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.
7. Miranda (30) is regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, having performed exceptionally well throughout Atletico Madrid’s memorable 2013/14 Liga season, when Los Colchoneros pipped Real Madrid and Barcelona to the Spanish title and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. This campaign, the composed centre back has added a Spanish Super Cup to a footballing CV that already features a Spanish Cup, UEFA Europa League title and UEFA Super Cup. He also lifted the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil in 2009. Miranda began his career with Coritiba, before starring for Sochaux and Sao Paolo, with whom he obtained three Brazilian League crowns.
8. Joao Moutinho (28) took part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ with Portugal, his third major senior tournament after the UEFA European Championships of 2008 and 2012. As a younger man, he clinched the UEFA European U-17 Championship, a triumph that gave him the chance to play at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Finland. A product of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy, the versatile midfielder reached the UEFA Cup final and lifted two Portuguese Cups and two Portuguese Super Cups with Os Leões. A move to Porto saw the dynamic Iberian claim three Portuguese League titles, a Portuguese Cup, three Portuguese Super Cups and a Europa League title. At the beginning of last season, Moutinho put pen to paper with Monaco, subsequently propelling the club to second place in Ligue 1.
9. Uchechi Sunday (20) helped Nigeria attain the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, a competition in which she participated in all of her team’s games and earned a reputation as an impact substitute after coming off the bench three times to score. Unfortunately, the incisive forward could not prevent the Super Falconets from suffering a defeat by Germany in the event’s tightly contested showpiece match. The Port Harcourt native also competed at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany™ despite her young age, and will be hopeful of travelling to the next edition of the tournament, due to be held in Canada in 2015.
10. Laurent Koscielny (29) played a key role for France at Brazil 2014, where Les Bleus were eliminated by eventual champions Germany in the Round of 16. The pacey centre-half previously made one appearance at EURO 2012. After starting out at Guingamp, the talented Frenchman signed for Tours and then Lorient. His fine performances for Les Merlus attracted the interest of Arsenal, who acquired his services in 2010. Koscielny has since hoisted the FA Cup and FA Community Shield with the London outfit.
11. Julio Salinas (52) appeared at Mexico 1986, Italy 1990 and USA 1994 with Spain, scoring at every tournament for a total haul of three goals in 12 World Cup encounters. The towering front man also turned out at EURO 1988 and EURO 1996. He turned professional with his home-town team, Athletic Bilbao, with whom he sealed two Liga titles and a Copa del Rey. Two seasons at Atletico Madrid ensued, after which he joined Barcelona, where he bagged four further Spanish League crowns, a Spanish Cup, two Spanish Super Cups, a European Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and a European Super Cup. Salinas later played for Deportivo La Coruna, where he held aloft another Spanish Cup, Sporting Gijon, Yokohama Marinos and Alaves, prior to hanging up his boots in 2000.
12. Maciej Zurawski (38) was part of the Polish side that made a grand return to the World Cup at Korea/Japan 2002, and that repeated the feat four years later at Germany 2006. The clinical striker played in every one of his country’s matches at both tournaments, but was unable to inspire his team-mates to advance past the group stage. He went on to take part in EURO 2008, his last outing at a major international contest. The energetic attacker started off at Warta Poznan, but was transferred to city rivals Lech Poznan in 1998. The following year, he moved to Wisla Krakow, where he scooped four Polish Championships, two Polish Cups, a Polish Super Cup and a Polish Footballer of the Year award, and twice finished top of the national scoring charts. His rise to prominence piqued the curiosity of Celtic, who secured his signature in 2005. Zurawski enjoyed great success in Glasgow, prevailing in three league campaigns, a Scottish Cup final and a Scottish League Cup final, before packing his bags for Greece, where he pulled on the jersey of Larissa. One final foreign adventure with Omonia Nicosia, during which he gained a Cypriot League winners’ medal, was followed by a triumphant swansong at Wisla Krakow, with whom he landed a fifth Polish League title in 2011.
13. Thomas Muller (25) was instrumental in Germany’s recent capture of the 2014 World Cup, four years after having finished third at South Africa 2010, where he was the recipient of the adidas Golden Shoe and the Best Young Player award. In Brazil, his five goals saw the hard-working forward finish as the tournament’s second-top goalscorer. Sandwiched in between those two World Cup appearances, the confident Bavarian reached the semi-finals of EURO 2012. At club level, Muller has defended the colours of Bayern Munich since 2008, during which time he has won three Bundesliga titles, three German Cups, a German Super Cup, a UEFA Champions League title, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.