Blaszczykowski is one of Poland’s most capped and recognisable footballers, yet the fact the ex-Borussia Dortmund winger has enjoyed a stellar career at all is a miracle in itself.
When he was 10 he witnessed his father murder his mother, which led to him turning his back on football.
He was persuaded to return by uncle Jerzy Brzeczek, himself a former Poland captain, and his grandmother, who he credits with his success.
Turning 31 today, Blaszczykowski started his career with Wisla Krakow before joining Dortmund in 2007, scoring 32 goals in 252 games and winning two Bundesligatitles and the DFB-Pokal.
Blaszczykowski was named Polish Footballer of the Year in 2008 and 2010 and has won 89 Polish caps, scoring 18 goals.
He captained them as they co-hosted Euro 2012 and was part of the Euro 2016 squad.
More sport star birthdays on this day:
1946: Stan Smith, former World No1 American tennis player and two-time grand slam singles champion (70).
1956: Hanni Wenzel, former alpine skiier. An Olympic, World Cup and world champion from Liechtenstein (60).
1979: Michael Owen, ex-footballer who played for Liverpool and Man United, and won 89 England caps (37).
1988: Sam Burgess, English rugby league player for NRL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs. Dual code international (28).
One of the most buckaneering innings in cricket history was plundered on this day, 41 years ago.
West Indies legend Roy Fredericks was the man to produce it, with one of the sport’s finest proponents of the hook shot sending Australia’s feared pace bowlers Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson all across the WACA.
This was a series dominated by the hosts, who won five out of the six games. But the second match was Fredericks’ and his nation’s time to shine.
By lunch on the second day, the Windies were 130-1 – from just 14 overs.
Fredericks flayed 50 off 33 balls, 100 off 71 and ended up needing just 145 deliveries for his awe-inspiring score of 145.
1936: Boston Redskins lose final game, prior to Washington move.
1942: Stephane Stanis scored a world-record 16 goals in a professional football match for Lens.
2007: Mitchell Report is released listing the names of 89 Major League Baseball players that have presumably used performance enhancers.
2007: The FA approved appointment of Fabio Capello as England boss.
Paralympics pioneer Sascha Kindred was born on this day, 39 years ago.
Kindred – who suffers from cerebral palsy on the right-hand side of his body – has gone on to dominate the pool for his adopted Great Britain, collecting seven golds, three silvers and three bronzes from 1996-2016.
His triumphs have come in the S6 [butterfly], SM6 [medley] and SB7 [breaststroke] classifications. Success runs in the family, with wife Nyree Lewis being a fellow British Paralympic gold medal winning swimmer.
Kindred’s victories have not just been restricted to the Olympics.
An impressive 19 medals [nine gold] at IPC World Championships, 24 medals [nine gold] at European Championships, and a gold medal at the 2006 Paralympic World Cup in Manchester have all been attained during a stellar career for the Germany-born star.
1952: John Francome, seven-time champion jump jockey who rode an incredible 1,138 winners (64).
1962: Rex Ryan, part of the famous Ryan family in American football and current head coach of Buffalo Bills (54).
1984: Santi Cazorla, stylish Arsenal and Spain midfielder who won Euro 2008 and 2012 (32).
1988: Rickie Fowler, American golfer who finished inside the top five at all four majors in 2014 (28).