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How Do The Sons Of Great Footballers Fare In Their Own Careers?

Players are constantly under pressure. Some are weighed down by it like an anchor, others thrive under it, using it as a catalyst to perform well. Playing in front of thousands, being watched by millions and being judged on the most critical of stages can break even the strongest of men. Any additional stress, apart from what comes with the job, can be a death blow to any player’s career. 

But that’s exactly what thousands of sons of famous soccer players have had to deal with while pursuing the careers of their fathers.

The two most recognizable names in the world right now are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As their games have grown to transcendental levels, their personal lives have in turn been flung into the limelight by virtue of the society we live in. 

Their relationships, their living arrangements and their families are constantly under a microscope. Both Messi and Ronaldo have sons, and people began speculating about how good they’ll be at soccer before they even made it out of the womb. 


Thiago Messi, Mateo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Jr. are already bearing the burden of being expected to follow in their dads’ footsteps, all before they can barely even kick around a ball. We’re years from seeing whether they can reproduce a semblance of the success their legendary fathers achieved, that is, if they even decide to pursue a career in the sport. 

Every case is different, though. There are monumental stars whose parents were not big-time players or never played. There are the sons of soccer stars who weren’t or aren’t able to reproduce the same skills by way of heredity. There are the ones who live up to the colossal hype that comes from being born into soccer nobility. 

Let’s see which sons most closely replicated the success of their fathers, and which ones fell furthest from the tree.

Players That Replicated The Success Of Their Fathers

Father Son Notes
Danny Blind Daley Blind WC semifinalist and Man United regular
Ian Wright Bradley and Shaun Wright-Phillips Prominent first team players wherever they've played
Pierre Aubameyang Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang One of the best forwards in the world
Pablo Forlan Diego Forland Legendary striker, 2011 Copa America winner
Peter Schmeichel Kasper Schmeichel GK for Leicester City EPL Champions
Mazinho Thiago and Rafinha Alcantara Frequent players for Barca and Bayern
Alexei Eremenko Sr. Alexei and Roman Eremenko Key internationals for Finland
Nicolae Lupescu Ioan Lupescu Good midfielder in Bundesliga and for Romania
Odd Iversen Steffen Iversen Tottenham and Norway striker
Joe Nagbe Darlington Nagbe USA international and Portland Timbers player
Jean Djorkaeff Youri Djorkaeff 28 goals in 82 France appearances
Miroslav Kadlec Michael Kadlec Left back for Czech Republic and Bayer
Borislav Mihaylov Nikola Mihaylov 31 caps for Bulgaria
Miguel Rein Pepe Reina Long club career and Spain backup
Anders Linderoth Tobias Linderoth One of Sweden's best midfielders
Arnor Gudjohnsen Eidur Gudjohnsen Chelsea and Barca player, Iceland legend


Players That Look Likely To Replicate Some Of Their Father's Success

Diego Simeone Giovanni Simeone Plays for Genoa, Argentina youth intl
Souleymane Sane Leroy Sane Starting for Man City at 21
Mike Origi Divock Origi 22 Belgium caps at 21
Zinedine Zidane Enzo Zidane Real Madrid Castilla player
Patrick Kluivert Justin Kluivert 1 goal in 9 Ajax apps at 17
Maurizio Gaudino Gianluca Gaudino Bayern Munich II prospect
John Harkes Ian Harkes Best college soccer player in 2016
Roy Lassiter Ariel Lassiter LA Galaxy U23 player
Gheorghe Hagi Ianis Hagi Transferred to Fiorentina at 18
Goran Sorloth Alexander Sorloth 1 goal in 7 games for Norway at 21
Onandi Lowe Damion Lowe 1 goal in 4 games for Jamaica
Jose Francisco Cevallos  Jose Cevallos Enriquez Starter for his club in Ecuador


Players That Don't Look Likely To Replicate Their Father's Success

Pele Joshua Nascimento No action as freshman at U of Tampa
Paolo Maldini Christian Maldini Plays in fourth tier of Italy
Rivaldo Rivaldinho Plays in Romania, hasn't appeared
Rudi Voller Kevin Voller-Adducci Plays in fifth tier of Germany
Dean Saunders Callum Saunders Plays in fourth tier in England
Gus Poyet Diego Poyet Three loan spells, no success
Jorn Andersen Niklas Andersen Just 1 Bundesliga appearance
Andy Cole Devante Cole Striker in third tier of England
Paul Ince Tom Ince Plays for Derby County, no caps
Martin Keown Niall Keown On loan at Patrick Thistle
George Weah George Weah Jr. No first division experience
Igor Stepanovs Andrejs Stepanovs Allegedly retired
Robbie Earle Otis Earle Played in US lower level
Jacques Songo'o Franck and Yann Songo'o 3 appearances for Cameroon; lower levels of England
Ivica Vastic Toni Vastic Plays sporadically in Austria
Walter Schachner Alexander Schachner GK in Austria
Andreas Kopke Pascal Kopke Plays in third division of Germany
Karl-Heinz Riedle Alessandro Riedle With SC Bruhl in Switzerland


Players Who Did Not Come Close To Replicating Their Father

Pele Edinho Played 8 years, no Brazil caps
Diego Maradona Diego Maradona Jr. Played briefly in Serie D
Johan Cruyff Jordi Cruyff 9 international caps
Franz Beckenbauer Stefan Beckenbauer Only 12 games in top two levels of German football
Peter Shilton Sam Shilton Never played in first division
Francesco Graziani Gabriele Graziani Never played in first division
Martin Buchan Jamie Buchan No international caps
Lou Macari Mike and Paul Macari Mike: 30 games for Stoke; Paul: 14 games total
Pierre Aubameyang Catilina and Willy Only one first division game between the two
Jean Djorkaeff Micha Djorkaeff Played in lower levels
Henrik Andersen Kristoffer Andersen No first division appearances
Ulf Kirsten Benjamin Kirsten Never played in first division
Josef Posipal Peer Posipal Only three seasons in Bundesliga

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