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.
11. Miguel Veloso (28) has established himself in Portugal’s starting XI in recent years, starring at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, at the 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Championships, and in the qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. The energetic midfielder had previously appeared at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup, having emerged victorious from the UEFA European U-17 Championship earlier that year. He also took part in the UEFA European U-21 Championship in 2007. Veloso came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon, before enjoying a successful loan spell at Olivais Moscavide, where he won the Portuguese second division title. Upon returning to Os Leões and establishing himself in the first team, he lifted two Portuguese Cups and two Portuguese Super Cups. Following a two-season stint in Italy with Genoa, he signed for Dynamo Kiev in 2012.
12. Marama Vahirua (34) was a proud standard bearer for Tahitian football in Europe for 15 years. After initially securing a French League crown and two French Cups with Nantes, the dynamic attacking midfielder pulled on the jerseys of Nice, Lorient, Nancy, Monaco and Greek outfit Panthrakikos. In 2013, he returned to French Polynesia to join AS Pirae, his home-town club. Although Vahirua played for France’s U-21 side at the beginning of his career, he eventually gained the opportunity to represent Tahiti at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
13. Romelu Lukaku (21) rose to prominence at Anderlecht, where he earned a Belgian League winners’ medal, prior to putting pen to paper with Chelsea. Despite hoisting the FA Cup with the Blues, the powerful front man was then sent out on loan, first to West Bromwich Albion and then to Everton, for whom he has performed admirably this season, scoring crucial goals that have kept the Merseyside team in contention for Europe. The incisive Belgian has also enjoyed success at international level in recent times, scoring two crucial goals in a qualifier against Croatia to propel Les Diables Rouges to Brazil 2014.
14. Mickael Landreau (35) has been regarded as one of France’s top goalkeepers for almost two decades. A member of the national squad that reached the 2006 World Cup Final, as well as the Confederations Cup finals of 2001 and 2003, the reliable shot-stopper also competed at the 1997 U-20 World Cup. After graduating from Nantes’ renowned youth academy, the confident custodian gained a place in Les Canaris’ starting line-up and scooped the French Ligue 1 title, two French Cups and two Trophees des champions over a ten-year period. A move to Paris-Saint Germain followed, as did a French League Cup triumph. Laundreau was then transferred to Lille, where he claimed a league and cup double, but left in December 2013 to try his luck with current club Bastia.
15. Cristiane (29) is an iconic figure of the female game, having competed in 14 matches – and scored seven goals – for Brazil at no fewer than three FIFA Women’s World Cup™ contests, including China 2007, where she finished second. The lively forward also participated in three Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments, topping the scoring charts twice and picking up a silver medal at Beijing 2008. Earlier in her career, she appeared at the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups. At club level, the South American attacker has defended the colours of Clube Atletico Juventus, Corinthians and Santos, with whom she held aloft the Brazilian Cup and Copa Libertadores Femenina. She has not hesitated to export her goalscoring talents abroad during her career, representing German outfits Turbine Potsdam (where she clinched the Frauen-Bundesliga title), and Wolfsburg, as well as Chicago Red Stars (USA), Linkopings (Sweden) and Rossiyanka (Russia). Cristiane has twice finished third in the voting for the prestigious FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award, in 2007 and 2008.
16. Karolina Westberg (36) played in three successive Women’s World Cups with Sweden between 1999 and 2007, reaching the final in 2003. In addition, the influential defender starred at the Olympic Games of 2000 and 2004, as well as at the UEFA European Women’s Championships of 1997 and 2001, where the Swedes finished runners-up. Westberg started out at Malmo, before moving to Umea, with whom she has collected four Swedish League titles and three Swedish Cups since 2005.
17. Jose Chamot (45) appeared at three World Cups in a row with Argentina, namely USA 1994, France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002, as well as at the 1995 Confederations Cup and the 1996 Olympic Football Tournament, finishing second on both occasions. The combative left-back also took part in the 1995 Copa America. He began his career at Rosario Central, where his performances attracted the interest of Italian outfit Pisa. A subsequent move to Foggia was followed by a spell with Lazio, where the Argentinian defender lifted the Coppa Italia in 1998. He switched leagues for a two-term adventure with Atletico Madrid, but returned to Italy to commit himself to AC Milan, with whom he added a second Italian Cup and a UEFA Champions League crown to his footballing CV. Chamot then experienced a brief stint at Madrid-based Leganes and a swansong at his first club, Rosario, prior to hanging up his boots. Since retiring, he has worked on the backroom staff of Rosario and River Plate.