The Not-So-Successful Brothers: Have You Heard of Them?

Choon Yau TanCorrespondent IMay 21, 2009

BOLTON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 11:  Mikel Alonso of Bolton Wanderers in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United at The Reebok Stadium on August 11, 2007 in Bolton, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

There are numerous siblings out there all playing professional football. Gary and Phil Neville, Rio and Anton Ferdinand, and the Altintop twin brothers are a few examples.

Although Phil Neville and Anton Ferdinand are not as successful as their respective older brothers, they are at least key players in their Premiership-based clubs. Phil Neville is the current skipper of Everton and Anton Ferdinand was an automatic choice for West Ham and is currently playing for Sunderland.

However, there are some famous footballers out there who have brothers also playing professional football which many might not really known of.


1) Mikel Alonso, 29

Mikel Alonso (pic) is the older brother of Liverpool's midfielder, Xabi Alonso. Both of them started their careers in Real Sociedad. Also a midfielder, Mikel's opportunity was restricted due to the presence of his younger brother and Mikel Aranburu.

While Xabi gave his career a boost by signing for Liverpool in summer 2004, Mikel Alonso stayed in Spain. He was then sent out on a season long loan to Bolton in 2007. Mikel Alonso currently plays for Tenerife and has yet to represent his national side.


2) Federico Higuain, 24

Gonzalo Higuain is probably enjoying his career in Real Madrid, having established himself as a regular starter this term. He actually has an older brother by the name of Federico Higuain and yes, he also plays professional football.

Having started his career in River Plate, Federico had a taste of European football when Besiktas signed him in 2007. However, he was loaned out to Mexican side Club America one season later. The 24-year-old is currently playing for Independiente.


3) Bradley Wright-Phillips, 24

Many would have probably heard of this lad, Bradley Wright-Phillips. He was a part of Manchester City's first team from 2004 to 2006. His emergence came at the time when his older brother Shaun Wright-Phillips left for Chelsea and many were talking about the lad. He was sold to Southampton in summer 2006.

Bradley has since faded from spotlight, except for when he was accused for stealing items in Southsea. However, he has been a regular for Southampton. Depite living in the shadow of his older brother, I strongly believe he has what it takes to play in the Premiership.


4) Bjorn Helge Riise, 25

John Arne Riise signed for Liverpool in 2001 and since then, his younger brother tried to follow his footsteps. Bjorn Helge Riise, who is a right-sided midfielder had a couple trials with Manchester City and Cardiff City but both attempts failed.

The current Lillestrom midfielder had previously played for Aalesunds FK, Standard Liege, and FC Brussels. Bjorn has also represented Norway ten times, scoring a goal in the process.


5) Paolo Cannavaro, 27

Like his older brother Fabio, this defender was a product of Napoli. He moved to Parma in 1999, reuniting him with his older brother. While Fabio signed for Italian giants Inter Milan and later on Juventus, Paolo Cannavaro went through a downfall with Parma.

Paolo made a return to Napoli in 2006 and has never played for his country. Although Paolo has spent most of his career in the top flight, he has never been anywhere near to the achievement of his older brother, who led Italy to the World Cup triumph in 2006 and was the first defender to win FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006.


So how many of the five players have you heard of? And can you think of any more as I'm pretty sure there are more examples outside there.