Like father, like son? It doesn’t always work for great footballers to produce top talent, but Robin van Persie’s son is following in his footsteps and he’s not the only example
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Robin van Persie’s son has followed in his footsteps and recently signed his first professional contract with Feyenoord at the age of just 15.
Shaqueel Van Persie’s contract expires in 2025, and in fact he was offered a pro contract many years before his father. The former Arsenal and Manchester United star was one of the greatest forwards of his generation and it looks like we may be in for another era of Dutch brilliance as Shaqueel impresses.
It’s every father’s dream to see his son follow in his footsteps, but Van Persie isn’t the only legend to experience this, as other stars have carried on the family name. here mirror football takes a look at seven football legends who have seen their sons pick up where they left off.
Zinedine Zidane / Theo Zidane
Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest footballers of all time and the Frenchman even had a successful stint in management after hanging up his boots. But he’s also acted a bit as an agent as four of his sons are all in the game now.
His eldest, Enzo, currently plays in the second division of French football and the second eldest is a goalkeeper at Spanish club Rayo Vallecano. But it’s his youngest that’s wowing the masses. Theo Zidane is causing quite a stir at Real Madrid’s youth academy, even playing the same position as his father.
And there is another son, as Elyaz Zidane is already a left winger in France U17. There are several generations of Zidane and if they become like their father it will be an exciting time for European football.
Jamie Carragher / James Carragher
Jamie Carragher will go down as one of the finest defenders in Liverpool history and his son James is already impressing in the same position at just 19 years old. James currently plays for Wigan who have just managed promotion to the Championship.
He is yet to make his debut in the A-League but has played for the team in the Carabao Cup this season. Carragher was at Liverpool’s youth academy but was sacked aged 15 where Wigan snapped him up.
Carragher signed his first professional contract last year but is available on loan for regular first-team football. With Wigan’s rise, his starting chances have diminished.
Mauricio Pochettino / Maurizio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino may have left Tottenham in 2019 but his family has stayed in London and his son Maurizio still plays in the area for Watford. His son stayed at Tottenham until joining Watford on a free transfer in 2021 but has barely appeared since.
Watford have suffered relegation to the Championship meaning the defender may get more insight. But it wasn’t easy for the 21-year-old without his father.
Pochettino followed his father from Southampton to Tottenham but is yet to determine his future. He has been linked with a move to Spain but the Pochettino family seem keen on staying in London.
Paolo Maldini/Daniel Maldini
The term ‘legend’ hardly does AC Milan star Paolo Maldini justice and his legacy will live on at the club forever. And Milan are on the verge of winning their first Serie A title in 11 years with their son Daniel in the squad.
Although Paolo was one of the best defenders of all time, his son is an attacking midfielder and even a striker in some games and has already scored his first Serie A goal for the club. However, it’s not just a proud moment for Paolo, it’s a big moment for the whole family.
Daniel’s grandfather, Cesare, captained Milan in the 1960s making him the third generation of Maldini to represent the Italian side. Daniel even made his Champions League debut that season when he came on as a substitute against Liverpool.
Alf-Inge Haaland / Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland has already followed in his father’s footsteps and become a professional footballer and he has gone one step further and signed for Manchester City like his father Alf-Inge. Haaland’s future is finally decided as he has agreed to join City in a mega deal as they triggered his unusually low release clause.
City finally have a striker and the Premier League is poised for further dominance and they’re a very different side to when his father played for them. Haaland has stunned the footballing world with his goalscoring abilities at RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund and fans are already plotting what records he could break in England.
However, there are reports that another release clause could come into effect after three years, meaning he may have more plans on the horizon. However, one thing he doesn’t want to take away from his father is his injury record and it’s already been a difficult season.
Patrick Kluivert / Justin Kluivert
Patrick Kluivert will forever be known as a Dutch legend and he is also quite popular at Barcelona for his post-retirement contributions to the Spanish side and also their academy. And his son Justin has even been linked with a move to the Nou Camp in recent years.
Justin currently plays for Roma but the 23-year-old has been on loan at Nice this season. It is the second year he has been on loan, having spent time at RB Leipzig the year before.
Kluivert has been a key part of Nice’s squad this season and the loan deal includes an option to buy that could be triggered at the end of the season. He has a bright future ahead of him and plenty of time to emulate his father’s success.
Claudio Reyna / Giovanni Reyna
Claudio Reyna is a name that not many will be familiar with, but the former midfielder is a legend for the United States. After starting his senior career in Germany, he moved to the UK before playing for Rangers, Sunderland and City.
Reyna last played for City in 2007 before returning to the United States before retiring, but his son is one of the most talked about talents in European football. After being included in The Guardian’s Next Generation list in 2019, he moved to Dortmund and has been a regular there since 2020.
Reyna has received the No.7 shirt previously worn by Jadon Sancho and at the age of just 19 he has a bright career ahead of him. Reyna also helped USA qualify for the World Cup and will perform in Qatar later this year.