And even after Jairzinho hung up his boots, he had one consequential function to perform: unearthing Ronaldo, who has gone on to become another legend of the FIFA World Cup.There is some similitude between Jairzinho and Etienne Mattler: the French defender was also born on Christmas Day, in his case in 1905; he was too a robust yet curiously agile player; and he likewise participated in three FIFA World Cups, which earned fut 15 coins him the distinction of being one of only four men to have turned out in all pre-second world war editions of the competition. Mattler also served Sochaux infallibly, helping them win the only two Ligue 1 crowns in their history during the 1930s.

Emmanuel Amuneke, born on 25 December 1970, is another to have impressed the FIFA World Cup. Although slight in stature, he had an abundance of pace and trickery, which he used to help Nigeria top Group D en route to being edged by Italy in the Round of 16 at USA 1994. Still, his performances proved enough to earn him the African Footballer of the Year award that same year, and two years later he scored the winner in a 3-2 defeat of Argentina in the final of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament.

Just months earlier, Gary McAllister, exactly six years Amuneke's senior, captained Scotland at UEFA EURO 1996. The appearances the cerebral, elegant midfielder made in England contributed to the 57 caps he won for his country, although he gained more acclaim, perhaps, at club level. After starring for Motherwell and Leicester City, he joined Leeds United, whom he helped become English champions in 1992.When Coventry City released McAllister in the summer of 2000, few could have envisaged that, at 36, he would ink another glowing chapter in his career with one of the world's biggest clubs. But he did just that, playing memorable roles in Liverpool's seizure of five titles in 2001. McAllister capped off an unforgettable year by receiving an MBE for his services to football.