Over generations, success has found these stars of the sport.
The history of modern football is more than a century. In the last 100 years, hundreds of footballers have gone on to become crowd favourites in different periods of times. Even after retirement, their names have often found its way to come out on top, courtesy of their managerial exploits or their descendants making it to the top of the very same sport their fathers made a name in.
Similar to many other professions, children of footballers often follow the footsteps of their parents. They continue to carry the legacy forward and also imprint their own mark on the beautiful game. Many footballers have followed their father’s steps into the sport and have tried carrying on the family legacy forward.
Here, Khel Now takes a look at the top five footballers who followed their fathers’ footsteps into the sport.
5. Timothy Weah
Weah graduated from the academy of Paris-Saint Germain in 2017. His father George Weah won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995, becoming the first African footballer to be bestowed with the honours. George also scored more than 200 goals for club and country.
Timothy Weah currently features for Lille in Ligue 1, having played for the first-teams of PSG and Celtic on loan. He opted to represent the United States instead of Liberia. His father currently serves as the country’s president. Despite being only 21, Timothy has shown glimpses of his potential. With time and consistency, he could turn into a lethal striker like his father was during his peak in the 90s.
4. Federico Chiesa
Enrico Chiesa is the father of Federico Chiesa, one of the best footballers for Italy at the Euro 2020. His father Enrico also enjoyed an illustrious career.
Enrico featured for Lazio, Fiorentina and Parma and finished his career with more than 200 goals. He also won two Coppa Italias, the 1989-90 European Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Cup in 1998-99.
His son Federico is currently one of the hottest prospects in Italian and European football. Chiesa starred on loan for Juventus last season, scoring 14 goals and providing nine assists in all competitions, both third-highest in the squad.
His shot accuracy of 57% was the second-highest in the Juventus squad, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo. At the Euros, he featured in every game for the victorious Azzurri. Chiesa clocked a top speed of 33.1 km/h. He scored two goals, including the extra-time winner in the Round of 16 against Austria and the opening goal in the semi-final against Spain.
Now settled at Juventus, Chiesa is set to unleash himself on European football. He could turn out to be an even more influential name than his father in the process.
3. Erling Haaland
It is sometimes hard to believe that Erling Haaland is all but 21-years-old. The Norwegian is one of the most lethal strikers in Europe currently. In his brief playing career, Haaland has clocked 130 goals in just 171 games so far. This tally includes 60 goals in as many games that he has featured in for current club Borussia Dortmund.
In the process, Haaland, one of the most sought after footballers currently, is making the name of his father Alf-Inge Haaland more prominent. But, the elder Haaland doesn’t need an introduction only because of his prolific son.
Alf-Inge Haaland featured for Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Manchester City in the 90s and early 2000s. He is more infamously remembered though for being on the receiving end of a brutal tackle from Roy Keane in a Manchester Derby in 2001.
Keane drove his studs into Alf’s knees, leaving him injured and he retired a few months later. Apparently, the often hot-headed Keane retaliated for a challenge that Alf had earlier inflicted on him in a game more than three years ago!
But, now he is also remembered for his son’s incredible goalscoring exploits. If Erling continues this way, then Haaland Sr. would be known more widely for being the father of an incredible footballer.
2. Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel followed in the footsteps of his legendary father Peter Schmeichel by picking up the goalkeeping gloves. The Danish international has now turned himself into one of the best custodians in the Premier League.
The 34-year old has featured more than 420 times for Leicester City and is closing in on 600 professional appearances. Kasper has spent the last decade at the Foxes, where he has lifted the 2015-16 Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the Community Shield in 2021.
He has also excelled with Denmark featuring 71 times for his nation. Kasper reached the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup and the semi-finals of Euro 2020. At the 2018 World Cup, he broke his father Peter’s record for the most minutes without conceding a goal by a Danish goalkeeper.
His exploits are sure to add more fame to the Schmeichel family and he has consummately carried the legacy of his illustrious father Peter Schmeichel. Peter is remembered fondly for his time at Manchester United, where he is considered a club legend.
Peter played 398 times for United and lifted 15 trophies. He was part of the treble-winning squad in 1999 and won five Premier League titles as well. Peter Schmeichel is also the record appearance maker for Denmark (129) and won the 1992 European Championships with them.
1. Paolo Maldini
By far the most illustrious name on his list, Paolo Maldini is one of the best defenders the game has ever seen. The inspirational Italian brought maturity and solidity to his gameplay for both club and country.
The former AC Milan star played in three different decades for the Rossoneri. He featured a massive 902 times for the seven-time European champions and lifted five of these trophies. Two of those trophies include the historic back-to-back European Cup victories under legendary manager Arrigo Sacchi. The five continental titles, along with seven Serie A titles add to the total of 25 trophies that Paolo lifted with the only club he played for in his entire career.
Paolo had it in his genes though, inculcated from his father Cesare Maldini. Cesare also featured for the Rossoneri and served them with distinction. Cesare featured more than 400 times for the Rossoneri in the 1950s and 60s. He also lifted four Serie A titles and the European Cup in 1962-63.
Now, Paolo’s son, Daniel Maldini is part of the senior squad at AC Milan. He continues the third generation of the Maldini’s at the seven-time Champions League winning club.