Chelsea Sign Thorgan Hazard: Football's 15 Most Famous Brothers
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After playing for club rivals in the French Ligue 1 (Eden for Lille, Thorgan for Lens), they now join forces at Stamford Bridge, making them a rare pair of brothers at the same football club.
In the spirit of brotherhood, let’s take a look back at some of football’s most famous brothers.
Bobby and Jack Charlton
Bobby the United legend
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Without question one of the most illustrious brothers in football history, Bobby and Jack Charlton both played in England’s World Cup-winning side of 1966.
As a striker, Bobby scored 199 goals in 606 league appearances, with 49 in 106 international appearances, going down as one of the best players in English history.
His older brother Jack wasn’t too bad, either: He notched 70 goals in 629 league appearances as a center-back for Leeds United, as well as six goals in 35 games for England.
Michael and Brian Laudrup
Michael is now at Swansea
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Just like the Charlton brothers, Michael and Brian Laudrup are regarded as two of the best footballers in Danish history.
Michael, who was recently appointed as Swansea’s new manager, went from Brondby to Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid, finishing his career with 130 league goals in 479 appearances as an attacking midfielder, and he notched over a century of international caps in a phenomenal career.
Ronald and Erwin Koeman
Ronald of Feyenoord
Ronald Koeman, now manager of Feyenoord, is the most prolific defender in the history of football, with 193 league goals in 533 matches. Most famous for his illustrious spell at Barcelona, he also scored 14 times for the Netherlands.
Erwin’s playing career was focused in the Netherlands and in Belgium, where he also possessed a prolific scoring record from a midfield position: In 472 league appearances, he scored 92 goals.
Frank and Ronald de Boer
Frank coaching Ajax
If you thought the Hazards were a rare breed at Chelsea, just consider Frank and Ronald de Boer, who were teammates at five (that’s right, five) clubs: Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan and Al-Shamal.
Younger twin Frank was a classy defender who recorded 112 appearances for the Dutch national team, and was their most capped player until Edwin van der Sar came along. Frank is currently Ajax manager.
Ronald, on the other hand, scored a total of 122 league goals in 492 matches as a midfielder, and served as vice-captain for the Netherlands, second in command to Frank.
Filippo and Simone Inzaghi
Filippo the Milan legend
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After four pairs of quite illustrious brothers comes two Italian pairs with rather contrasting fortunes amongst themselves.
Filippo Inzaghi, recently retired after the 2011-2012 Serie A season, is one of the most famous strikers to have played for AC Milan. He is, of course, the second-most prolific goalscorer in European club competitions, with 70 goals, second only to Raul.
Simone Inzaghi, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy quite the same career as his older brother, although he did spend 11 seasons at Lazio, scoring 28 goals in 129 league appearances. He finished his career with three caps for Italy.
Fabio and Paolo Cannavaro
Fabio the World Cup winner
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Fabio Cannavaro, the first and only defender to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award, will rightly go down in history as one of the best defenders of his generation.
Younger brother Paolo, while never capped for the Italian national team, has spent most of his career at Napoli. An interesting fact: Paolo made his debut for Parma, coming off the bench to replace Fabio.
Gary and Phil Neville
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And who could forget the Neville brothers?
Gary and Phil Neville both started their careers at Manchester United, where the former stayed for his entire career and cemented a reputation as one of England’s best ever right-backs.
His partnership with David Beckham on the right flank yielded cross after brilliant cross, which led to numerous goals for the famous Fergie’s Fledglings generation.
Phil was the versatile utility man who moved to Everton after 263 league appearances for the Red Devils. At Goodison Park, he has served as an experienced and inspirational captain for David Moyes.
Rio and Anton Ferdinand
The Ferdinand brothers
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Rio and Anton Ferdinand form yet another pair of brothers whose fortunes have been quite different.
In an illustrious career, Rio has become the world’s most expensive defender not once but twice. First when he joined Leeds United from West Ham for £18 million, and then when he moved to Manchester United for £30 million.
He has become known as one of England’s finest ever “footballing” defenders.
