We’ve all heard the phrase ‘like father, like son’ but it is currently taking on a literal meaning in the footballing world with a host of the world’s top talents boasting very familiar surnames. Second generation superstars have a certain expectation to live up to, knowing that they will inevitably and unfairly be judged against their dad’s legacy. For some, the added pressure proves to be too much but others aim to rise to the occasion and match, or even eclipse, what their fathers achievde. Taking that into consideration, here are the top ten father and son footballers in the world.
10 father and son footballers
Timothy Weah (George Weah)
Stylish winger Timothy Weah has certainly got a legacy to live up to. His father, George Weah, was one of the greatest African strikers to grace the game, the only African to win the Ballon d’Or and is now president of his home country of Liberia.
Timothy’s career has started off strongly though, breaking through the ranks of PSG and training among some of the best forwards in football today. His pace and flair often bamboozles defenders and earned him a move to Ligue 1 side Lille. With Weah qualifying to play international football for a number of countries, the 20-year-old has been capped by the USA senior squad and is an integral part of a major rebuild geared towards the 2026 World Cup on home soil.
Justin Kluivert (Patrick Kluivert)
There are some striking similarities between Justin and Patrick Kluivert. Both are pacy strikers with an eye for goal and both even made their debut for the Netherlands senior side at 18 years of age. Whilst Patrick struggled with injuries in the latter part of his career, Justin has avoided these problems so far, becoming part of a Roma side that has battled near the top of Serie A for the past few seasons.
Justin has the potential to surpass his father’s legacy so long as he keeps showcasing the same attacking traits that have helped him terrorize defences across Italy week after week.
Erling Haaland (Alf Inge Haaland)
Probably the most well known pair of father and son footballers at the moment, it’s surprising to think that Erling Haaland is fast becoming one of the deadliest strikers in Europe when his father shone as a defensive midfielder. Erling’s goalscoring form has catapulted him to superstardom in a short space of two years since emerging at Norwegian side Molde. Having scored 12 goals in 25 games during the 2018 Eliteserien, he moved to Red Bull Salzburg where he 28 goals in 22 games during the first part of the 2019/20 season before moving to Borussia Dortmund.
Having scored 18 goals in 21 games in 2020, the Norwegian star has already eclipsed his father’s legacy who infamously had his career cut short from a robust Roy Keane challenge, though Keane denies the allegation. Erling has chosen to represent Norway at senior level having rejected the chance to play for England where he was born – could that be a wasted opportunity for the Three Lions down the track?
Ianis Hagi (Gheorghe Hagi)
If there is one name synonymous with Romanian football, it is Hagi. Gheorge was the superstar of a strong squad in the 1990s and his son Ianis is closely following in his footsteps. Having been trained by his father, Ianis unsurprisingly has settled as an attacking midfielder (like his dad) and possesses the same mastery of passing that his family names lives up to.
An impressive spell with homtetown side Viitorul Constanta saw Ianis move to Genk in Belgium before settling with Scottish side Rangers. Now part of a Rangers side keen to restore their former glory, Ianis has the chance to forge his own legacy at one of the most hallowed names in British football and one of the best father-son soccer players in the world.
Marcus Thuram (Lillian Thuram)
During the turn of the century, Lillian Thuram was part of a France team that dominated world football, starring as a pillar of Les Bleus defence. It may shock some then to see then that his son, Marcus, is proving himself to be an elite-level attacker in Europe’s best leagues.
Having impressed during his time with Guingamp in Ligue 1, Thuram moved to the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach, showcasing strong finishing and a powerful presence in the penalty area. 10 goals during his debut season with Gladbach in the 19/20 season underlined the potential he was touted with and is also a recurring presence with the French national team.
Federico Chiesa (Enrico Chiesa)
Italian football has been in desperate need of new stars and Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa looks set to be the next big thing. Capable of playing on the wing or centrally, the 22-year old has grown into his stature utilizing his pace and finishing skills into a game that defences struggle to cope with. A best return of 10 goals in the 2019/20 Serie A season suggests he is on track to become the next superstar of the Azzurri, much like his father Enrico who was possibly one of Serie A’s biggest unsung heroes during the 1990’s with Parma. Much like his father, Federico is very much the main man at Fiorentina and he will hope to help La Viola once again become a dominant force in European football.
Daniel Maldini – Son of Paolo Maldini
Not many father and son footballers have as much to live up to as Daniel Maldini, the son of arguably the greatest defender in football histyory. If one player could be classed as an icon at AC Milan, it would be Paolo Maldini. The Italian legend is a revered figure at the San Siro so it is no surprise to see that his son Daniel is coming through the ranks of the Rossonieri.
The big difference here though is that Daniel is shining in attack, rather than in defence like his father. Daniel’s record for the AC Milan youth teams has been clinical, scoring 32 goals in 67 appearances. With AC Milan very much still in a rebuilding phase, Daniel is finally earning a chance to break into the senior squad and ensure that the Maldini name helps bring a resurgence of glory back to the sleeping giant.
Giovanni Reyna (Claudio Reyn)
Borussia Dortmund are slowly putting together a side that is full of young prodigies and one of those looking to make the breakthrough is Giovanni Reyna. Football is in Giovanni’s blood with his both his father, Claudio and mother Danielle (nee Egan) both being prominent members of the US national side in the 1990s and 2000s. There certainly aren’t many mother and son footballers that you can name.
Giovanni’s pace and technique have made him a stand-out talent and he became the youngest American to feature in the Bundesliga when he debuted for Dortmund in January 2020. Since then, he has been a regular for BVB and is not far from a call-up to the US national side, despite interest from other international powerhouses such as England, Portugal and Argentina.
Liam Delap (Rory Delap)
We all know Rory Delap for being the king of the long-throw in and Premier League stints with the likes of Derby County and Stoke. However, it could be his son Liam that could give the family name an added boost as he rises through the ranks at Manchester City. The 17-year old has benefited from squad departures and injuries to debut for the senior side and has looked extremely comfortable in the process.
He has already notched his first senior goal for the club in a League Cup match against Bournemouth in September 2020, showcasing his finishing abilities and coolness under pressure. If he can continue his run of form and promise, City might not need to look to far for a successor to Sergio Aguero in their forward line.
Jordan Larsson (Henrik Larsson)
With his patented dreadlocks and deadly scoring ability, Henrik Larsson proved himself to be one of the top strikers in Europe during the early 2000’s. It’s no surprise then that he brought his son Jordan into the mix whilst managing Swedish side Helsingborgs in the mid-2010s. Henrik’s departure forced Jordan also to seek playing time elsewhere and spells with NEC in Holland and back in Sweden with Norrkoping showed that Jordan had potential.
However, Jordan’s move to Russia with Spartak Moscow has allowed the 23-year old to flourish merging all his skills together and showing the same finishing prowess that his father had. 11 goals in 35 games for Spartak has enabled Jordan to breakthrough into the Sweden national team and help him prove that the Larsson name is ready to shine again as one of the most famous father and son footballers combinations. With his father winning the Premier League with Manchesfter United in 2006/07, could the Larsson’s become the first father and son Premier League winners?
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