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.
5. Kevin Mirallas (27) played a key role in Belgium’s return to the FIFA World Cup™ stage, following a 12-year absence. At Brazil 2014, the lively forward made four appearances, but could not prevent Les Diables Rouges from being eliminated by Argentina in the quarter-finals. Earlier in his international career, he starred at the 2008 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, where the Belgians finished fourth. A product of Standard Liege’s youth academy, Mirallas played for Lille, Saint-Etienne and Olympiacos, where he claimed two Greek Superleague titles and a Greek Cup. In 2012, he signed for current club Everton.
6. Mark Schwarzer (42) was Australia’s last line of defence at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, as well as during the last five World Cup qualifying campaigns. During the Brazil 2014 qualifiers, he surpassed the 100-cap mark with the Socceroos, before announcing his retirement from international football. The reliable goalkeeper also took part in the two FIFA Confederations Cups, finishing third in 2001, and the 1989 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He excelled at continental level, winning the 2004 OFC Nations Cup and reaching the final of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. The Australian custodian started out at Marconi Stallions, but subsequently exported his handling skills to Germany, where he turned out for Dynamo Dresden and Kaiserslautern. A move to England saw him play for Bradford City, and Middlesbrough, with whom he lifted the English League Cup and attained the final of the UEFA Cup versus Sevilla. At his next club, Fulham, Schwarzer repeated the latter feat, but again ended up on the losing side, this time against Atletico Madrid in Hamburg. Last season, he put pen to paper with Chelsea.
7. Diego Costa (26) is regarded as one of the world’s deadliest goalscorers, a status that has seen him establish himself in the Spanish national team, for whom he performed at Brazil 2014. The incisive striker turned professional at Braga, who loaned him out to Penafiel before transferring him to Atletico Madrid. Los Colchoneros then sent him back on loan to Braga, and then to Celta Vigo and Albacete, where his eye for goal attracted the interest of Real Valladolid. After re-signing for Atletico, and enjoying another successful loan spell at Rayo Vallecano, the Brazil-born attacker truly began to shine at the Vicente Calderon, securing a Liga crown, Copa del Rey and two UEFA Super Cups, as well as reaching the final of the UEFA Champions League. At the start of season 2014/15, Costa committed himself to Chelsea, and has already hit the back of the net several times for his new employers.
8. Chris Killen (33) was part of the New Zealand side that qualified for South Africa 2010, where he and his team-mates experienced an unfortunate group-phase exit, despite not losing a single game. The robust front man, a two-time OFC Nations Cup winner, also appeared at the 2003 and 2009 Confederations Cups, and the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament. Killen began his career at Manchester City, who sent him on loan to Wrexham and Port Vale. A permanent move to Oldham Athletic was followed by a four-year spell in Scotland, during which he impressed at Hibernian and picked up a league winners’ medal with Celtic. Brief stints at Norwich City and Middlesbrough followed, before the towering New Zealander packed his bags for China, where he has since represented Shenzhen Ruby and Chongqing Lifan.
9. Djamel Mesbah (30) defended the colours of Algeria at the last two World Cups, contributing to Les Fennecs’ surprise qualification for the Round of 16 at Brazil 2014. In between those two events, he participated in the 2013 CAF Africa Cup of Nations. The left wing-back started off in Swiss football, first with Servette and then with Basel, with whom he enjoyed Super League success. Mesbah later pulled on the jerseys of Aarau, Luzern, Avellino, Lecce, AC Milan, Parma, Livorno and Sampdoria, where he presently plies his trade.
10. Ezequiel Garay (28) was instrumental in Argentina’s recent run to the Final of the 2014 World Cup. The no-nonsense defender had previously finished third at the 2003 U-17 World Cup, before triumphing at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament in China. He won the Argentinian Championship with Newell's Old Boys early in his career, a victory that brought him to the attention of clubs in Europe, including Racing Santander, who secured his signature in December 2005. The commanding centre-back’s excellent form with Los Racinguistas earned him a move to Real Madrid, where he held aloft the Spanish Cup. After travelling west to play for Benfica, Garay bagged a Portuguese League title, a Portuguese Cup and two Portuguese League Cups, and twice reached the UEFA Europa League final. Over the summer, he joined Zenit St. Petersburg.
11. Omar Gonzalez (26) was an active member of the USA squad at Brazil 2014, where he starred in three of his country’s four matches, including their Round-of-16 defeat by Belgium. The talented defender had previously competed in the 2005 U-17 World Cup and the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, a competition from which the Stars and Stripes emerged victorious. A cornerstone of the Los Angeles Galaxy rearguard, Gonzalez has clinched two MLS Cups and two MLS Supporters' Shield in his time with the Californian outfit.