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The greatest Father-Son Footballing Duo’s

Like father like son, football fans often push their kids towards their passions, and that’s no different when you’re a player yourself and you have a child. 

The beautiful game transcends generations, and with many fathers casting too great a shadow for their offspring to escape, and many son’s effortlessly surpassing all that their father accomplished, there’s been many players that  followed in their father’s footsteps.

There’s far more examples than you’d think, so here’s just a few of them:

Sergio and Carles Busquets

A player with the third highest number of appearances for Barcelona in the clubs storied history, and the player behind one of the most important assists in history, allowing Messi to score in the 2011 Champions league Semi-Final against Real Madrid. 

Jokes aside, Busquets has been an incredible servant to his Catalan club, an iconic defensive midfielder who relied on his vision and footballing intelligence. However, he is not the first in his lineage to make it in the footballing world, with his father Carles playing in goal for Barcelona before him.

A longstanding fixture of the club like his son after him, Carles’ career would lack the glamour and regular football that Sergio enjoyed, racking up just 79 appearances for the first team in his 14 years at Barcelona. 

He was a unique story, always playing as a forward in his youth, until an injury to his team’s goalkeeper meant he took up a place between the sticks. Excelling on the ball, he coined the moniker, “the keeper with no hands”. Like any eccentric keeper he was prone to the occasional embarrassing blunder. 

In 1995, he would get his chance at first team football, with 2 full seasons as the first choice, playing 69 games. He would fail to win silverware during this time, but earned significant praise from manager Johan Cruyff, who would call him ” one of the most effective goalkeepers Barça had had in recent years.”

He would leave Barcelona in 1999, seeing out his career at lower league side Lleida, before later taking up a role at Barcelona as a goalkeeping coach.

Miguel and Pepe Reina

A mainstay in goal for multiple clubs, Pepe Reina is most well known for his stint at Liverpool, but even today is proving he still has the ability to play at a high level, currently plying his trade at Villareal, the club he would break into the national team with and join Liverpool from.

His father Miguel was also a successful keeper. Playing in the 60’s and 70’s he didn’t quite have the varied career his son had, but would prove a very able keeper, spending his career at Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Following an incredible breakthrough season at Cordoba as an 18 year old, in which he would start 26 games as the first choice keeper in a campaign that would see the Andalusian side reach 5th in La Liga, he would sign for Barcelona.

It took Miguel 3 years of playing understudy to senior keepers, José Manuel Pesudo and Salvador Sadurní before he got his chance as first team keeper. In the 72-73 season he would break records, going 824 minutes without conceding, a feat only surpassed in 2011 by Victor Valdes. In the campaign he would play 34 league games, conceding just 21.

He would make 111 appearances for Barcelona, signing for Atletico Madrid, after his record breaking season. His time at Barca had earned him 2 Copa Del Rey trophies and a League title in the 70-71 season.

At Atletico, he would make 155 appearances, reaching a European Championship final. He would not precede his son’s feat years later, as following an extra time 1-1 draw, Atletico would lose the replay 4-0.

Johan and Jordi Cruyff

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and when it comes to Jordi’s footballing intelligence, the old saying proves true. Whilst he may not have had the wild success his father had, his career was by no means unsuccessful. Playing mainly as an attacking Midfielder, but in his later years dropping back in a more defensive role. He had spells playing for Barcelona, Manchester United, Alaves, Espanyol, Metalurh Donetsk and Maltese side Valletta.

He spent his formative years at Ajax’s academy, following in his fathers footsteps, before joining Barcelona’s youth academy following his fathers appointment. After impressing for the Barcelona B team, becoming the joint top scorer, it seemed only a matter of time before he broke into the first team.

His chance would come 2 years later, in a preseason tour of The Netherlands, where he would net a hat-trick against  Groningen and De Graafschap. His impressive preseason earned him a place in the squad, where he would quickly become a respected player within the team, becoming one of the top goal scorers for the senior team, alongside Koeman and Stoichkov.

Despite scoring multiple important goals for Barcelona, he would be sold in the summer of 96 to Manchester United, fittingly at the end of his father’s managerial reign. 

His time in England would be plagued by injuries, looking good when fit, but suffering frequent knee problems. He would play 57 times in 4 years scoring 8 goals before his contract expired.

