Footballers past and present celebrate birthdays

It appears that some of football's biggest names are celebrating their birthdays today. Find out who they are with Sports Mole's February 5 review.

It is drummed in to all aspiring young footballers that hard work, dedication and sacrifice are all required to make it in the professional game.

While that may be true, it appears that being born on February 5 would also heighten their chances!

After all, who better to follow in the footsteps of than the world's best player, as voted for by his peers? Cristiano Ronaldo turns 29 today, although he would have awoken to the news that the Spanish Football Federation are not in a giving mood, having suspended him for three matches as a result of the red card that he received during the weekend's 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao.

However, the ban does not come into force in the Copa del Rey, so he is permitted to feature this evening against rivals Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United supporters will remember fondly how the Portuguese attacker wore the number seven shirt with such distinction, and the player tipped to take over his mantle, albeit five years after his departure, is Adnan Januzaj, who will be celebrating his 19th birthday.

The youngster has been one of the bright sparks in an otherwise largely disappointing campaign for United, which culminated in him being voted the club's Player of the Month for January by the supporters.

Ahead of Januzaj on the world stage at the moment is Neymar, who is now 22. There will be no birthday appearance for the Brazilian boy wonder, though, because he has failed to recover from an ankle injury in time to feature for Barcelona against Real Sociedad tonight.

Sticking with the Barca theme, Gheorghe Hagi spent two years at the Camp Nou following his exploits with Romania at the 1994 World Cup, where he was named in the Team of the Tournament. Forty-nine today, the creative playmaker also turned out for the likes of Real Madrid and Galatasaray during his distinguished career, which was brought to an end in 2001.

Hagi also spent time with Brescia in Italy, where birthday boy Carlos Tevez is making a name for himself right now. Having ended a controversial spell in England with West Ham United, Man United and Manchester City, the Argentine, who is now in his 30s, has scored 12 goals to help Juventus to open up a healthy margin at the top of the Serie A table.

Another football figure that has made a host of headlines for the wrong reasons is Sven-Goran Eriksson, 66 years old today. Twelve years ago today, the Swede saw his chances of taking charge of Man United ended when Sir Alex Ferguson opted against retiring.

At the 2004 European Championships and the 2006 World Cup, Eriksson's England were knocked out on both occasions by Portugal, who at some stage of those two tournaments also defeated a Netherlands side that contained former Arsenal full-back Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who is 39 today. The defender won titles in Scotland, England and Spain during his playing days.

Other February 5 birthdays: John Aloisi (former Coventry City and Australia striker), Rodrigo Palacio (current Inter Milan striker), Vedran Corluka (former Tottenham Hotspur defender), Andy Hinchcliffe (former Sheffield Wednesday and England defender), Manuel Fernandes (former Everton and Portsmouth midfielder), Billy Dodds (former Scotland striker), Jordan Rhodes (current Blackburn Rovers striker), Jesper Blomqvist (former Man United winger)

A dejected Manager David Moyes of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on October 26, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City97202942523
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd96302121921
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs85211551017
4Chelsea95131710716
5Watford94321517-215
6Burnley935186214
7Arsenal84131210213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle933398112
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
11West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom824279-210
12Huddersfield TownHuddersfield924359-410
13Southampton823379-29
14Swansea CitySwansea923458-39
15Everton8224513-88
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
17Stoke CityStoke9225920-118
18Leicester CityLeicester91441013-37
19Bournemouth9216612-67
20Crystal Palace9117218-164
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