Best XI – Like Father Like Son

Best XI is an interesting compilation from the football world across different locations that we share with you. In his debut article, Robin Dey fields a team of footballing fathers playing against their footballing sons.

Best Xi will seek to be about topics you are interested in and want explored. You may mail your requests to

This is my first article for GOALden Times and I am pondering what to write. So many things come into my mind. I am trying to recall the earliest memories I have of watching or playing football.

I was forced to watch the 1998 World cup final by my father when I was only 11 years old. It is one of my oldest memories of watching live football as I never followed football as a kid. My father had worked for a few years in France and even held a French passport at that time. It was clear who my father was supporting. I supported Brazil only because my father was rooting for the Les Blues! My team lost 3-0! That night I firmly believed football was the worst sport ever devised.

My beliefs would change 3 years later after I started playing football regularly and after I started following Manchester United. But it is my father whom I must thank for making me watch this historical match.

Come to think of it most modern footballers should be indebted to their fathers for a lot of reasons. Firstly, for introducing the beautiful game to their kids. Secondly for all those late night matches on TV wearing replica jerseys, backyard practice sessions and meaningless kick arounds that get their kids hooked to the game. And last but not the least, simply for their genes. It is amazing how so many father-son duos have done well in the sport we love so much. Famous father-son duos have provided fans of different generations with so much joy. One thing I noticed about famous father-son pairs in professional football is that in most of the cases goalies had their sons keeping goal. Defenders had their sons defending and attackers had their sons playing forward. I can imagine the reasons for this. The Dads must have taught their sons the game just the way they played it themselves.

So let me see if I can field a team of 11 footballing fathers against their 11 footballing sons! I am going with a very attacking 3-4-3 formation for both teams. It was hard finding famous defending father son pairs so I opted for only 3 defenders.

Goalkeepers: The Schmeichels.
Defenders: The Maldinis, Blinds and De Jongs.
Midfielders: The Alonsos, Verons, Sammers and Mazzolas.
Strikers: The Gudjhonsens, Cruyffs and Ayews.


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Total rating starting 11 Fathers’ team= 80/110.

Total rating starting 11 Sons’ team= 79.5/110.

On the bench we have the Lampards, the Reinas, the Trezeguets, the Forlans and the Djorkaeffs.

Interesting thing about the Trezeguets – dad Jorge who was a defender played for Argentina whereas son David was a striker who represented France!

The Fathers’ team have an obvious advantage in Goal. Kasper still has a long way to go before emulating his Dad Peter. Up front again the Fathers are blessed with two all time greats in Johan Cruyff and Abedi Pele. But the Sons have a midfield to die for in Xabi Alonso, Matthias Sammer and Sandro Mazzola. And the sons are also better equipped in defence with Paolo Maldini, Nigel De Jong and Daley Blind.

If a game was played between the two teams it would be a very close affair as is evident from the ratings. I expect a goal fest – 5-4 to the Fathers. Cruyff with a hattrick and Pele scoring the other twp goals for Dads United. Schmeichel saving at least five shots on target. Four goal scorers for the Sons would be Veron, Gudjohnsen, Sammer and Mazzola.

Oh and there would be one red card too. Nigel De Jong would get sent off; this time for a Kung fu kick on Miguel Alonso!