Famous Football Families
Here’s a look at the most notable football family connections, past and present.
Fathers and Sons
The Ayews: Abedi Ayew, known more as Abedi Pele is considered the greatest player in Ghanaian history. He was a big part of Marseille’s success in the early 1990s, captained Ghana for six years, and scored 33 goals for his country. His sons, Andre and Jordan Ayew, are now both exciting young attackers at Marseille, and Andre, Jordan, and brother Ibrahim, who plays for Belgian side Lierse, have all represented Ghana at senior level.
The Bradleys: Bob Bradley coached the U.S. men’s national team from 2006 to 2011, and he’s coached his son at club (with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars in 2004 and 2005) and international level. Michael, a midfielder for Serie A side Chievo, has 63 caps and eight goals for the U.S., one of which was a dramatic equalizer against Slovenia in the 2010 World Cup.
The Chamberlains: Mark Chamberlain, a winger, earned eight caps for England from 1982-84 and starred for the likes of Stoke City and Portsmouth in his career. From early indications, it’s likely his son, exciting young Arsenal prospect Alex, also a winger, will earn many, many more than that.
The Cloughs: Father Brian is known as one of the greatest English managers of all time, primarily due to his success with Nottingham Forest, with whom he won the First Division in 1978 and back-to-back European Cup titles in 1979 and 1980. Clough also led Derby County to their first First Division title in 1972, and his son Nigel followed in his father’s footsteps by taking the reins at Derby in 2009 after managing Burton Albion for more than a decade.
The Forlans: Like the above, father Forlan was a defender, while his son has become a renowned attacker. Pablo Forlan, a defender, picked up 17 caps for Uruguay from 1966-76. His son, Diego, has suited up for the likes of Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, and Inter Milan, won the Golden Ball at the 2010 World Cup, and has scored 32 goals for his country.
The Gourcuffs: Another French father/son duo is Christian Gourcuff and Yoann Gourcuff. Christian has had three spells as the manager of Lorient (1982-86, 1991-2001, and 2003-present), while Yoann, an attacking midfielder, is now at Lyon after stints at Rennes, AC Milan, and Bordeaux and has four goals in 28 appearances for France.
The Djorkaeffs: Father Jean had a long career as a defender from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s, earning 48 caps for France and having spells at Lyon, Marseille, and PSG. His son, Youri, made his reputation as a great attacker, starring for AS Monaco, PSG, and Inter, among others, and earning 82 caps for France from 1993-2002.
The Koemans: Martin Koeman had a very respectable career as a footballer and earned a cap for the Netherlands, but his sons Ronald and Erwin are his biggest contribution to Dutch football. Ronald, now the manager of Feyenoord, starred for Barcelona from 1989-95 and for his country for more than a decade, and he’s completed the unique feat of both playing for and managing each of the Dutch ‘Big Three’ of Ajax, Feyenoord, and PSV.
Ronald also has the distinction of scoring more goals than any other defender in football history, with quite a few of his nearly 200 career goals coming from free kicks and long range shots, of which he was a master.
Older brother Erwin, a midfielder, starred for FC Groningen and PSV in his career and was capped by his country 31 times, and like his brother, he went into management, with his most notable stints being with Feyenoord and the Hungarian national team. Like a set of brothers below, the Koemans were both part of a major international tournament-winning side, as they were in the Dutch squad that won Euro 1998.
The Maldinis: Cesar Maldini recorded more than 400 appearances for AC Milan from 1954-66 and earned 25 caps for Italy between 1962-68 before going into management, managing his old side twice and Italy from 1996-98. Like his father, son Paolo, starred as a defender, and he spent his entire career with AC Milan, racking up more than 900 club appearances and 126 more for his country before retiring in 2009. Both father and son captained Milan to a Champions League title, Cesare in 1963 and Paolo in 2003.
The Reinas: Father Manuel was a goalkeeper for Barcelona (1966-73) and Atletico Madrid (1973-80), and he earned five caps for Spain. His son, known to most as Pepe, started out at Barca before moving on to Villarreal and then Liverpool, where he’s been #1 since arriving in 2005. The son hasn’t won a league title, which his father did with Atletico in 1977, but he has winners‘ medals from Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
The Wrights: Ian Wright was a star striker for Crystal Palace and Arsenal in the 1980s and 90s, and he scored more than 300 goals in his career. His total of 33 England caps has been eclipsed by his adopted son, QPR winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, who has 36 caps and had two stints at Manchester City sandwiched around a spell with Chelsea, who bought him from City for £21m in 2005 and sold him back to City three years later for £8.5m.
Another of Wright’s sons, Bradley Wright-Phillips, who began his career at Manchester City, is now a star striker for League One side Charlton, while his cousin Jermaine, a well-traveled midfielder and defender who had stints with the likes of Ipswich, Leeds, and Southampton, retired from the game last year.
The Charltons: Older brother Jack, a defender, spent his entire playing career with Leeds United, and he went on to take the Republic of Ireland to unseen heights as manager from 1986 to 1996, leading them to Euro 1988 (their first major international tournament), the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup, and the second round of the 1994 World Cup.
Younger brother Bobby, an attacker, spent the majority of his career with Manchester United, surviving the Munich disaster to set club records with 758 appearances (since broken by Ryan Giggs) and 249 goals.
Both brothers also starred for England and were part of the World Cup-winning side in 1966, and Bobby, who was capped 106 times, remains England’s all-time leading scorer with 49 goals. The two brothers were barely on speaking terms for quite some time, but it appears that any fences have since been mended.
The Da Silvas: Twin brothers Fabio and Rafael are both defenders for Manchester United. Fabio, who can play in either full-back slot or in midfield, has two senior caps for Brazil, while Rafael, who’s most at home at right back, has garnered more experience with United thus far.
