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.
17. Pedro Pasculli (55) played a key role in Argentina’s second FIFA World Cup victory™ in 1986, playing in two matches and scoring the winning goal against Uruguay in the Round of 16. The clinical striker began his career in his homeland, first at Colon and then at Argentinos Juniors, where he earned two Argentinian League winners’ medals and finished top of the national scoring charts. Following a productive spell with Lecce, the Santa Fe native returned home to pull on the jersey of Newell's Old Boys. He then exported his goalscoring abilities to Japanese side PJM Futures, prior to signing for Italian outfit Casertana. After moving into coaching, Pasculli took the reins of the Ugandan national team and of several lower-division Italian sides.
18. Brad Friedel (44) will, at the end of this current season, bring the curtain down on a long and successful career at the highest level of the game. The American goalkeeper was part of the United States squad that competed at the 1994 World Cup on home soil, but he did not make his tournament debut until France 1998, where he made one appearance. At Korea/Japan 2002, he started all five of the Stars and Stripes’ matches, including the closely contested quarter-final defeat by Germany. In addition, the athletic custodian represented his nation at two Men’s Olympic Football Tournaments (in 1992 and 2000), the 1995 Copa America, the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup, where the Americans finished third, and two CONCACAF Gold Cups, reaching the final in 1998. Friedel began his professional career at Brondby, before moving to Galatasaray, where he lifted the Turkish Cup. He then put pen to paper with Colombus Crew, but returned to England to star for Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, with whom he lifted the English League Cup, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.
19. Diego Forlan (36) recently retired from international football, after having been a loyal servant to Uruguay for 13 years, during which time he participated in three World Cups. At Korea/Japan 2002, he scored once, while at South Africa 2010, he notched five goals, won the adidas Golden Ball award and reached the semi-finals. At Brazil 2014, the talented forward made two appearances. He also played at the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup, as well as at three Copa America competitions, one of which – the 2011 edition in Argentina – culminated in a continental triumph for Los Charrúas. The Montevideo-born attacker came through the ranks at Argentinian club Independiente, where his skills piqued the interest of Manchester United, who secured his signature in 2002. Despite lifting an FA Cup and Community Shield with United, he failed to settle and joined Spanish side Villarreal, where he found the net regularly, finishing top scorer in Spain (and Europe) and claiming the UEFA Intertoto Cup. A move to Atletico Madrid followed, as did UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup successes. After subsequent stints with Inter Milan and Brazilian giants Internacional, Forlan committed himself to Japanese outfit Cerezo Osaka at the beginning of 2014.
20. Iker Casillas (34) has experienced contrasting emotions on the football pitch over the last year. Although the commanding ’keeper lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy, Spanish Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with Real Madrid, he also suffered a surprising group-stage exit with Spain at Brazil 2014. He has previously taken part in three World Cups, in 2002, 2006 and 2010, emerging victorious in South Africa, in the UEFA European Championships of 2008 and 2012 (both won by Spain) and in the 2009 and 2013 Confederations Cup competitions, finishing second at the latter event. As a younger man, the influential shot-stopper wore the colours of La Roja at the 1997 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 1999 U-20 World Cup, a tournament at which the Spaniards also triumphed. A product of Real’s youth system, Casillas has amassed five Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, four Spanish Super Cups, three UEFA Champions League crowns, two UEFA Super Cups, an Intercontinental Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup since establishing himself in Los Blancos’ starting XI back in the early 2000s.
21. Antonio Folha (44) was part of Portugal’s golden generation that triumphed at the 1989 U-20 World Cup. The speedy winger also competed for the Iberian nation at EURO 1996. At club level, he rose to prominence at Porto, with whom he collected six Portuguese League titles, five Portuguese Cups and six Portuguese Super Cups. During his time with Os Dragões he was sent out on loan several times, notably to Braga, Standard Liege and AEK Athens, where he lifted the Greek Cup. After seeing out the remainder of his playing days with Penafiel, Folha embarked on a coaching career, starting out as assistant coach of Penafiel and going on to fulfil the same role at Porto.
22. Arturo Vidal (28) turned out for Chile at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, as well as at the 2011 Copa America. The dynamic midfield man also participated in the 2007 U-20 World Cup, where the Chileans finished third. He turned professional at Colo Colo, clinching three Chilean Championships and landing a lucrative move to Bayer Leverkusen. After four solid seasons in Germany, he was transferred to Juventus, where he has since won four Serie A titles and two Italian Super Cups. Furthermore, he could feasibly add a Coppa Italia and a Champions League title to his CV in the next few weeks.
23. Theofanis Gekas (35) was a member of the Greek squads that took part in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, the latter of which he and his team-mates reached the knockout stages for the first time. The incisive striker also appeared at two European Championships, in 2008 and 2012, and at the 2005 Confederations Cup. Gekas has enjoyed a nomadic career, donning the jerseys of Panathinaikos, Bochum, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Samsunspor and Levante, among others. He has twice topped national scoring charts, once with Bochum and once with Panathinaikos.