The talent for the beautiful game runs in the blood of these players.
Over the years, we have seen many sons follow the example of their fathers in choosing football as their profession. Nevertheless, in most of the father-son duos we have witnessed, it is usually one party that is vastly more successful in football. For example, in the case of Johan and Jordi Cruyff, the former was one of the most influential figures whilst his son played for FC Barcelona and Manchester United, his stints were brief with limited impact.
On the other hand, we have had the emergence of Erling Braut Haaland, son of Alf-Inge Haaland, who looks set to become a top player and moved to Borussia Dortmund earlier this year. In this situation, it is likely that Haaland Jr exceeds his father in terms of his achievements.
Consequently, we take a look at five father-son pairings where not one but both players managed to attain success in their careers in football.
5. Miguel Angel and Xabi Alonso
Miguel Angel, aka Periko, was a fairly successful footballer during his playing days, having plied his trade for Spanish sides like Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona. Playing as a midfielder akin to his son, the Spaniard won back-to-back La Liga titles with Real Sociedad, playing a pivotal part in both the triumphs. After moving to Barcelona, he added another championship to his tally and also laid hands on the Copa del Rey trophy.
As for his son, Xabi Alonso became one of the classiest midfielders of his generation. Featuring for clubs like Liverpool FC, Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich over the course of his career, Alonso enjoyed success wherever he went. Domestically, he won the La Liga title once and the Bundesliga in each of the three seasons he spent in Munich besides lifting the UEFA Champions League twice. He was also part of the great Spanish team that won the World Cup in 2010 as well as the Euros in 2008 and 2012.
4. Mazinho and Thiago & Rafinha
It is not common to see a father and son represent different nations in football. However, that is the case when it comes to the pairing of Mazinho and Thiago. While his brother Rafinha decided to follow in the footsteps of his father by turning out for Brazil, Thiago instead choose to play for the Spanish National team.
Having won the World Cup and the Copa America with Brazil, Mazinho set a pretty high-standard with his performances on the pitch during his days as a footballer. With the exception of Rafinha winning a gold medal with Brazil at the 2016 Olympic games, their Dad clearly holds an upper hand when it comes to achievements on the international stage.
However, both Rafinha and Thiago have plenty to boast about with regards to their exploits at club level and the trophies they have racked up so far. The latter won the Champions League recently, completing a treble with Bayern Munich in the process. The stylish midfielder put in a stupendous performance in the final and is reportedly set for a new adventure in his remarkable career, with him being strongly linked to a move to England.
3. Peter and Kasper Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League. Renowned from his time at Manchester United, where the Dane won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and led them to the Champions League win in the famous treble-winning season of 1998-99. The intimidating custodian even helped his nation to emerge as the victors in the UEFA Euro 1992, etching his name in the history books.
Now living up to such a legacy would undoubtedly be a daunting task considering the pressure and the constant direct comparisons with his dad, given he occupies the same position. However, following in the footsteps of his father, Kasper Schmeichel has done well to make his own mark and attain the respect of observers through his commanding displays in goal. Like his dad, he also possesses a Premier League medal, winning it with Leicester in one of the unlikeliest triumphs of all-time. The father-son duo of Peter and Kasper Schmeichel is one of the rarest pairs in football to win the Premier League title. Six years later in 2021, Kasper Schmeichel also won the FA Cup with Leicester, thus making the pair only the second father-son duo to win the prestige trophy.
2. Danny and Daley Blind
Next up on the list is the Dutch father-son football duo of Danny and Daley Blind. Many younger fans will be most familiar with Daley Blind, from his days at Manchester United and for that gorgeous assist in the build-up to Robin Van Persie’s memorable header against Spain at the 2014 World Cup. During his stay in England, the versatile defender won the FA Cup, League Cup, and the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Danny Blind holds a legendary status in Dutch football. He was an important player for Ajax, spending 13 years at the club, picking up 16 major honours, which included five Eredivisie titles, UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup among other accolades. After retiring as a footballer, he remained involved in the game, venturing into coaching as he managed former club Ajax and the Dutch National team, where he got the chance to coach his son.
1. Cesare and Paolo Maldini
It is incredibly rare that individuals of three different generations from the same family not only become footballers but also end up at the same club. From Cesare to Paolo to now Daniel, there always seems to be a place for a Maldini at AC Milan. It all began with Cesare Maldini as he was a prominent member of the AC Milan side during his 12-year stay at the club.
He won the European Cup with the Rossoneri in 1963 and four Serie A titles. In 2016, he was inducted into the Italian Football Hall of Fame, recognizing his impact on the game in Italy. Taking Maldini Sr’s achievements into consideration, it would always take something special from his son to outshine his father but Paulo Maldini managed to achieve just that. Over the course of 25 long seasons at AC Milan, the one-club man won 25 trophies for the Italian outfit, including five European Cups, cementing himself as one of the greatest players of all-time.
*Article last updated after FA cup 2021 final between Chelsea FC and Leicester City FC on 15th May 2021.