Like father, like son. The old nature versus nurture debate is alive and well, with football clubs around the world hoping that the young talents they have in their ranks will turn out as good as the legendary names these kids wear on the back of their shirts. Whiile Giovanni Simeone’s outing at the Olympics with Argentina wasn’t what many expected, the boy still has plenty of potential. And Simeone Junior is just the latest in a long line of famous footballers’ sons to play the game professionally. We’ve assessed the hopes and dreams of him and other prodigies.
- Diego Simeone
- Enzo Fernández
- Jordan Larsson
- Justin Kluivert
Giovanni Simeone, Son of Diego Simeone
Giovanni was born in Madrid in 1995 while Diego played for Atletico, but moved to Argentina to join River Plate in 2008 when his father was appointed coach of the first team. After progressing through the youth ranks, Simeone Junior signed a three-year professional contract with the club in November 2011, making his debut in 2013. Whereas Diego was a world-class central midfielder, Giovanni is an exciting young striker.
Enzo Fernández, Son of Zinédine Zidane
As a player, Zinedine Zidane won it all: the World Cup, the European Championship, the Champions League, as well as La Liga and Serie A titles. Son Enzo could be excused if he felt a fair amount of pressure in attempting to live up to Zizou’s achievements on the pitch.
Currently starring as an attacking midfielder for Real Madrid B having progressed through the youth ranks, Enzo is hoping to break through to the senior team in the upcoming season, having recently played in some preseason friendlies. And there are three more Zidanes on the Real Madrid books looking to follow him. It certainly helps when your dad is the boss!
Rivaldinho, Son of Rivaldo
Like his father, Rivaldinho is a forward with an eye for goal. He started out at the Brazil second division side Mogi Mirim in 2014, where Rivaldo was player-chairman. In July 2015, father and son memorably took to the pitch together in a league match against Macae. Rivaldinho opened the scoring with a header with just three minutes on the clock, before Rivaldo, at the ripe old age of 43, netted a penalty after 17 minutes. Mogi Mirim went on to win 3-1. Rivaldinho now plays for Internacional, and will be hoping to follow his dad’s path to international glory with the Brazilian senior side.
Jordan Larsson, son of Henrik Larsson
Like Enzo Fernández, Jordan Larsson knows how it feels when your dad’s the boss. Ex-Celtic legend Henrik Larsson is coaching his son at Helsingborg in the Swedish league, but being coached by your father isn’t without its own frustrations.
Shortly before the start of the Rio Olympics, Jordan was called up to the Sweden squad, but Henrik held him back to an injury crisis in his squad. Jordan responded maturely to the situation: “It is clear that it is disappointing,” he said. “It is a dream that I had wanted to fulfil. At the same time, I am with Helsingborg, and it would not have been good if I had gone. I have full understanding for the decision.” Despite this, his future certainly looks bright, having netted eight goals and six assists so far for his club.
Justin Kluivert, son of Patrick Kluivert
At 17 Justin Kluivert is the youngest footballer on our list, and arguably the one with the most potential. Despite his tender age, fans around the world have been tracking the Ajax player’s development for a number of years thanks to his proud father Patrick, who regularly posts videos of his son in action to his legion of Twitter followers.
In April 2016, the talented star signed his first professional contract with this most traditional of Dutch clubs, which has in the past developed all-time greats like Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp and Marco van Basten. If Kluivert Junior turns out to be half as good as good as any of those names, he’ll be some player.