This week's birthdays

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Spanish footballer Alfredo di Stefano, one of the world's greatest forwards, spinning a ball on one finger.
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3. Amer Abdulrahman (22) was a lynchpin of the Emirati side that won the AFC U-20 Championship in Saudi Arabia and almost qualified for the knockout rounds of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 after a promising showing in the group stages. The young midfielder and Asian Games silver medallist, who plays for UAE Pro-League outfit Baniyas, has fulfilled his early promise to become a regular fixture in the UAE national side, most recently representing his country at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011.

4. Alfredo Di Stefano (85) is one of the few great international footballers never to have participated in a FIFA World Cup™. A prolific scorer wherever he played, it was at Real Madrid that Di Stefano attained legendary status, winning a hugely impressive list of titles and honours in his role as attacking midfielder. These included five UEFA European Cups and eight Spanish Liga titles, in addition to five Spanish league top-scorer awards. Born in Buenos Aires, the man they called Blond Arrow started his career with Argentinian giants River Plate and, after hanging up his boots in 1966, embarked on an illustrious and varied coaching career that saw him take the reins at River Plate, Boca Juniors, Real Madrid and Valencia, among others.

5.Alberto Gilardino (29) was a member of the Italy squad that prevailed over France at Berlin’s Olympiastadion to win the 2006 FIFA World Cup, his last contribution to that campaign being a semi-final appearance against Germany. Football is a fickle mistress, however, and he was to experience the flip side of the coin four years later as an aging Italy crashed out during the group stages in South Africa. The incisive striker’s international career got off to a flying start, when he led Gli* Azzurri* to victory at the UEFA European U-21 Championship in 2004, and his club career was equally promising. Success for Parma led to a transfer to AC Milan, with whom he won the 2006/07 edition of the UEFA Champions League, although he himself would not score in that year's competition. There followed a 2008 move to Fiorentina, where he looks to have rediscovered his touch.

6. Ze Roberto’s (37) prowess on the left wing has made him an indispensable part of every team he has played for. He has represented Brazil at two FIFA World Cups, in 1998 and 2006, and his international honours include two wins at the FIFA Confederations Cup (Saudi Arabia 1997 and Germany 2005) and two Copa America titles. The attacking midfielder has played his football for Hamburg for the past three seasons, but his greatest achievements came with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, winning the Bundesliga title four times and La Liga once.

7. Alberto Aquilani (27) earned his reputation during seven years at Roma, where he seamlessly linked attack and defence from his position in central midfield. The two-time Coppa Italia winner’s performances later caught the eye of Liverpool, who secured his services in 2009 before loaning him to Juventus for the 2010/11 season.

8. Robbie Keane (31) has scored consistently at almost every stop of his eventful career. The much-travelled forward has turned out for, among others, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Celtic and remains on the books of Spurs. The passionate Irishman represented his country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, scoring three times to help his side reach the Round of 16, where they went out to Spain on penalties.

9.Gianluca Vialli (47) boasts an impressive international career, making his first FIFA World Cup appearance at the 1986 edition in Mexico, then leading the side to third place in Italy four years later after Gli* Azzurri* went out to Argentina in the semi-finals. He first rose to fame at Sampdoria, winning the 1990/91 Serie A title and reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 1992, only to be beaten by Barcelona at Wembley. But it was with Juventus that Vialli truly came into his own, winning the league and Coppa Italia double in 1995 and the Champions League in 1996. He ended his career at Chelsea, where he occupied the role of player-manager, before retiring from competitive football in 1999 to concentrate on coaching.

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