B/R Football Ranks: Top 10 Famous Footballers' Sons on Future Potential

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJuly 22, 2019

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 17:  Gio Reyna #38 of the Borussia Dortmund looks on against the Seattle Sounders during the pre-season friendly match between Borussia Dortmund and Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on July 17, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that famous former footballers produce footballing sons.

A lifetime obsession with the beautiful game is impossible to shake off, and when you're training and learning from some of the best from an early age, you're going to get a leg up on the opposition.

In some cases, it seems as though your name can even give you a slight edge on others—a benefit of the doubt. There's a desire among the watching world to see sons emulate or even exceed their fathers on the pitch, so intrigue and belief are afforded.

We've picked through the long list of sons walking in their famous fathers' footsteps and selected a top 10, ranking them on their potential.

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10. Marcus Thuram, 21, Forward, Borussia Monchengladbach 

Son of: Lillian Thuram

Guingamp's French forward Marcus Thuram runs for the ball during the French L1 football match between Guingamp (EAG) and Angers (SCO) at The Roudourou Stadium in Guingamp, north-western France on February 23, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/Getty Images

It's no guarantee that sons end up emulating their fathers in terms of position or skill set, but the apple doesn't usually fall too far from the tree.

In the Thurams' case, though, they could barely be more different; whereas Lillian looked the epitome of calm as he strode out of defence for club and country, Marcus is an erratic, wild forward who calls unpredictability one of his great strengths.

He's just come off his first full season at Guingamp in which he struggled for consistency, but he certainly flashed moments. The onus was placed on him to try to lead the club to safety, and it seemed a bit much at age 21.

On Monday, he signed for Gladbach in the Bundesliga and he will be hoping they give him a more stable setting to grow in. 

       


     

9. Daniel Maldini, 17, Forward, AC Milan

Son of: Paolo Maldini

EMPOLI, ITALY - DECEMBER 14: Daniel Maldini of AC Milan U19 looks on during the Serie A Primavera  match between Empoli FC U19 and AC Milan U19 at  on December 14, 2018 in Empoli, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Like the Thurams, Paolo and Daniel are worlds apart in the positions they play(ed). Paolo was one of the world's best-ever defenders, playing centrally or on the left, but his young son Daniel is a forward.

He's making headlines in Italy after a strong season for Milan's primavera side, netting nine goals in 2018-19, and the No. 10 shirt fits him well.

He's already showcased dribbling, passing and shooting skills, while he will work back and help defensively—perhaps a habit forced into him by his father.

      


       

8. Giovanni Simeone, 24, Striker, Fiorentina

Son of: Diego Simeone

FLORENCE, ITALY - APRIL 29: Giovanni Simeone of ACF Fiorentina during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and US Sassuolo at Stadio Artemio Franchi on April 29, 2019 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

In 2016, Giovanni made the move to Europe just as his father, Diego, did back in 1990.

A successful season with Genoa led him to Fiorentina, a club where he's honed his game and become one of the better pure poachers in a country famous for them. His bustling style leads him into the channels, and he protects the ball well. However, he does his real damage in the box.

Five caps for Argentina since 2018, even with the glut of No. 9s the country has produced, gives you a measure of the strides he's made. He plays with some of his father's grit, too.

         


      

7. Angus Gunn, 23, Goalkeeper, Southampton 

Son of: Bryan Gunn

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Angus Gunn of Southampton in action during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Huddersfield Town at St Mary's Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

The goalkeeping stock is strong in the Gunn family.

After Bryan's escapades in the '90s Premier League era with Norwich City, Angus is forging his own career in England's top tier.

He broke into Southampton's first-team late last year, keeping a clean sheet on his league debut at Stamford Bridge and putting in a spectacular performance to stymie Eden Hazard and Co.

From there, he solidified his spot as the club's No. 1, and he has trained with England in the past—notably in the buildup to the 2018 World Cup.  

       


        

6. Ianis Hagi, 20, Attacking Midfielder, Genk

Son of: Gheorghe Hagi

BOLOGNA, ITALY - JUNE 27: Ianis Hagi of Romania looks on during the 2019 UEFA U-21 Semi-Final match between Germany and Romania at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on June 27, 2019 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Every two years a handful of players' fortunes change for the better thanks to the platform the European Under-21 Championships offers. 2019's crop includes Ianis Hagi—son of the legendary Gheorghe—who shone in Romania's run to the semi-finals.

He plays with his father's care-free style, marauding the midfield, picking out pockets of space and striking with precision. His two-footedness is a big bonus, allowing him to go either side of a marker or let fly from distance with either his left or his right.

