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. Hakan Mild (44) was part of the Sweden team that went on an impressive run to the semi-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™, where he played in five games and scored a goal in the victory over Bulgaria in the match for third place. The hard-working midfielder had previously represented his country at the 1992 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Barcelona and at the UEFA European U-21 Championship, where the Swedes reached the final. He later appeared at UEFA EURO 2000. Mild had four different spells with Gothenburg, where he won four Allsvenskan Championships and a Swedish Cup, cementing his status of club legend. The Scandinavian also pulled on the jerseys of Servette, Real Sociedad and Wimbledon.
15. John Paintsil (34) played in two World Cups with Ghana: Germany 2006, the Black Stars’ first appearance at the competition, and South Africa 2010, where he and his team-mates lost in the quarter-finals to Uruguay. As a younger man, he earned a runners-up medal at the 2001 FIFA U-20 World Cup and competed at the 2004 Olympic Football Tournament in Athens. In addition, the energetic full-back took part in five CAF Africa Cup of Nations contests, finishing third in 2008. Paintsil started out in his homeland with Liberty Professionals and then Berekum Arsenal, before enjoying spells in Poland, Israel and England, where he defended the colours of West Ham United, Fulham, with whom he reached the final of the UEFA Europa League, and Leicester City. After stints with Hapoel Tel Aviv and Santos, the former Ghanaian Footballer of the Year joined South African outfit Maritzburg United in the summer of 2014.
16. Paulo Cesar (66) lifted the 1970 World Cup with Brazil, who kept the Jules Rimet Trophy after their third victory in football’s most prestigious tournament. The flamboyant attacking midfielder, part of one of Brazilian football’s most memorable generation of footballers, also participated at West Germany 1974. He won the Rio State Championship six times, twice with Botafogo, twice with Flamengo and twice with Fluminense, and held aloft the Intercontinental Cup with Gremio in 1983. Cesar also turned out for Corinthians, Vasco de Gama, Marseille and Aix during his club career.
17. Lina Nilsson (28) is currently showcasing her skills for Sweden at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, having previously made one appearance at Germany 2011, where the Swedes finished third. The Scandinavian defender also played at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and at two UEFA Women’s Championships, reaching the semi-finals in 2013. At club level, Nilsson signed for FC Rosengard in 2009 and has since secured four successive Swedish League and Cup doubles.
18. Islam Slimani (27) has enjoyed a tremendous year, having helped Algeria to qualify for their fourth World Cup in Brazil. At the tournament proper, the bustling striker scored important goals against Korea Republic and Russia, propelling Les Fennecs to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history. He had previously competed at the 2013 and 2015 Cup of Nations tournaments. Domestically, Slimani, the 2013 Algerian Footballer of the Year, recently established himself as one of Sporting Lisbon’s key players, scoring twelve goals during the season just past (making him his team’s top scorer and Portugal’s fifth top scorer) that contributed greatly to his club’s third-place finish in the Portuguese League. He also lifted the Portuguese Cup, notching Sporting’s first goal in the final.
19. Sidney (35) is a key component in Brazil’s Beach Soccer team, with whom he starred at five FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups, emerging victorious in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and losing to Russian in the final in 2011. Earlier this year, he was part of the side that won the South American qualifying tournament, and will now be keenly awaiting the start of the latest World Cup, which kicks off on the sands of Portugal in July.
20. Javier Pastore (26) just landed a national treble with Paris Saint-Germain in the shape of the Ligue 1 title, the French Cup and French League Cup. The Argentinian attacking midfielder’s CV already features three other pieces of silverware – an initial Ligue 1 crown and two Trophee des champions – won with the Parisian club since his arrival from Palermo in 2011. His consistent performances were recently rewarded with a contract extension that now runs until 2019. Pastore turned professional at Argentinian side Huracan, before exporting his skills to Europe. After having represented his nation at South Africa 2010 and at the 2011 Copa America, he can currently be found terrorising defences at the 2015 edition of the continental competition in Chile.