Our list of football’s greatest intergenerational talent, featuring West Ham United, Swansea City, Leicester City and Manchester United stars.
Former Netherlands Coach Danny Blind (L) and his son Daley Blind talk during a press conference.
A good pedigree in football can go a long way for a player’s reputation. When news broke that Brooklyn Beckham had signed for Arsenal’s youth academy, there was a reasonable amount of excitement developing around the fifteen-year-old. Plenty of fans would doubtless have wondered whether the youngster could go on to emulate his father: providing an oustanding workrate in the midfield and effortless precision from crosses and set pieces.
Beckham Jr. may have since given up on football to focus on the more challenging world of fashion modelling, but there are still plenty of talented players with children who might wish to follow in their father’s footsteps. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list (in no particular order) of world football’s most remarkable footballing dynasties. Where, from one generation to the next, talent has been shown to live on.
5. Abedi Pele: Jordan Ayew (Swansea City), Andre Ayew (West Ham United)
Often looked upon as one of the greatest African footballers of all time, Abedi Pele made his name as a Ghanaian footballer in Europe back when such transfers were far less common than today. He is certainly considered one of Ghana’s greatest players – having helped them win the Africa Cup of Nations in 1982 and captained his country to another final in 1992.
Remarkably, three of his sons became professional footballers as well and all three have, at one time, represented Ghana at international level. The youngest two, Andre and Jordan, currently ply their trade in the Premier League – with Andre, currently at West Ham, in particular having enjoyed a strong debut season at Swansea. Jordan is yet to make as big an impact – although he showed real promise during a difficult stretch at Aston Villa before following his brother in moving to South Wales.
4. Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United) and Kaspar Schmeichel (Leicester City)
When Kasper Schmeichel left Manchester City back in 2009, to join League Two Notts County in the hope of more regular football, few would have predicted him to have a future before him which could rival the glorious playing days of his father. Yet, when Leicester City became Premier League champions in 2016, with Kasper as their celebrated number one, the pair became the first ever biological father and son duo to have both won the Premier League. Leicester might not be about to unseat Manchester United in terms of their history and stature, but at least in Kasper Schmeichel they have a goalkeeper who has the genetic stuff of victory in his veins.
3. Danny Blind and Daley Blind (Manchester United)
Accusations of nepotism could have been rife in the Netherland’s international set-up back when Danny Blind was manager, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Ajax legend really did have no choice but to pick his son for the squad. Having covered himself in glory at the same club where his father made his name (Ajax won four consecutive Eredivisie titles during his time there), he made a big move to Manchester United – where he proved a popular recruit despite the ups and downs of Louis Van Gaal’s time in charge. Daley Blind still has some way to go before rivalling his father’s trophy haul (Danny was a Champions League winner with Ajax in 1995), but victory in last year’s Europa League (against Ajax) suggests Daley might not be too far away.
2. Tomás Balcázar González and Javier Hernández (West Ham)
Outside of Mexico, you’d be forgiven for not knowing the name Tomás Balcázar González. He was a legend of C.D. Guadalajara in the 1950s, where he helped to establish the historic team that would go on to win eight league titles in ten years. He’s also something of a hero for the Mexican national team, and it seems to run in the family: both his son-in-law and grandson have also played for their country at international level. You probably will recognise the grandson, thanks to his time spent playing for Manchester United and Real Madrid. A recent move back to the Premier League is already going well for Chicharito, two goals in three games for West Ham suggest he’s still keen to write the family name into the history books.
1. Cesare Maldini (AC Milan) and Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)
As far as footballing dynasties go, it doesn’t get much better than the Maldini family. You’re unlikely to find a historic father and son pair with more silverware between them than Cesare and Paolo, and the fact that both men are heroes of the same club – AC Milan – makes it even better. Paolo was something of an upgrade on his father in some ways, winning the Champions League five times to Cesare’s one European Cup win, and almost doubling the number of Serie A titles which his father collected (Paolo won seven, Cesare four). But as far as the family are concerned, it’s all glory for the same purpose – as long as it happened under the Maldini name.