He's already captained both his club and his country (at under-21 level); he's a big personality and takes responsibility on the pitch.

        


       

5. Gio Reyna, 16, Attacking Midfielder, Borussia Dortmund

Son of: Claudio Reyna and Danielle Reyna

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 17:  Gio Reyna #38 of the Borussia Dortmund looks on against the Seattle Sounders during the pre-season friendly match between Borussia Dortmund and Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on July 17, 2019 in Seattle, Washingto
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Was there ever any other occupation in line for Gio Reyna, given both his parents represented the U.S. national teams in the '90s?

He was snapped up by Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of this summer, continuing the trend of America's top young talents developing in Germany, and if his youth footballing achievements are anything to go by, Gio has a sensational future in store.

Patrick Vieira, Reyna's former youth coach in New York, told Bundesliga.com: "For a kid, he has this physical presence, and his game understanding is really good. He can score goals, he understands the demands of the game tactically." 

He bagged his first senior minutes with Dortmund on their pre-season tour last week, looking right at home against European champions Liverpool.

         


      

4. Erling Haaland, 19, Striker, RB Salzburg

Son of: Alf-Inge Haaland

Erling Haaland of Red Bull Salzburg during the Pre-season Friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Feyenoord Rotterdam at Steinberg stadium on July 12, 2019 in Leogang, Austria(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Of all the players on this list, Erling Haaland is the one most likely to enjoy a breakout season in 2019-20.

He introduced himself to the world over the summer, smashing a record by scoring nine goals in one game at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. He is now set for a big role for Red Bull Salzburg this season, stepping into the shoes of last season's top scorer, Munas Dabbur, who has gone to Sevilla.

A brutish presence working with a massive 6'4” frame, he offers great strength and jumping ability, but also a nice change of speed and some good movement—all to go with expert finishing levels.

       


       

3. Tim Weah, 19, Forward, Lille

Son of: George Weah

GDYNIA, POLAND - JUNE 8: Tim Weah of USA celebrates scoring a goal during the FIFA U-20 World Cup Quarter Final match between United States and Ecuador on June 8, 2019 in Gdynia, Poland. (Photo by Piotr Matusewicz/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)
PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Unless the football landscape drastically changes, Tim Weah seems unlikely to emulate his father, George Weah, in winning a Ballon d'Or.

George won the award in 1995 while at AC Milan, having carved out a reputation as one of the finest midfield playmakers in the world with a penchant for a long-range strike.

Chances are Tim won't match that achievement, but that's not to infer that he can't become a world star in his own right.

He's already flashing sensational potential. He has proved himself able to play on either wing or as a striker, and he boasts a team ethic but can also deliver individual moments of brilliance, turning games. 

         


     

2. Justin Kluivert, 20, Winger, Roma

Son of: Patrick Kluivert

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 18: Justin Kluivert of AS Roma  during the Italian Serie A   match between AS Roma v Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico Rome on February 18, 2019 in Rome Italy (Photo by Peter Lous/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Justin Kluivert's maiden season in Rome was a tough one, but there's every chance he takes a leap in 2019-20.

Now playing under a manager, Paulo Fonseca, whose football suits his slinking style much better, that great potential can finally start to be realised.

Perhaps just as important as Fonseca's appointment is Stephan El Shaarawy's departure; it frees up a spot on the left wing, Kluivert's preferred spot, and might allow him to get a run of games there.

The Dutchman's raw skill set is enticing—two-footed, as good at dribbling as he is slotting passes into channels for runners to use—and if Fonseca can harness it consistently, Kluivert will skip through the gears fast.

       


     

1. Federico Chiesa, 21, Winger, Fiorentina

Son of: Enrico Chiesa

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - JUNE 22: Federico Chiesa of Italy U21  during the  EURO U21 match between Belgium  v Italy  at the MAPEI Stadium - Città del Tricolore on June 22, 2019 in  Reggio nell'Emilia Italy (Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Soccrates/Getty I
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Federico Chiesa is by far the best player on this list and by far the most developed famous footballer's son on the planet.

He is Fiorentina's key man, a player who almost single-handedly saved them from relegation last season. If he departed, it would break the hearts of Florence.

That day might come soon, though.

Links to Juventus have been consistent over the last few seasons, and after shining at the Under-21 European Championships—scoring an incredible Maicon-esque goal—interest has only heightened. 

It's arguable he's already eclipsed his father's ability levels, and he'll only get better from here.

         

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All statistics via WhoScored.com or Wyscout (premium)  

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