Have you ever been watching a game and heard a player’s name and wondered if they were related to so-and-so? It seems like every league and sporting series has its share of father-son contributors and sibling rivalries at one time or another. In the NFL, there are the Barbers, Sharpes and Mannings. In the MLB, we’ve had the Alomars, Fielders and Ripkens. Tennis has the Williams sisters. In the NHL, it seems like there have been countless Staals and Sutters over the years. Of course, who can forget racing's Andrettis and Earnhardts. Certain families just seem to produce great athletes.
Although there have been many families which have become entrenched in sporting culture, there have been many more which never fully dominated. This is because not all the family members were as skilled or accomplished. Remember Brent Gretzky? How about Wayne Rooney’s brother, John? Both had professional careers, but never measured up to the high standards set by their siblings. Many other sporting families have gone this way, leaving only one of the family members in the spotlight.
In the world of soccer, or football, the same can be said. It’s likely you can think of many soccer families but how many are truly great? Peter Schmeichel was a great goalkeeper and his son Kasper is establishing himself in the English Championship, but are they a great soccer family? How about the Hlebs, the Mandandas, the Hazards or the Cruyffs? All are soccer families, but they tend to be dominated more by one member. The following list covers some of the most well known and accomplished families to have stepped on to the pitch. To list all of the great soccer families would require a book. Therefore, for the purposes of this list, only the most well known and accomplished father-son and brother combinations have been included. To further reduce the list to something manageable, only blood relatives were included. Sorry Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero fans. That said, what follows are some of the most famous families in world soccer, listed in no particular order.
15 The Boatengs
Kevin-Prince and Jérôme Boateng are German-born brothers who both currently play in the Bundesliga. Over his career, Kevin-Prince opted to play for the Ghanaian national team 11 times and made over 270 club appearances with Hertha Berlin, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Portsmouth, AC Milan and Schalke 04. In his club career, he has so far scored 39 times.
Apart from one season with Manchester City in the Premier League, younger brother Jérôme has spent his entire career in the Bundesliga. The defender has, so far, logged over 260 appearances with half of those coming at current club, Bayern Munich. Unlike his brother, Jérôme opted to play for the German national team, making 37 appearances. The family ties to world football extend to their uncle, Robert Boateng, who played for Norwegian club Rosenborg, Ghanaian club Asante Kotoko and the Ghanaian national side. It is also reported there are maternal links to famous German footballer Helmut Rahn.
14 The Forlans
Pablo Forlán was a Uruguayan footballer and defender who played for several clubs and the Uruguay national team during his career. At the club level, he played for famous sides including São Paulo and Nacional. Pablo enjoyed the most success with the Montevideo based Club Atlético Peñarol, where he won several league titles and cups. Internationally, he represented Uruguay at both the 1966 and 1974 FIFA World Cups.
Pablo’s son is well-known forward Diego Forlán. He began his senior career in Argentina with Independiente and gained international fame with his high-profile move to Manchester United in 2001. Diego has since played for several other clubs, including Villarreal, Atlético Madrid, Inter Milan and Internacional, making over 590 appearances and scoring over 230 goals. Internationally, he has so far represented Uruguay 107 times and scored 36 goals.
13 The Reinas
Like father, like son. Miguel and Pepe Reina are a Spanish father-son goalkeeper duo. From 1964 to 1980, Miguel played in Spain, taking to the pitch with Córdoba, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. In all, he made over 300 league appearances and nearly 500 total appearances during his career. During the 1973-74 season, Miguel went 824 minutes without conceding a goal. This record stood until 2011 when it was broken by another Barcelona keeper, Víctor Valdés.
Pepe Reina currently plays for Napoli in Serie A. Like his father, Pepe enjoyed a spell at Barcelona, although it was shorter and less successful. Successful periods spent at Villarreal and Liverpool made Pepe a well known figure in the world of football. He quickly developed a reputation for being an excellent penalty stopper, a skill he used to help win the 2006 FA Cup final. So far, Pepe has made 609 appearances and kept 249 clean sheets. Internationally, he has made 30 appearances for the Spanish national team.
12 The Inzaghis
In a career spanning over 20 years, Filippo Inzaghi became one of Serie A’s greatest players. Of the several clubs he played for, the Italian striker made his mark at Juventus and, most notably, AC Milan. He made more than 620 appearances and scored 288 goals. Internationally, he represented Italy 57 times and scored a further 25 goals. He has won three Serie A titles, two Champions League titles, one World Cup and a host of individual awards. He is the second highest scoring player in European club competitions.
Filippo’s younger brother is Simone. While he did not enjoy the heights of success experienced by his older brother, Simone still made 327 appearances and netted 90 goals. Much of his career was spent on loan and his longest stay was with Lazio, with whom he made 129 league appearances. Internationally, he made only a handful of appearances for Italy. Upon retirement, both brothers began careers as coaches in Serie A.