Perhaps his biggest achievement would come next, helping Spanish side Alavés to a UEFA Cup Final. His 89th minute goal would complete what could have been a legendary comeback taking the game from 3-1 to 4-4. Sadly, in Extra-time, Liverpool would triumph.

He would finish his career playing in Ukraine and Malta following an exit from Alavés due to their relegation from La Liga. Jordi’s career never reached the heights of his fathers, marred by his frequent injuries, but his talent was there for all to see.

 A cult icon for some Barcelona and Alavés fans thanks to his important goals, and a frustrating “what if?” for Manchester United fans who saw glimpses of his talent.

Arnór and Eiður Gudjohnsen

The only father-son duo to play in the same game, Eiður and Arnór would not share the field sadly. In what must have been a cruel joke from the manager, his son was subbed on for his father, making them the closest any internationally capped player has come to sharing a pitch with their dad. 

Eiður was 17, his dad twice his age at 34, with the pair both appearing in an international game for Iceland against Estonia. When asked aged 25, Arnór had claimed his biggest wish was “to play international football alongside Eiður”. Knowing how close his wish came to being true only makes it worse.

Both would have good careers, but Eiður would hit truly lofty heights. Arnór’s best spell came at Anderlecht in Belgium, where he spent 7 years, making 139 appearances, scoring 40. 

Eiður on the other hand would impress quickly, signing for PSV after impressing for Icelandic side Valur as an 18 year old. Playing alongside a young Ronaldo (Brazilian), he would be in esteemed company.

Injuries forced him back to his homeland. However, it wouldn’t be long before a bigger team came calling. Sure enough, a path to English football was handed to him, by Bolton Wanderers . Success  during his 2 year spell here would earn him a move to Chelsea where he would play his best football, scoring 54 goals in 186 appearances.

He would hop from club to club following his time at Barcelona, playing for Monaco, Tottenham, both Brugge sides, and would even return to Bolton at one point. 

At the end of his career, he had amassed 88 international caps and 26 goals, making him the joint top-scorer of all time for Iceland. He would beat his father for international appearances and goals, Arnór managing 14 goals in 73 caps.

A Champions League winner, Premier League winner, La Liga winner, with a heap of Domestic trophies to his name thanks to his spells at Barcelona at Chelsea makes Eiður the most decorated Icelandic footballer in history.

Eiður also has 2 sons currently playing professional football in Sweden.

Cesare and Paulo Maldini

By far the most famous family football dynasty, both Paulo and Cesare Maldini are Milan legends, both winning league titles with AC Milan, and spending the majority of their careers there (in Paulo’s case his whole career would be spent there). Between them they have 994 appearances for La Rossoneri, Cesare with 347 and Paulo with 647!

Both were defenders known for their ability to read play, commanding, physical presence and unmatched anticipation. It’s clear where Paulo’s famous style of defending manifested from, with his father clearly a huge inspiration in Paulo’s play style.

Cesare initially came through the local Triestina academy, the team based in Trieste where Cesare had grown up. Thanks to impressive performances at a young age in the Serie A for Triestina, Milan would acquire him, where he would quickly become the heart of a title winning defence, as he won the league in his first season with Milan.

All in all, he would win 4 titles during his tenure at Milan, but his biggest achievement would be captaining the side to a European Cup, as Milan beat Benfica 2-1 in the final. Milan would become the first Italian team to lift the trophy, Cesare Maldini simultaneously becoming the first Italian captain to hoist the trophy in the air.

He would leave in 1966 bowing out in his final season with 33 appearances for Torino. A career spanning 412 appearances, 3 goals and 14 Italy caps.

His son Paulo, would somehow surpass him, becoming perhaps the most feared defender in history. His anticipation, composure and intelligence would make him a terror for attackers, with Paulo famously quoted as saying “If I have to make a tackle then I have already made a mistake.”

Paulo won 26 trophies with Milan, a frankly ridiculous haul that featured five champions leagues and 7 league titles. Granted, he was backed by one of the greatest teams of players in history, but as the captain he was integral to the teams success. A one club man, through and through, Like his Father.

Paulo also has a football playing son,  Daniel, a promising attacking midfielder unsurprisingly at AC Milan, but currently on loan to Spezia. He’ll have certainly had good advice on beating defenders growing up.

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