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.
12. Ioannis Maniatis (28) took part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, where he was an ever-present in the team that reached the Round of 16 for the first time. In 2012, the tireless right-back turned midfielder had reached the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2012. Maniatis spent seven seasons at Panionios, before moving to Olympiacos, where he has since won four Greek Superleague titles and two Greek Cups.
13. Antonio Di Natale (37) remains, despite his advancing years, one of the favourites to finish top of the scoring charts in Italy and Udinese’s most dangerous attacking weapon. After impressing at Empoli and during a handful of loan periods, the Naples native signed for the Bianconeri in 2004. In eleven seasons with the club, the clinical striker has scored over 200 goals and been Italian Serie A’s leading scorer on two occasions. On the international stage, he represented Italy at EURO 2008, South Africa 2010 and EURO 2012, where La Nazionale reached the final.
14. Ahmed Musa (22) appeared for Nigeria at Brazil 2014, where the Super Eagles advanced from a group stage that saw him score a fine brace against Argentina. Last year, the pacey forward lifted the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, a victory that allowed him to participate in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. He had previously starred at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia, reaching the quarter-finals and hitting the net three times, and triumphed at the African Youth Championship that same year. At club level, Musa’s breakthrough season with Kano Pillars, during which he finished as top scorer in the Nigerian Premier League, piqued the interest of Dutch outfit VVV Venlo, who acquired his services in 2010. The skilful African later joined CSKA Moscow, where he has since claimed two Russian Championships, a Russian Cup and a Russian Super Cup.
15. Vahid Halilhodzic (62) guided Algeria to the knockout stages of Brazil 2014, one of the most noteworthy achievements of his coaching career. Prior to taking charge of Les Fennecs, the Jablanica-born tactician steered Côte d'Ivoire to the 2010 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, a competition he would return to with Algeria in 2013. Halilhodzic also enjoyed domestic coaching success, his long list of previous clubs including the likes of Velez Mostar, Beauvais, Raja Casablanca, where he clinched the Moroccan League title and the CAF Champions League, Lille, where he won the French Ligue 2 title, Rennes, Paris Saint-Germain, with whom he hoisted the French Cup, Trabzonspor, and Dinamo Zagreb, where he landed the Croatian Championship. Following the World Cup this summer, he took the reins at Trabzonspor for a second time. As a player, he competed at EURO 1976 and the 1982 World Cup with Yugoslavia. The prolific goalscorer held aloft the Yugoslav Cup with Mostar, before exporting his skills to France, where he earned a league winners’ medal with Nantes and enjoyed a brief swansong with Paris Saint-Germain.
16. Raul Gutierrez (48) was part of the Mexican sides that played at the 1994 World Cup, 1995 Confederations Cup and 1995 Copa America, and that lifted the 1996 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The solid defender began his career with Atlante, where he sealed the Mexican League title, before going on to defend the colours of Club America and Leon. After hanging up his boots, he moved into coaching, inspiring his nation to victory at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup on home soil. That fine achievement led to his recently taking the helm of the Mexican Olympic XI.
17. Graeme Le Saux (46) enjoyed a trophy-laden club career, bagging the FA Community Shield, English second division title, English League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in a ten-year spell with Chelsea. The composed left-back then put pen to paper with Blackburn Rovers, where he added an English Premier League crown to his footballing CV, prior to turning out for Southampton, his final domestic stop-off. Le Saux received over 30 caps for England, four of which came at France 1998, where England were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Argentina.
18. Francielle (25) has appeared at several major international tournaments for Brazil, including the 2006 and 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, and the Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments of 2008 – where she gained a silver medal – and 2012. She started out at Santos in 2008, but packed her bags for the USA the following year, subsequently pulling on the jerseys of Saint Louis Athletica and Sky Blue FC. Francielle later returned to Brazil to sign for Sao Jose, her current employers.