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.
29. Katlego Mphela (31) represented South Africa on home soil in three group-stage matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, scoring against France to help his nation secure their only victory of the competition. The all-action striker had previously notched two goals in the match for third place at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, an encounter that the Bafana Bafana narrowly lost to Spain. He also appeared at three CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in 2006, 2008 and 2013. At club level, he started out at Jomo Cosmos, before exporting his skills to French clubs Strasbourg and Reims. Upon returning to his homeland, he turned out for Supersport United, Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaiser Chiefs, with whom he won a league winners’ medal in 2015. Mphela currently stars for Royal Eagles.
30. David Carney (32) played for Australia in two World Cup qualifying campaigns, including the one that led to South Africa 2010, where he made two appearances. The versatile defender also competed at two AFC Asian Cups, reaching the final in 2011, and at the 2008 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. Carney rose to prominence at Sydney FC, where he won an A-League Championship and an OFC Champions League title, a continental triumph that enabled him to experience the FIFA Club World Cup at the tail end of 2005. He later pulled on the jerseys of Sheffield United (England), Norwich City (England), Twente (the Netherlands), where he clinched a Dutch League title and a Dutch Super Cup, Alcorcon (Spain), Bunyodkor (Uzbekistan), New York Red Bulls (USA) and present club Newcastle Jets (Australia).
1. Javier Aguirre (57) was part of the Mexico XI that reached the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, where he and his team-mates were eliminated on penalties. The midfielder defended the colours of Club America, where he claimed three Mexican League titles, Los Angeles Aztecs, Atlante, Osasuna and Chivas during his playing career. A move into coaching saw him take the helm of the Mexican national side (twice) and steer his charges to Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010, as well as to two CONCACAF Gold Cups, from which El Tri emerged victorious in 2009. In addition, Aguirre guided Mexico to the final of the 2001 Copa America versus Colombia. The respected tactician also coached Atlante, Pachuca, Osasuna, Atletico Madrid, Real Zaragoza and Espanyol, and took the reins of Japan during the 2015 Asian Cup.
2. Matteo Darmian (26) realised his dream of performing at the World Cup with Italy at Brazil 2014, where he appeared in three matches. As a younger man, the energetic full-back reached the final of the UEFA European U-19 Championship. A product of AC Milan’s youth academy, he played a handful of matches for the club’s senior side, prior to embarking on a loan spell with Padova and then signing for Palermo. The pacey Italian subsequently moved to Torino, where he enjoyed four productive seasons. In July 2015, Darmian put pen to paper with Manchester United.
3. Avraam Papadopoulos (31) helped Greece to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where he made three appearances but could not prevent his country from exiting at the group phase. The imposing centre-back later attained the quarter-finals of the 2012 UEFA European Championships. After five initial seasons at Aris, he was transferred to Olympiacos, with whom he landed five Greek League titles and three Greek Cups. Six years later, Papadopoulos joined Trabzonspor, before committing himself to Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua.
4. Marie Karlsson (52) donned the colours of Sweden at the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 1991™, where the Scandinavians finished third. The defender also appeared at three UEFA European Women’s Championships, reaching the final in 1987 and securing third place in 1989.
5. Bogdan Stelea (48) was the Romanian national team’s last line of defence at USA 1994 and France 1998, and at the 1996 and 2000 European Championships. The nomadic goalkeeper got his hands on domestic silverware with three different Bucharest-based outfits, bagging two Romanian League titles and two Romanian Cups with Dinamo, a Romanian Cup with Rapid, and two Romanian League crowns, two Romanian Cups and a Romanian Super Cup with Steaua. He also played for Mallorca, Salamanca and Standard Liege, among many others. After hanging up his gloves, Stelea fulfilled the role of assistant coach with Romania, and later took charge of Astra Ploiesti, the Romanian U-21 side and Viitorul Constanta in his own right.