All over the world, there are millions of young children who want to follow in their parents’ footsteps when they grow up, and it seems in football there is no difference.

Some players, such as Kasper Schmeichel or Daley Blind, have done well to manage the pressure their family name brings, as the former helped his Leicester City side win the Premier League in 2016 and FA Cup in 2021.

As a youngster, the Danish goalkeeper was videoed playing football in the halls of Old Trafford with another famous son, Tom Ince, who has also gone on to play in the Premier League.

A current Man Utd star is Anthony Elanga who recently opted to represent Sweden at international level. The promising young forward was eligible to represent Cameroon whom his father Joseph turned out for between 1998-2002. Elanga senior was a former Malmo teammate of Zlatan Ibrahimović and the enigmatic Swede is excited about Anthony’s future.

“First time I met him, we were in the restaurant in the [United] training ground and he came up to me and he said, ‘you know my father’ and I was like, help me now because I don’t know who I’m talking to,” he told reporters.

“‘You played with my father Elanga’, and then everything clicked and I said ‘OK’, and it made me happy because I wasn’t the only Swedish one in Manchester, we had another Swedish player.”

 

“We’re all happy and we’re enjoying the adventure he is on, he just started and he’s on the way up so it’s good. You will have something to watch for another 20 years,” he added.

But across Europe, there is a new batch of players, fathered by some of football’s greatest, who are trying to make their name in the sport while juggling the pressure of their father’s success.

While some are performing better than others, all still have a long way to go in their careers.

Here are 15 footballers currently playing in Europe, looking to follow in the footsteps of their fathers.

Justin Kluivert 

Age: 22

Club: Nice (on loan from Roma)

Father: Patrick Kluivert.

 

Following in the footsteps of his father Patrick, Justin Kluivert came through the academy at Ajax.

Having made his first-team debut in 2017, the Dutchman played 56 times for Ajax in all competitions, scoring 13 goals.

The 22-year-old’s form earned him a place in the Netherlands squad in 2018 where he went on to earn his first cap against Portugal, and in turn, making the Kluiverts the first teenager father-son debutants in Netherlands’ history.

 

Kluivert made a move to Italian giants A.S. Roma during the 2018 summer transfer window for £15.16m although his progress has stagnated slightly (now on loan at Nice).

A former Ajax and Barcelona striker, Patrick Kluivert is widely regarded as a football icon in the Netherlands and around the world, scoring 199 club career goals, while winning titles in Spain and the Netherlands, including the Champions League with Ajax in 1995.

Son of Lilian Thuram, Marcus is currently playing in the Bundesliga with Borussia Mönchengladbach and is one of the most important attackers in the club.

The 24-year-old joined the German side after suffering relegation with Guingamp in 2019, putting that spell in France firmly behind him, netting 25 goals in 84 appearances so far. The 24-year-old enjoyed a good first season in Germany, netting 10 times in the Bundesliga, helping Mönchengladbach to a fourth-placed finish and securing Champions League football.

His younger brother Khéphren is currently plying his trade at Nice and is more closer to his father given that he plays as a defensive midfielder.

A French legend, Lilian Thuram retired as the most-capped player in the history of the France national team with 142 appearances between 1994 and 2008, winning the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships.

The defender spent a large part of his club career playing in Italy with Parma – where his son Marcus was born – and then Juventus.

But Marcus has felt no pressure from who his father is, saying in 2019: “No, never, because I saw my dad as my dad, not as the soccer player.

“That’s you and others who see Lilian Thuram, but I see my dad.”

Isaac Drogba

Age: 21

Club: Académica Coimbra B

Father: Didier Drogba

Another famous footballer’s son associated with Guingamp, Isaac Drogba joined the French side in 2018 after leaving the Chelsea academy – though he has since left and can now be found at Académica Coimbra B in Portugal.

Joining the Ligue 2 side’s academy, Isaac is following in the footsteps of father Didier Drogba, who played 50 times for Guingamp before moving on to Marseille, and then Chelsea.

Hailed as one of the best strikers of modern football, Drogba won the majority of his trophies over two spells with Chelsea, including four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and also the Champions League — which saw him score a late equaliser and the winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the final.

Enzo Fernandez 

Age: 27

Club: Rodez AF

Father: Zinedine Zidane.

 

 

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