Sedan and Nice in France, and helping Middlesbrough lift the English League Cup. He even enjoyed an adventure in Asia, clinching the AFC Champions League with Al Ittihad and serving the Saudi Arabian outfit at the FIFA Club World Cup, and he now turns out for Belgian side Lierse.
2 Siyabonga Nomvethe (34) has had the honour of contesting football’s most prestigious international tournaments with South Africa, scoring a goal at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and returning to the global showcase on home soil in 2010, as well as representing Bafana Bafana at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup – again in South Africa – and featuring in three editions of the African Cup of Nations. Nomvethe was playing for Kaizer Chiefs when he was snapped up by Italian side Udinese, and he also turned out for Salernitana and Empoli before stints in Sweden and Denmark. The forward returned home briefly to join Orlando Pirates in 2006 and is back again now with Moroka Swallows.
3 David Villa (30) has enjoyed success at the very pinnacle of the game with both his country and current club Barcelona. The striker notched three goals in his first trip to the FIFA World Cup as Spain exited Germany 2006 in the last 16, and two years later he registered four in four games to finish top scorer during La Roja’s EURO 2008 triumph. Even better was to come at South Africa 2010 as the clinical finisher celebrated victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he appeared in every game for Spain and buried five goals, the second highest tally in the tournament. That proved a spectacular return to South Africa for both the player and his side, who had been forced to settle for third place there at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Already his country’s most prolific goalscorer of all time, he is now looking forward to boosting his tally in Poland and Ukraine next summer, and he can also look proudly upon his achievements in the club realm. Villa first became acquainted with success while at Real Zaragoza, where he won the Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup, not to mention being crowned Spanish player of the year. He bolstered his medal collection at Valencia, snaring another Copa del Rey, and was likewise able to perfect his technique, taking his talents to a whole new level and bringing about a dream move to Barcelona at the end of a drawn-out transfer saga. At the Camp Nou, he has won two Liga titles, two Spanish Super Cups and a UEFA Super Cup, and was a key figure as Barça defeated Manchester United at Wembley to claim the UEFA Champions League crown in 2011. Villa is now gearing up to contest the FIFA Club World Cup, which takes place in Japan next month.