Ten Footballing Brothers Around the World
With Liverpool’s Alexis Mac Allister preparing to face off against his brother and LASK centre back, Kevin, in the Europa League on Thursday, here are ten groups of siblings currently scattered across the footballing world.
Lucas and Theo Hernandez
Starting off with a pair of rather well-known brothers, Lucas and his brother Theo, play for PSG and Milan respectively, with the former signing for the Parisian giants from Bayern Munich over the summer.
While both were representing Les Bleus at the Qatar World Cup, Lucas suffered a tear in his ACL, in their opening game against Australia. Consequently, Theo was forced to replace his older brother in the starting XI at left back and went on to make the Team of the Tournament, among the substitutes bench.
The Hernandez brothers however, will be facing each other very soon, with both clubs being drawn in the same Champions League group, alongside Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund, in what is surely this tournament’s ‘group of death’.
Sergej and Vanja Milinkovic-Savic
Despite being linked with a top European club for years on end, Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic followed the latest crop of global talent to the riches of the Saudi Pro League, with Al Hilal acquiring his signature.
Some of you however, may not know that Sergej’s younger brother, Vanja, is Torino and Serbia’s first choice goalkeeper. While Sergej and compatriot Aleksandar Mitrovic sit at the top of the table with their new club, Vanja has kept three clean sheets in four league games for the Turin side at the time of writing.
Inaki and Nico Williams
The Williams brothers both play for La Liga side Athletic Bilbao, with eldest brother Inaki occupying the left wing and Nico on the right. Hailing from the Basque country, they were a natural fit for the highly selective La Liga side.
Inaki became the first black player to score for the club in February 2015 and in the spirit of breaking records, his revered fitness record saw him establish 251 consecutive appearances, the most in the Spanish top-flight. An absence of competitive appearances for Spain saw him change allegiances to Ghana in July 2022, qualifying through his parents.
Nico made his first team debut for Athletic in April 2021 and earned a call-up to the Spain under-21s in the same year. Unlike his brother, Nico was later called up to the senior squad at the Qatar World Cup over a year later, with Inaki going on to represent the Black Stars instead.
Granit and Taulant Xhaka
Granit Xhaka’s redemption arc over the past 12 months has certainly been one to behold in the footballing world. While many expected it to come full circle, with the Swiss midfielder playing under the Emirates lights for their first UCL night in six years, Granit opted to join Xabi Alonso’s promising Bayer Leverkusen.
A stalwart in the Switzerland national team, no one would blame you if you were unaware that Granit’s older brother Taulant, is also a professional footballer. The 32-year-old midfielder plays for Swiss side Basel and chose to represent Albania, with his eligibility lying with his parents.
Eden, Thorgan and Kylian Hazard
Long gone are the days where Eden Hazard regularly provided mesmerising displays for both Chelsea and Belgium, with his career going on a downhill trajectory, following his club record move to Real Madrid in 2019.
Injury woes and the emergence of Brazilian superstar Vinicius Jr, hampered the winger’s Real career to the point of no return. Eden eventually went out on a whimper last summer, following the termination of his contract and remains a free agent.
Attacking midfielder Thorgan made a name for himself in the Bundesliga, playing for both Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund. He also enjoyed a successful period with Belgium alongside his brother and captain. Younger brother Kylian is also a professional footballer, playing in the Belgian Pro League for RWDM.
Andre, Jordan and Ibrahim Ayew
It may come of interest to some of you that the Ayew brothers are the sons of African footballing royalty, Abedi Pele. The Ghana attacker was part of the Marseille side in the 1990s, who dominated France’s Division One and featured in two Champions League finals.
Premier League fans may remember Andre Ayew for his instant impact for Swansea City, in the 2015-16 Premier League season and joining West Ham a year later. Fast forward a few years and you’ll find him captaining the Ghanian national team, notably at the World Cup last year.
Only a year younger, Jordan has established himself as a regular starter for Crystal Palace and often plays alongside his brother for Ghana. Eldest brother Ibrahim Ayew has also been capped for Ghana and the defensive midfielder currently plies his trade in Gibraltar, playing for the Lincoln Red Imps.
Thiago and Rafinha Alcantara
Generational footballing ability also seems to run in the Alcantara family, with Thiago and Rafinha’s father Mazinho, winning the 1994 World Cup with Brazil.
Spain international Thiago would have also been eligible to play for Italy, as well as Brazil, given that he was born in Brindisi when his father played for Lecce. A world class player when fully fit, Thiago’s career has been plagued by injuries.
Like his older brother, Rafinha is also a La Masia product but struggled to cement himself in Barcelona’s starting XI. While Thiago went on to represent Spain, Rafinha followed in the footsteps of his father and chose to play for Brazil. Following unsuccessful spells with the Catalan giants and PSG, he made the decision to join Qatari side Al-Arabi last September.
Marcus and Khephren Thuram
Sticking with the theme of World Cup winning fathers, Marcus and Khephren have rather large boots to fill, with their father Lillian being the second most capped player in France’s history. Marcus made a name for himself by playing for Borussia Monchengladbach and eventually caught the eye of Inter Milan, making him the second member of the family to play in the Serie A.
While Khephren followed in Lillian’s footsteps, in rising through the ranks of Monaco’s academy, he made the controversial decision to join their rivals Nice, in June 2019. Since then he has become one of the most promising midfielders in Europe and earned a call-up to the French national team in March 2023, joining his brother.
Romelu and Jordan Lukaku
The consistently polarising Romelu Lukaku has been involved in enough drama to last him and his family a lifetime, yet it might be unknown to some that he has a younger brother, named Jordan. The left back came through Anderlecht’s academy, later securing a move to Lazio, after three years at Oostende.
While Romelu was a mainstay in the Belgium national team, the same honour wasn’t afforded to his brother, who only made one appearance in Euro 2016.
Jude and Jobe Bellingham
Last but certainly not least are the Bellingham brothers. Both Jude and Jobe came rose through Birmingham City’s academy ranks, with Jude recently becoming one of the most expensive English players of all time, following his transfer to Real Madrid.
Given the iconic no.5 jersey, worn previously by the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Jude has made a perfect start to life as a Madridista, scoring five goals and creating one assist in just five league appearances at the time of writing. Jude was not the only one on the move though, with younger brother Jobe leaving his boyhood club to play at the Stadium of Light for Sunderland.