11 The Hoeness’
Uli and Dieter Hoeness are brothers and Bayern Munich legends. The eldest is Uli, who spent his entire career from 1970 to 1979 with Bayern Munich, although his last season saw him loaned to FC Nürnberg. The striker enjoyed considerable success over his career scoring 86 league goals in 250 appearances. Domestically, he won three league titles and three European Cups with Bayern Munich. Internationally, Uli lifted the World Cup once with Germany in 1974.
Dieter joined Bayern Munich in 1979, right when Uli was leaving. Before this, he had made over 200 league appearances with Stuttgart and Aalen, scoring 90 goals. At Bayern, he continued his scoring ways, adding another 102 goals in 224 league appearances. While more prolific in front of goal than his brother, Dieter did not enjoy the same European or International success. He did, however, help Bayern to five league titles.
10 The Ayews
Abedi Ayew is a former Ghanaian international footballer who enjoyed a 20 year career, playing for several clubs. He has played for clubs in Ghana, Qatar, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Benin and the United Arab Emirates. Known better as Abedi Pele, a name given in respect to his skill level, he had his greatest time at French sides Lille and Marseille. He made 479 league appearances and scored 157 goals. His biggest club success was in 1993 when Marseille won the Champions League title. Internationally, he has made 67 appearances for Ghana and scored 33 times.
Abedi has three sons, all of whom have made appearances for the national team. Jordan is the youngest and plays as a striker for Marseille. In 158 appearances he has scored 23 times. Brother André is two years older and also plays for Marseille. The winger has made 218 appearances and scored 53 times. The oldest brother, Ibrahim, has played defence for clubs in Ghana, Belgium and Egypt, making over 150 appearances. In addition to their father, the three brothers have strong footballing ties with their uncles, Kwame Ayew and Sola Ayew, both established players.
9 The Djorkaeffs
Jean Djorkaeff is a former footballer who played in France with Lyon, Marseille, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Paris FC from 1958 to 1974. Over his 16 seasons, the defender made 420 league appearances and over 500 total appearances. He won the Coupe de France with Lyon and Marseille. Jean represented France 48 times including during the 1966 World Cup.
Youri, Jean’s son, enjoyed greater domestic and international success than his father. Between 1984 and 2006, he played in France, Italy, Germany, England and the United States. The forward’s best seasons were with Strasbourg, Monaco, Inter Milan and Bolton Wanderers. In total, over his club career he made 690 appearances and scored 224 goals. Internationally, Youri was called up by France 82 times and scored 28 goals. In 1998, he was part of the World Cup winning French team, scoring a single goal in the tournament.
8 The Nevilles
Sons of Neville Neville (that’s not a typo), a former league cricket player, Gary and Phil had long and successful careers in the Premier League. Both players enjoyed their stays at Manchester United. Gary was so successful he spent his entire career with the Red Devils, making 602 appearances and becoming the second longest serving player behind Ryan Giggs. During that time the defenders won eight league titles, three FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.The eldest Neville brother also made 85 appearances for England.
Phil played for United for 10 seasons before moving to Everton in 2005. Playing both defence and midfield over his career, he made 689 total appearances. He won six league titles, three FA Cups and a single Champions League, all with United. Internationally, he represented England 59 times. After retiring as a player, he took up the position of first team coach with Manchester United in 2013.
7 The Toures
The first of the Toure brothers to rise to prominence, Kolo, made his name in the Premier League with Arsenal. It was when manager Arsene Wenger moved Kolo into central defence in 2003 that the Ivorian found his calling. He helped Arsenal go undefeated that season and was a central figure in the 49 game ‘Invincibles’ unbeaten run. The defender has since moved on to Manchester City and Liverpool, where he currently plays. He has won two league titles and three FA Cups over a career which has so far seen him make 452 appearance.
Kolo’s younger brother, Yaya, has enjoyed just as much, if not more footballing success. Having played for several teams, Yaya made his name at Barcelona between 2007 and 2010. The powerful central midfielder has since moved on to Manchester City, where he enjoyed more domestic success. Currently, Yaya has made 462 appearances and scored 72 goals. He has won three league titles, several cups and a Champions League title.
The youngest brother, Ibrahim, has enjoyed the least success but has carried on a professional football career since 2002. The striker has played in the Ivory Coast, Ukraine, Egypt, France, Syria and Lebanon. Unlike his brothers, he has not played for the Ivory Coast national team.
6 The de Boers
Twin Dutch brothers, Frank and Ronald de Boer played for some of the biggest sides in Europe, including Ajax, Barcelona and Rangers. Ronald is the oldest of the two and played as an attacking midfielder/forward. From 1987 to 2004, he made 523 appearances and scored 128 goals. He also scored 13 goals in 67 appearances for the Dutch national side. Over his career, Ronald won seven league titles and one Champions League title.
