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.
24. Marcus Tulio Tanaka (35) appeared for Japan during the qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, playing in 12 matches and scoring three goals, and at the competition proper, where he and his team-mates reached the knockout stages. In addition, he represented his country at the 2004 Men’s Olympic Football Tournament. The commanding centre-back began his career with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, before starring for Mito Hollyhock and Urawa Red Diamonds, where he claimed a Japanese Footballer of the Year award, a J. League title, a Japanese Super Cup, two Emperor’s Cups, an AFC Champions League crown and a third-place finish at the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup. Six seasons later, Tanaka signed for Nagoya Grampus, where he added another league title and Super Cup to his CV.
25. Gilberto (40) participated in two World Cup adventures with Brazil, at Germany 2006, where he notched a goal, and at South Africa 2010. He also took part in the 2003 and 2005 FIFA Confederations Cups, triumphing at the latter tournament, and in the 2007 Copa America, where A Canarinho emerged victorious again. At club level, the versatile left-footer rose to prominence at Flamengo, where he won a Rio de Janeiro State Championship, but also picked up silverware with Cruzeiro, where he clinched two Minas Gerais State Championships during two separate spells, with Vasco de Gama, where he secured a Brazilian League title and reached the final of the inaugural Club World Cup in 2000, and with Sao Caetano, where he earned a Campeonato Paulista winners’ medal. Abroad, Gilberto defended the colours of Inter Milan, Hertha Berlin and Tottenham Hotspur.
26. Hector Enrique (54) made five appearances for Argentina at Mexico 1986, including the Final against West Germany, by the end of which the South Americans had captured the prestigious trophy for the second time. After turning professional with Lanus, the astute midfield man moved to River Plate, where he racked up two Argentinian League titles, a Copa Libertadores and an Intercontinental Cup. The South American later turned out for Deportivo Espanol, Lanus (again) and Japanese outfit Tosu Futures.
27. Josef Hickersberger (68) was part of the Austria team that reached the second round of Argentina 1978. The incisive midfielder started out at ASK Amstetten, prior to bagging two Austrian Bundesliga crowns and three Austrian Cups with Austria Vienna. A move to German football saw him perform for Kickers Offenbach and Fortuna Düsseldorf, after which he returned to his homeland, joining Innsbruck initially and then Rapid Vienna, with whom he enjoyed a league-winning swansong. Hickersberger subsequently embarked on a successful coaching career, taking the helm of the Austrian national side at Italy 1990 and again at UEFA EURO 2008. He later took charge of Fortuna Dusseldorf, Bahrain, Al Wasl (UAE), Al Shabab (also UAE), Austria Vienna, whom he guided to an Austrian Cup triumph, and Manama-based Al Ahli, Qatari side Al Gharrafa and Rapid Vienna, winning national championships with all three clubs. In 2010, the Austrian tactician coached Al Wahda during their Club World Cup campaign.
28. Pauleta (43) led the line for Portugal at Korea/Japan 2002, where he recorded a hat-trick versus Poland but could not prevent his side from exiting at the group stage, and at Germany 2006, where he scored once as A Selecção das Quinas finished fourth. The clinical striker also played at EURO 2000 and EURO 2004, where Portugal lost in the final to Greece on home soil. The Azores native made his name at Estoril, where his goalscoring prowess attracted the attention of Salamanca, then in the Spanish Segunda Division, with whom he finished top scorer in the league, achieved promotion to La Liga and earned a move to Deportivo La Coruna. After winning a remarkable league title with the modest Galician club, Pauleta tried his luck in France, first with Bordeaux, where he hoisted the Coupe de la Ligue and topped the national scoring charts, and then with Paris Saint-Germain, where he held aloft two French Cups and another French League Cup, and twice finished top scorer in Ligue 1.
29. Alejandro Bedoya (29) played four times for United States at Brazil 2014, having previously taken part in two CONCACAF Gold Cups, attaining the final in 2011 and brandishing the continental trophy in 2013. The energetic winger came through the American university system, finally making his professional debut with Swedish team Orebro SK. Bedoya later pulled on the jerseys of Rangers, Helsingborgs and Nantes, his current club.
30. Franky Van der Elst (55) is regarded as a Belgian football legend, having made a total of 15 appearances at four successive World Cups, namely Mexico 1986, Italy 1990, USA 1994 and France 1998. The defensive midfielder started off at Molenbeek, but after six campaigns he was transferred to Club Brugge, where he would go on to enjoy iconic status by amassing five Belgian League crowns, three Belgian Cups, seven Belgian Super Cups and two Belgian Footballer of the Year awards over the course of 15 seasons.