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.
14. Didier Zokora (34) helped Côte d’Ivoire to qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup™ in 2006, and has since starred in two more, playing a total of eight matches. In addition, the influential defensive midfielder has taken part in six CAF Africa Cup of Nations contests, losing on penalties in the final in 2006 and 2012. At club level, he began his career with ASEC Mimosas, with whom he lifted the CAF Super Cup, before joining Genk, where he gained a Belgian League winners’ medal. The Abidjan native subsequently enjoyed spells at Saint-Etienne and Tottenham Hotspur, where he hoisted the English League Cup. In the summer of 2009, Zokora moved to Sevilla, capturing the Copa del Rey later that season. Since 2011, the determined Ivoirian has plied his trade in Turkey, initially for Trabzonspor, and then for current club Akhisar Belediyespor.
15. Keylor Navas (28) was the last line of defence in the Costa Rica side that unexpectedly reached the quarter-finals of Brazil 2014, conceding just two goals in five matches. The athletic goalkeeper won six Costa Rican Championships and a CONCACAF Champions League crown with Deportivo Saprissa, piquing the interest of clubs in Europe such as Albacete, who secured his signature in 2010. A transfer to Levante followed, as did the award for Spanish La Liga Goalkeeper of the Year. After his World Cup heroics, Navas put pen to paper with Real Madrid, and has already lifted the UEFA Super Cup with the Spanish giants.
16. Mats Hummels (26) held aloft the World Cup with Germany at Brazil 2014, where he played in six matches and grabbed two headed goals, the second of which came in his country’s quarter-final clash with France. The imposing defender had previously appeared at UEFA EURO 2012 and emerged victorious from the 2009 UEFA European U-21 Championship. A product of Bayern Munich’s youth academy, Hummels rose to prominence at Borussia Dortmund, scooping two Bundesliga titles, a German Cup and two German Super Cups, and competing in the final of the UEFA Champions League versus Bayern.
17. Amarelle (37) has participated in four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups with Spain, earning the adidas Golden Ball award and finishing second in the race for the adidas Golden Shoe in 2008. At continental level, the forward has propelled the Spaniards to several major honours, and has been named Europe’s Player of the Year numerous times. Amarelle originally came through the ranks at Deportivo La Coruna, before switching to the beach variety of the game and making his name with Milan and Barcelona.
18. Karol Dobias (67) was part of the Czechoslovakia XI that triumphed at EURO 1976, having previously played at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. The confident right-back pulled on the jerseys of Spartak Trnava, Bohemians Prague and Lokeren during his playing days, after which he coached a handful of clubs, including Sparta Prague.
19. Karim Benzema (27) has enjoyed an exceptional year, claiming the Champions League title with Real Madrid and excelling at the World Cup with France. In his maiden adventure on football’s greatest stage, the talented striker scored three times and made five appearances, but could not prevent Les Bleus from bowing out at the quarter-final stage. The clinical Frenchman started out with Lyon, where he clinched four Ligue 1 titles, a French Cup and two Trophees des champions. Since signing for Los Blancos in 2009, Benzema has added a La Liga crown, two Spanish Cups, a Spanish Super Cup and a UEFA Super Cup to his footballing CV.
20. Fabian Schar (23) made his World Cup debut for Switzerland this year, appearing against Honduras in the group stage and Argentina in the Round of 16. The commanding centre-back also took part in the 2012 Men's Olympic Football Tournament in London. Schar turned professional with Wil, before going on to defend the colours of Basel, with whom he has bagged the last two Swiss League titles.