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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1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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