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.
19. Naoki Soma (44) helped Japan to qualify for their first FIFA World Cup™, at France 1998, where he made three appearances. The left-sided defender had previously competed at the 1996 AFC Asian Cup and the 1999 Copa America. At club level, he started out with Kashima Antlers, with whom he won three J.League titles, two Emperor’s Cups, two J.League Cups and three Japanese Super Cups. Soma later pulled on the jerseys of Tokyo Verdy and Kawasaki Frontale, and subsequently embarked on a coaching career with the latter-named club.
20. Wendie Renard (25) took part in two FIFA Women’s World Cup™ tournaments, namely Germany 2011 and Canada 2015, where she captained Les Bleues as they advanced to the quarter-finals, but could not prevent them from losing to Germany. The commanding centre-back also represented her country at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in London, just missing out on a place on the podium by finishing in fourth place. In addition, she twice emerged victorious from the Cyprus Cup and finished fourth at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Richard has only ever played club football for Lyon, with whom she has claimed no fewer than nine French League titles and five French Cups, as well as two UEFA Women’s Champions League crowns.
21. Andriy Voronin (36) played in four matches for Ukraine at Germany 2006, and in two games at UEFA EURO 2012. After beginning his career with Borussia Monchengladbach, the incisive attacking midfielder turned out for Mainz, where he topped the German second division scoring charts, Cologne, Bayer Leverkusen and Liverpool, where he spent three seasons. He then signed for Dynamo Moscow, with whom he was named Ukrainian Footballer of the Year in 2011. During the 2012/13 campaign, he played on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf.
22. Djamel Menad (55) starred for Algeria at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, having previously played at the 1979 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 1980 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. In 1990, he was instrumental in Les Fennecs’' first and thus far only CAF Africa Cup of Nations triumph, finishing as the tournament’s top goalscorer. The forward turned professional with Belouizdad, where he lifted the Algerian Cup, before joining JS Kabylie, where he amassed five Algerian League crowns, an Algerian Cup, an African Cup of Champions Clubs and an African Cup Winners’ Cup. Menad later defended the colours of French outfit Nimes, Portuguese sides Famalicao and Belenenses, and USM Alger, with whom he brandished another Algerian Cup. A move into coaching saw him take the reins of USM Alger, JS Kabylie, SM Bejaia and Belouizdad.
23. Sotirios Kyrgiakos (36) contributed to Greece’s successful qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010, and then appeared at the tournament proper. The robust centre-half also competed at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and EURO 2008. Kyrgiakos came through the ranks at Panathinaikos, where he won a Greek League and Cup double, but soon moved to Scottish side Rangers, where he secured the Scottish Premier League title and Scottish League Cup. The Greek defender would go on to ply his trade for Liverpool, Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Sunderland, among others.
24. Harrison Afful (29) participated in Brazil 2014 with Ghana, making two appearances in the group stage. The defender starred at four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, finishing third in 2008 and second in 2010 and 2015. A product of Feyenoord’s youth system, he was initially sent out on loan to Asante Kotoko, where he landed a Ghanaian Championship, before being transferred to Tunisian outfit Esperance in 2009. Since then, Afful has earned winners’ medals corresponding to four Tunisian League titles, a Tunisian Cup and a CAF Champions League crown. That continental victory enabled him to showcase his talents at the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup.
25. Hulk (29) reached the final of the Olympic Football Tournament with Brazil in 2012 and then hoisted the Confederations Cup the following year. In 2014, the powerful striker took part in the World Cup, playing in six encounters. He started off in his homeland at Vitoria, prior to exporting his skills to Japan, where he performed for Kawasaki Frontale, Consadole Sapporo and Tokyo Verdy. A move to Porto proved to be a pivotal moment in his career, as it was there that he rose to wider prominence, bagging four Primeira Liga titles, three Portuguese Cups, three Portuguese Super Cups and a UEFA Europa League title. In 2012, he committed himself to Zenit St. Petersburg, where he has since captured the Russian Premier League and Russian Super Cup.