Passing on the magic

Passing on the Magic From Father to Son

It is happy news that the genes of Lionel Messi, the greatest contemporary footballer, have been passed on another generation.

Messi and Aguero.

A baby boy, Thiago Messi was born on the 2nd of November 2012 to his girlfriend and childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.

'Mini-Messi' is barely out of his mother's womb but has already been presented with membership of Newell's Old Boys, his dad's first club, and a blaugrana jersey from his current one.

Sergio Aguero has already handed Lionel a mini Argentina shirt, though by virtue of his birthplace Thiago could play for Spain and/or Catalonia.


But the chances of Thiago getting anywhere close to his father's ability are minimal. A cursory look at the greatest players of all time shows none were treading in famous footsteps, with the exception of Paolo Maldini, Milan and Italy's legendary left-back, whose father Cesare represented both teams before him.

Another Italian candidate are the Mazzolas. Sandro was in the great Inter team of the 1960s and won 70 Azzurri caps. He was the son of Valentino, 12 times an international, was the captain of the Grande Torino team prematurely struck down in the Superga disaster of 1949.

South Korea's all-time leading scorer Cha Bum-Kun is the father of Cha Du-Ri, like his dad a Korean international and Bundesliga star.

But when it comes to the offspring of the best of the best, only Jordi Cruyff, son of Johann, could be deemed to have been a success, with 41 appearances for Barcelona, 34 for Manchester United and nine caps for Holland.

If you want to be one of the great all-time players, it seems your chances are better if your father was not one himself. Perhaps the expectations on your famous name are just too heavy. Leicester's goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will always be compared to the exploits between the sticks of Peter, his illustrious father, which makes his achievements so far all the more admirable, even if at the age of 26 he has yet to be picked by Denmark.

Passing on the magic

A case could also be made for Nigel Clough, son of the great Brian, and Barcelona's Thiago, son of Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho, while Frank Lampard Jr's father was a useful player himself, Frank Lampard Sr. In South America, Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan is the son of Pablo, who won 17 caps for his country as a defender.

French World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff is the son of Jean, who won 48 caps for France, while the Koeman brothers' father Martin was a Dutch international once.

Pele, Diego Maradona and George Best have all had footballing sons but none have made any waves, yet hopes are high for Real Madrid youth player Enzo Fernandez, 17-year-old son of a certain Zinedine Zidane.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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