The De Boers: Twins Frank, a defender, and Ronald, a midfielder, played together at five clubs during their career (Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan, and Al-Shamal) and were regulars for the Dutch national team, with Frank picking up 112 caps and Ronald 67. Since retiring in 2006, Frank has gone into management and has managed Ajax since 2010, leading the club to the Eredivisie title last season.
The Laudrups: This Danish attacking duo was as talented as any set of brothers in any sport, as both were named in Pele‘s list of the 125 greatest living footballers in 2004. Older brother Michael, who starred for the likes of Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, is Denmark‘s greatest-ever talent. But Brian, who played for Bayern Munich, Rangers, and Ajax, has something his brother doesn’t have – a winners‘ medal from Denmark‘s Euro 1992 triumph, which Michael wasn’t a part of due to conflicts with the coach.
The Nevilles: Both Gary and Phil were integral to United’s success over the last two decades. Gary, capped by England 85 times, was one of the best right backs in United history and spent his entire career at the club before retiring last year to go into punditry. The versatile Phil, who picked up 59 England caps, moved to Everton in 2005, where he’s currently captain.
Socrates and Rai: Socrates, who died in December at the age of 57, is one of Brazil’s all-time greats, and the towering attacking midfielder scored 22 goals for Brazil in 60 appearances. Unfortunately, he never tasted World Cup glory, unlike his younger brother, also an attacking midfielder.
Rai, who starred at PSG in the 1990s, scored 17 goals in 51 appearances for his country, and was part of Brazil’s World Cup-winning squad in 1994.
The Toures: Brothers Kolo, previously of Arsenal, and Yaya, previously of Barcelona, have been together at Manchester City since Yaya joined in the summer of 2010. Both are key players for the Ivory Coast national side, and they also have another brother, Ibrahim, who plays professionally.
Edin Dzeko and Emir Spahic: Manchester City and Bosnia striker Dzeko is first cousins with Sevilla center back Spahic, who’s the captain of Bosnia’s national side.
Alex Song and Rigobert Song:Arsenal and Cameroon midfielder Alex Song is the cousin of legendary Cameroonian defender Rigobert Song, who recorded 138 caps for his country between 1993 and 2010.
Same Family, Different Countries
The Boatengs:AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and his brother Jerome, a defender for Bayern Munich, were born and raised in Germany and both rose through the ranks in Germany‘s youth system. But while Kevin opted to play for Ghana, their father‘s native country, Jerome stayed with Germany. And the two faced off in the 2010 World Cup group stage, the first time two brothers had been on the pitch for opposing teams in an international match.
Marcos Senna and Marcos Assuncao: Longtime Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna was born and raised in Brazil and played there until he was well into his 20s, but he ended up recording 28 caps for Spain. Meanwhile, his cousin Marcos Assuncao, who played for AS Roma and Real Betis at one point in his career, earned 11 caps for Brazil, all from 1998-2000.
Mazinho and Thiago Alcantara: Mazinho picked up 35 caps for Brazil between 1989 and 1994 and was part of Brazil’s World Cup-winning side in 1994. However, his son, Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, pledged his allegiance to Spain and has already picked up three senior caps.
Luka Modric and Mark Viduka:Tottenham and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric is a distant cousin of former Celtic and Leeds striker Mark Viduka, who captained Australia at the 2006 World Cup.
Multiple Generations, Relations by Marriage, and More
Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero: Little Benjamin Aguero isn’t even three, but there are already high expectations for his future, due to his wonderful bloodlines. His father is Manchester City and Argentina star Sergio Aguero, and his mother, Aguero’s wife Giannina, is the daughter of none other than the Diego Maradona.
Along with taking his daughter, Aguero also took his future father-in-law’s record as the youngest debutant in the Argentine top flight when he debuted for Independiente in July 2003 at the age of 15 years, 35 days.
The Ferdinands: Brothers Anton and Rio Ferdinand have made their name as defenders, with Rio being a longtime stalwart for Manchester United and England, but their cousin Les, whose career included spells with QPR, Newcastle, and Tottenham, is known as one of the best strikers of the Premier League era, with 149 career Premier League goals.
Javier Hernandez, Javier Hernandez Gutierrez and Tomas Balcazar: Rio’s United teammate, striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, became the third member of his family to represent Mexico at the World Cup when he did so in South Africa in 2010, following in the footsteps of his father, Javier Hernandez Gutierrez, who represented Mexico at the 1986 World Cup, and his grandfather, Tomas Balcazar, who represented Mexico at the 1954 World Cup.
The Fergusons: Peterborough United manager Darren has followed in the footsteps of his father, legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. Darren started his career at United and played for his father in the early 90s, while Sir Alex’s brother Martin is presently United’s chief European scout.
The Redknapps and the Lampards: Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the father of former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Jamie, who was capped 17 times by England and is now a pundit for Sky Sports, and his nephew is Chelsea star Frank Lampard, who started his career under his uncle at West Ham. Lampard’s father, Frank Lampard, Sr., was teammates with Redknapp at West Ham in the 1960s and 70s, and his late wife was the sister of Harry Redknapp’s wife Sandra.
The Vladimir Weiss’s: The name Vladimir Weiss is a big part of Czechoslovakian/Slovakian football’s past and present. The first was a center back the Czechoslovakian team that won the silver medal at the 1964 Olympics. His son Vladimir, a midfielder who earned 31 caps for Czechoslovakia/Slovakia from 1988-95, is now a manager and led Slovakia to the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup. On that team was grandson Vladimir, a talented young winger and a highly-rated Manchester City prospect who’s currently on loan at Espanyol.