Sunday 18 December 2016, 08:36

Happy Birthday to you!

In our regular Sunday feature, presents you with some of the biggest names in football who will be celebrating their birthdays over the coming week.

18. Shui Qingxia(50) represented China PR at the first two FIFA Women’s World Cup™ tournaments, China 1991 and Sweden 1995, as well as at the inaugural Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 1996 in Atlanta, where she earned a silver medal after she and her team-mates lost to USA in the final. The midfielder was also called up to the squad for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

19. Ali Adnan(23) defended the colours of Iraq at the 2012 AFC U-19 Championship, where the Lions of Mesopotamia lost in the final, and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, where they finished fourth. The marauding full-back also picked up a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games, reached the final of the 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations, and claimed fourth place at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia. After starting out at Baghdad FC, his fine international displays led to him signing for Turkish outfit Caykur Rizespor. Two years later, he joined his current club, Udinese. Back in 2013, Adnan was named Asian Young Footballer of the Year.

20. Fabienne Humm(30) helped Switzerland to reach their first-ever Women’s World Cup, at Canada 2015, scoring eight goals during the European qualifying campaign. At the tournament proper, she scored a five-minute hat-trick against Ecuador, surpassing the previous record of eight minutes. The Swiss debutantes eventually reached the knockout stages, a performance that the versatile forward and her team-mates hope to repeat at the UEFA Women’s EURO next summer. Humm began her career at Schlieren, before moving to FC Zurich, where she has since racked up six Swiss League titles and four Swiss Cups, and finished top of the Swiss scoring charts in the 2013/14 season.

21. Cristian Zaccardo(35) made three appearances during Italy’s triumphant FIFA World Cup™ campaign – the nation’s fourth victory in total – at Germany 2006. The adaptable defender had previously enjoyed success on German soil at the 2004 UEFA European U-21 Championship. Although Zaccardo spent the majority of his career in Italy, with clubs such as Bologna, Palermo, Parma, AC Milan and Carpi, it was with German team Wolfsburg that he earned his one and only league winners’ medal, in 2009.

22. Dan Petrescu(49) played for Romania at USA 1994, appearing in five matches and finding the net against the hosts, and at France 1998, making four appearances and scoring a winner against England. The tireless full-back also participated in UEFA EURO 1996 and UEFA EURO 2000. He turned professional with Steaua Bucharest, where he landed three Romanian League titles and two Romanian Cups, but rose to wider prominence after performing in Italy – with Foggia and Genoa – and in England, where he turned out for Sheffield Wednesday, Chelsea, Bradford City and Southampton, bagging an FA Cup, English League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup with the London club. The astute Romanian then moved into coaching, steering Unirea Urziceni to the Romanian League title, Kuban Krasnodar to the Russian second division title and Targu Mures to the Romanian Super Cup. He also took the reins of Dynamo Moscow, Wisla Krakov (Poland), Al Arabi (Qatar) and Jiangsu Suning, where his charges lifted the Chinese Cup, and is currently the coach of Emirati side Al Nasr.

23. Vicente del Bosque(66) recently retired from his position of national coach of Spain, after eight years of loyal service. During that period, he guided La Roja to success at the 2010 World Cup and at EURO 2012, and to the final of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. The Salamanca native was also at the helm during Brazil 2014 and EURO 2016. As a player, the defensive midfielder made his name – following spells with Cordoba and Castellon – with Real Madrid, where he amassed five Liga titles and four Spanish Cups and gained international recognition, competing for Spain at EURO 1980. After hanging up his boots, he took charge of Real Madrid’s reserve team and then of the senior team, leading them to glory in La Liga (twice), the Spanish Super Cup, the UEFA Champions League (twice), the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. Del Bosque also spent a season at the helm of Turkish outfit Besiktas.

24. Michael Babatunde(24) starred for Nigeria at the 2013 Confederations Cup and at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where he contributed to the Super Eagles’ qualification for the Round of 16. The skilful playmaker rose to prominence with Nigerian side Heartland, prior to packing his bags for Ukraine and pulling on the jerseys of Kryvbass Kryvyi Rih, Volyn Lutsk and Dnipro. Babatunde later played for Raja Casablanca and Qatar SC, his current club.