Happy birthday to you!
Diego Milito (32) can boast a personal medal haul of which some teams would be envious. He had a particularly outstanding year with Inter Milan in 2010, when I Nerazzuri lifted five major trophies: Serie A, Italian Cup, Italian Super Cup, UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. Moreover, the Argentinian striker was instrumental in this success, scoring twice in the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich that saw his club crowned European champions. To top off an excellent year for the wily goal machine, he was voted Footballer of the Year by the Italian FA and by UEFA. Milito began his career in Argentina with Racing Club, with whom he won the Apertura championship, before trying his luck first with Genoa in Italy and then with Real Zaragoza in Spain. Upon re-signing for Genoa three years later, the prolific centre-forward’s displays for I Rossoblu attracted the interest of Inter, who enticed Milito to Milan in the summer of 2009. At the San Siro, he formed a fearsome striking partnership with Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o. Milito represented Argentina at the 2007 Copa America and was included in La Albiceleste’s final squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
Florent Malouda (31) rose to prominence during Lyon’s relatively recent domination ofFrance’s Ligue 1. His incisive bursts down the left flank were key to the club winning four French league titles and three Trophee des Champions during his time at Stade Gerland. Chelsea liked the look of the skilful winger, and made a move for him, with Malouda seizing the chance to join the big-spending Premier League outfit. In 2008, Malouda came close to adding the UEFA Champions League to his personal honours list, but the penalty shoot-out in the final was to go the way of rivals Manchester United. The French Guiana native has become a regular for France, and was included in the starting line-up for the Final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, a match that Les Bleus eventually lost to Italy. He was also selected for South Africa 2010, but could not inspire his team-mates to repeat their glorious run of the previous tournament.
Massimo Oddo (35) can sit back and enjoy a well-earned summer break, having helped AC Milan secure the Serie A title just a few weeks ago. The veteran right-back actually began his career with I Rossoneri, but could not break into the team at the time. He then played for a variety of Italian clubs, before signing for Lazio, where he won the Coppa Italia and became a favourite of the Stadio Olimpico faithful. He left the Rome-based side in 2007, going back to where it all started for him at the San Siro. It turned out to be an excellent move, as he went on to secure a succession of trophies with the club, including the UEFA Champions League, European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. Oddo then spent a short but fruitful spell inGermany, where he claimed a league title and German Cup with Bayern Munich. Yet again, the pull of Milan was too strong for the Italian defender, and he returned at the end of the 2008-09 season. At international level, Oddo can also look back in pride at his achievements, the highlight of which was undoubtedly being part of the Squadra Azzurra that lifted the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Oliver Kahn (42) is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history. He was the first-ever shot-stopper to win the adidas Golden Ball, an award he earned by dint of his outstanding displays at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Japan/Korea, where Germany made it all the way to the Final before being undone by a formidable Brazil side. Kahn took part in four FIFA World Cups in total, although in USA 1994 and France 1998 he did not actually see any playing time. It was in 2002 – as captain – that he led by example, putting in some remarkable performances. In Germany four years later Kahn had to play second fiddle to Jens Lehmann, but he still managed one appearance between the sticks. Kahn also played in three UEFA EUROs and one FIFA Confederations Cup. At club level, the Nationalmannschaft keeper started out at Karlsruhe, where his form brought him to the attention of Bayern Munich. After joining the Bavarian side, Kahn never looked back, winning eight German league titles, seven League Cups, six German Cups, a UEFA Champions League title, a UEFA Cup and a Toyota Intercontinental Cup. In 2008, Oliver Kahn hung up his gloves after enjoying a top-level career that spanned 21 years.
Cobi Jones (41) played an important role in the United States’ return to the forefront of global football during the 1990s. The most capped American player ever, Jones participated in three FIFA World Cups and two FIFA Confederations Cups, as well as four CONCACAF Gold Cups, one of which saw him lift the trophy. He played for two non-American clubs in his career – Coventry City in England, followed by Vasco de Gama in Brazil. The pacey midfielder then moved back home to join Los Angeles Galaxy, with whom he won two MLS Cups and the CONCACAF Champions League. After retiring as a player, Jones remained with the Los Angeles outfit to try his hand at coaching.
Zinho (44) made a significant contribution to Brazil winning the FIFA World Cup for the fourth time at USA 1994. Indeed, Zinho appeared in all of the Brazilians’ seven games on US soil, offering an attacking threat from wide on the left and providing vital support to A Seleção’sdeadly strike duo of Romario and Bebeto. He spent most of his club career in his homeland, including spells at heavyweights such as Flamengo, Palmeiras, Gremio and Cruzeiro, amassing an honours list which featured victory in five Brazilian championships, three Copas do Brasil and one Copa Libertadores. What is more, during his time in Japanese football with Yokohama Flugels, he helped the club to victory in both the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup and Asian Super Cup in 1995. He finally brought an end to his lengthy career in the colours of US side Miami FC.
Nadir Belhadj (29) was part of the young Algerian team that restored pride to the North African nation by qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. The French-born left winger perfected his skills at a variety of Ligue 1 clubs, starting at Lens, before moving on to Gueugnon, Sedan and Lyon. Belhadj then travelled north to re-join Les Dogues, before signing for Portsmouth, with whom he won the FA Cup. Two seasons later, he packed his bags for the Persian Gulf, where he can be found defending the colours of Qatari side Al Sadd, who have their eyes set on claiming the AFC Champions League crown this year.