Anton, on the other hand, has moved between the Championship and the Premier League as a solid but not stellar choice, having graduated from the West Ham youth academy. He is currently at Queens Park Rangers, where his recent controversy with John Terry also elicited responses from Rio.
Diego and Gabriel Milito
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The Milito brothers are a talented pair of footballers who hail from Argentina.
Younger brother Gabriel turned out for Independiente, Zaragoza and Barcelona as a center-back, making 42 international appearances in the process, but announced his retirement this summer claiming physical and mental exhaustion.
By contrast, Diego is still plying his trade at Internazionale, where he has continued his reputation as one of Europe’s most clinical strikers. He was especially impressive in Inter’s treble-winning season under Jose Mourinho, when he scored two goals in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Bonaventure and Salomon Kalou
Salomon of Chelsea fame
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The Kalou brothers have made a combined total of 97 appearances for the Cote d’Ivoire national team, scoring 28 goals.
In a nomadic career, older brother Bonaventure has turned out for seven clubs and made his name at Feyenoord and subsequently in Ligue 1 with Auxerre and Paris Saint-Germain.
After six successful seasons at Chelsea, Salomon has also arrived on French shores, where he has recently signed a contract with Lille.
A twist in this tale of brothers is that Salomon was just an accelerated naturalization process away from playing for the Dutch national team, which would have made for a curious case of two brothers playing for two different countries.
Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng
Kevin the Milan Prince
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That curious case did happen for the Boateng brothers.
Jerome, who plays for the German national team, is currently a defender for Bayern Munich, where he moved after a relatively quiet season at Manchester City.
Kevin-Prince, the older brother, plays for Ghana and AC Milan, where he has established himself as one of the most exciting midfield talents in Europe after a spell at Portsmouth.
Xabi and Mikel Alonso
Xabi the cultured playmaker
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And now we’re back with two professionals who have had quite different careers.
Xabi Alonso, he of Real Sociedad, Liverpool and Real Madrid fame, is currently known as one of the best midfielders in world football, and has played for the Spanish national team 102 times. His cultured passing has excited crowds wherever he has played.
While possessing similar attributes as a midfielder, Mikel hasn’t enjoyed quite as successful a career as his younger brother.
He played mostly for Real Sociedad and made his name on English shores with a short loan spell at Bolton. After spending the 2011-2012 campaign at Charlton, where he failed to make a single league appearance, he is currently looking for a club.
Kolo and Yaya Toure
The Toures for the Elephants
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The Toures, currently at Premier League champions Manchester City, have been one of the most prolific brothers in football history.
Kolo made his name as an uncompromising defender with Arsenal, and having joined City’s revolution, finds himself third choice at the Etihad Stadium behind Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott.
Yaya, on the other hand, is currently a key component in Roberto Mancini’s relentless City side, having joined in the summer of 2010 on the back of a successful spell with Barcelona.
Halil and Hamit Altintop
Hamit in Bayern colors
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Turkish twin brothers Halil and Hamit Altintop, born in Germany, have turned out for some of the most well-known Bundesliga clubs in their careers.
Hamit, born 10 minutes before his twin, joined Bayern Munich after a successful period at Schalke 04. His last season at Real Madrid didn’t go as well as his previous spells, and he will be playing for Turkish giant Galatasaray in the coming season.
Halil briefly overlapped with his brother at Schalke, having joined from Kaiserlautern. A further season at Eintracht Frankfurt later, he now turns out for Trabzonspor.
Fabio and Rafael da Silva
The da Silva twins
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To round off this list, we have a pair of hot defensive prospects from Brazil, both on the books of Manchester United.
Rafael da Silva, a right-back, has had a smoother career with the Red Devils so far, having made 52 first-team appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. Early this July, he signed a new four-year contract, tying him to Old Trafford until 2016.
Fabio, who can play on both flanks, hasn’t enjoyed as many opportunities for United, and will spend the coming season with Queens Park Rangers, where he will be coached by former United favorite Mark Hughes.
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