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.
6. Homare Sawa (37) recently participated in her sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup™ with Japan, reaching the final in Canada four years after lifting the prestigious trophy at Germany 2011, where she was awarded the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe awards. Later that year, the all-action attacking midfielder was named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. In addition, she starred at four Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments, picking up a silver medal at London 2012, and she triumphed at the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, the 2010 Asian Games and the 2008 and 2010 East Asian Football Championship. At club level, Sawa made her name at Atlanta Beat in the United States, before winning eight Japanese League titles, six Empress’ Cups and a Japanese League Cup with Beleza. After a spell at Washington Freedom, the two-time AFC Player of the Year returned to Japan to enjoy a second stay with Beleza followed by a successful stint with Kobe Leonessa, where she added five national trophies to her CV.
7. Gabriel Milito (35) represented Argentina at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup and two Copa America tournaments, reaching the final in 2007. As a younger man, the rugged centre-back took part in the 1997 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He started out with Independiente, with whom he landed an Argentinian Championship, prior to signing for Real Zaragoza, where he held aloft the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana. In 2007, the defender joined Barcelona, where he amassed two Liga titles, two Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Champions League titles, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup. Milito subsequently retraced his steps and saw out the remainder of his playing days with Independiente. A move into coaching saw him recently take the reins of Estudiantes.
8. Diego Benaglio (32) travelled with the Switzerland squad to three World Cups: Germany 2006, where he remained on the bench, South Africa 2010, by which time he had established himself between the sticks for La Nati, and Brazil 2014, where he was the recognised No1. The talented goalkeeper also competed at UEFA EURO 2008 and at the 2012 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. After turning professional at Grasshopper Zurich, where he clinched a Swiss League crown, he was transferred to Stuttgart, but finding playing time hard to come by, he moved on to Portuguese side Nacional, where he became a firm favourite of the Funchal faithful. In 2008, Benaglio put pen to paper with Wolfsburg, where he would go on to claim a Bundesliga title, a DFB-Pokal and a DFL-Super Cup.
9. Oscar (24) was part of the Brazilian teams that emerged victorious from the 2011 U-20 World Cup and the 2011 South American Youth Championship. The creative playmaker also earned a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After stepping up to the senior side, he hoisted the 2013 Confederations Cup and made seven appearances at Brazil 2014, scoring two goals. Oscar began his career at Sao Paolo, winning a Brazilian League title, before joining Internacional, where he captured two Rio Grande do Sul State Championships and a Recopa Sudamericana, and finished third at the 2010 Club World Cup. The exciting attacking midfielder then exported his skills to his current club, Chelsea, where he has since bagged an English Premier League crown, English League Cup and UEFA Europa League title, as well as earning a runners-up medal in the 2012 Club World Cup final.
10. Horst-Dieter Hottges (72) represented West Germany at England 1966, where he and his team-mates reached the Final. He went on to play in two more World Cups, including a third place finish at Mexico 1970 and on home soil in 1974, where he hoisted the Trophy. The tough-tackling defender also played at EURO 1972, where the West Germans enjoyed continental glory for the first time. Hottges started off at Borussia Monchengladbach, but spent the majority of his career with Werder Bremen, with whom he landed a Bundesliga title in 1965.
11. Ricardo Rocha (53) lifted the 1994 World Cup with Brazil, the Verde-Amarela’s fourth global crown. During his club career, the nomadic centre-back turned out for numerous clubs in South America – including Sao Paolo, where he won a Brazilian League title and a Sao Paolo State Championship, and Vasco da Gama, with whom he secured a Rio de Janeiro State Championship – and Europe, where his greatest successes, a Spanish Cup and Spanish Super Cup, came at Real Madrid. Rocha was named Brazilian Footballer of the Year in 1989.
12. Junior Diaz (32) made his World Cup debut with Costa Rica last year, following two previous unsuccessful qualifying attempts. At Brazil 2014, the versatile defender appeared in all five of Los Ticos’ matches, including their quarter-final exit at the hands of the Netherlands. He had previously taken part in the 2004 Copa America and in four CONCACAF Gold Cups. Diaz rose to prominence at Herediano, prior to packing his bags for Europe and Wisla Krakow, where he won three Polish League titles. After stints at Club Brugge and Mainz, the Costa Rican committed himself to newly promoted Bundesliga outfit Darmstadt earlier this year.