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.
2. Meghan Klingenberg (27) was part of the USA team that recently lifted the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Canada, where she played in all seven of her country’s matches. The energetic defender had previously held aloft the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup at Chile 2008. At club level, the Pennsylvania native began her football career at magicJack, before turning out for Boston Breakers, Western New York Flash, Tyreso (Sweden) and current side Houston Dash.
3. Ingvild Stensland (34) represented Norway at two consecutive Women’s World Cups, at China 2007, where she and her team-mates finished fourth, and Germany 2011. The determined midfielder also starred at the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament and at several UEFA Women’s Championships, losing to Germany in the final in 2005 and 2013 and reaching the semi-finals in 2009. Stensland rose to prominence at Kolbotn, winning three Norwegian Championships, prior to exporting her skills abroad to Swedish side Kopparbergs/Goteborg and then to French giants Lyon, where she claimed two French League titles and a UEFA Women’s Champions League crown. She is presently on the books of Norwegian outfit Stabaek.
4. Marcos (42) was Brazil’s last line of defence at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, where the South Americans captured their fifth global crown. The goalkeeper’s first taste of major international competition came in 1999, when he travelled to the Copa America and the FIFA Confederations Cup but he remained on the bench throughout both events. After competing at the 2001 Copa America, the athletic custodian made one appearance at the 2005 Confederations Cup in Germany, partly contributing to A Canarinho’s eventual victory. Marcos remained a loyal servant of Palmeiras for the duration of his club career, securing two Brazilian Serie A titles, a Brazilian Cup, four Sao Paulo State Championships, a Copa Libertadores and a Brazilian Serie B title over a 20-year period.
5. Salomon Kalou (30) brandished the 2015 CAF Africa Cup of Nations with Côte d’Ivoire, earning his first winners’ medal in the event at the fifth time of asking. The tricky winger had previously reached the final of the continental contest in 2012, a near-miss that was sandwiched between two World Cup campaigns, at South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, where he played for Les Éléphants in three group-stage encounters. In addition, Kalou appeared at the 2008 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. The Abidjan-born wide man turned professional at Feyenoord, where he – after a brief loan stint at Excelsior – attracted the interest of Chelsea, who secured his signature in 2006. After a trophy-laden six-year spell at Stamford Bridge during where he landed a UEFA Champions League title, four FA Cups, an English League Cup and an FA Community Shield, the skilful Ivoirian moved on to Lille and then Hertha Berlin.
6. Juanma (36) is one of the stalwarts of Spain’s national beach soccer team, with whom he has participated in six FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. The Spaniard reached the quarter-finals in 2005, 2007 and 2009, and finished fourth in 2008. At Tahiti 2013, the seasoned defender attained the final, where La Roja lost to Russia, while at this year’s tournament in Portugal, he and his team-mates failed to advance from the group stage.
7. Valter Birsa (29) competed for Slovenia at South Africa 2010, where he netted one goal in three matches but was unable to prevent his team from suffering an early exit. The creative playmaker made his name in his homeland with Gorica, where he won two Slovenian League titles. In 2006, he decided to join Sochaux, where he lifted French Cup the following year. After two subsequent seasons at Auxerre, Birsa would later pull on the jerseys of Genoa, Torino, AC Milan and Chievo.
8. Neri Cardozo (29) hoisted the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup with Argentina, playing in four games alongside Lionel Messi. The attacking midfielder had previously taken part in the 2003 edition of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, where La Albiceleste finished fourth, and in the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Finland, where they finished third. He came through the ranks at Boca Juniors, clinching three Primera Division titles, a Copa Libertadores, two Copa Sudamericana trophies and three Recopa Sudamericana crowns, and reaching the final of the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup. Following a season with Chiapas, Cardozo signed for Monterrey, going on to scoop a Mexican League Championship and three successive CONCACAF Champions League titles. Those continental successes paved the way to the Club World Cup, where Los Rayados claimed third place in 2012.