From 1988 to 2003, younger brother Frank enjoyed his best years at Ajax and Barcelona. In a career which ended in 2006, the defender made 688 appearances and scored a very respectable 66 goals. Internationally he made 112 appearances and scored 13 times. He won nine league titles and one Champions League. Following retirement, both brothers took on managerial duties; Frank is manager of the Ajax first team, while Ronald manages the Ajax youth squad.
5 The Laudrups
Pelé named Brian and Michael Laudrup on his list of the 125 greatest living footballers. A quick look at their statistics and accomplishments explains why the Brazilian legend thought so much of the Danish brothers. To begin, Michael and Brian were the son of Finn Laudrup, a Danish International player who also played club football in Denmark, notably with Brøndby.
Michael, the oldest, played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Brøndby, Lazio, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Ajax. The midfielder made 614 appearances and scored 164 goals. He has won 7 league titles and several cups. For Denmark, Michael made 104 appearances between 1982 and 1998, scoring 37 goals. Following retirement from playing, he went on to manage such clubs as Brøndby, Getafe, Mallorca and Swansea City.
Brother Brian also played midfield and enjoyed spells at European giants including Brøndby, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, AC Milan, Ranger and Ajax. Between 1986 and 2000, Brian made 412 appearances and scored 100 goals. He won 6 league titles and one Champions League title. Internationally, he represented Denmark 82 times, scored 21 goals and helped Denmark to win the 1992 UEFA European Championship.
4 The Charltons
Jack and Bobby Charlton are considered two of the greatest English players of all time. Jack is the oldest and played defence for Leeds United for his entire professional career. Between 1952 and 1973, he made a total of 762 appearances and scored 95 goals. He won one League title, one FA Cup and one League cup in addition to helping leads gain promotion to the first division on two occasions. Internationally, he made 35 appearances for England, some of those coming during England’s 1966 World Cup victory. After retirement, Jack managed Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and the Republic of Ireland.
Bobby is Jack’s younger brother and played as an attacking midfielder/forward. He is best known for his career with Manchester United between 1956 and 1973. He survived the 1958 Munich air disaster which killed eight United teammates and three staff members. With United, he made 758 appearances and scored 249 goals. Internationally, Bobby made 106 appearances for England and scored 49 times. He won 3 league titles, one European Cup and one World Cup. Following retirement he went on to manage Preston North End and Wigan Athletic.
3 The Koemans
Erwin and Ronald Koeman are two former Dutch footballers. Between them, they played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Groningen, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona and Feyenoord. Erwin spent his professional career playing in Holland and Belgium. The midfielder racked up more than 470 league appearances and 92 goals. Adding to this were a further 31 international caps and 2 goals. In addition to a Belgian league title and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, he was also part of the Dutch side which won the 1988 European Championship.
Ronald played both defence and midfield during his career. He made 535 league appearances and scored 193 goals, most of these coming with Barcelona in the early 1990s. For the Netherlands, he made 78 appearances and scored 13 goals. Ronald won eight league titles, several cups, two European Cups and one European Championship. After 1997, he moved into management and is currently with Feyenoord.
2 The Redknapps / Lampards
These two English footballing families are linked through marriage. Harry Redknapp is best known as a football manager in England, having taken the helm at Portsmouth, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers, the team he currently manages. As a player, his top flight football was played with West Ham United where he made 175 appearances and scored 8 goals between 1965 and 1972. His son, Jaime, enjoyed a longer top-flight career, playing with Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton. A midfielder like his father, Jaime made 395 appearances and scored 47 goals.
Harry Redknapp’s nephew is Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard. He began his senior career with West ham United in 1995 before moving to Chelsea in 2001. So far, the Chelsea legend has made 838 appearances and scored 250 goals. For England, he has 103 caps and 29 goals. Honours include three league titles, four FA Cups, one Champions League title and one Europa League title.
Frank’s father is Frank Lampard Sr. who enjoyed a long career with West Ham United, featuring 660 times and scoring 22 goals. The defender hoisted 2 FA Cups during his time with club before moving to Southend United for one last season.
1 The Maldinis
Cesare Maldini enjoyed a successful career in Italy as a center back. Between 1952 and 1967, Cesare played for three clubs, made 451 appearances and scored 3 goals. Twelve of those 15 seasons were spent wearing the red and black of AC Milan. During his time with the Rossoneri, he won four league titles and one European Cup. He also made 14 appearances for the Italian national team.
Eclipsing his father’s playing accomplishments is Milan legend Paolo Maldini. Paolo spent all 24 seasons of his professional career with the Rossoneri and is widely considered to be one of the best defenders ever. He has won an incredible seven Serie A titles, numerous domestic and international cups and five European Cup/Champions Leagues. Over his career he has made 902 appearances for Milan and 126 appearances for Italy.