Wednesday, 30 August 2017

9 footballers’ brothers who were only signed to keep their siblings sweet (probably)

9 footballers’ brothers who were only signed to keep their siblings sweet (probably)
With the news that 22-year-old Kylian Hazard has signed for Chelsea's development squad – we're sure in no way to keep another member of the squad happy - here's nine players who followed in their brother's footsteps

1. Christian and Jonathan Benteke
The younger Benteke followed his £32m record-signing brother Christian to Crystal Palace after his contract was terminated at Belgian Pro League side S.V. Zulte Waregem last summer.
The now 22-year-old striker had failed to score in 17 appearances in 2015/16 – 16 of those off the bench – but bagged a one-year deal with Palace’s development squad thanks to the name on the back of his shirt. He played just one game for Palace in 2016/17, replacing his brother for the last six minutes of a win over Middlesbrough, and was released at the end of of the season.

2. Roque and Julio Santa Cruz
Roque Santa Cruz arrived at Blackburn in 2007 after eight years with Bayern Munich, and managed an impressive debut campaign haul of 19 Premier League goals.
But while the Paraguayan’s Rovers form convinced Mark Hughes to sign him again at Manchester City in 2009, his younger brother and fellow striker Julio didn’t quite make the same mark when he joined Blackburn in 2008.
If his three years in England don’t stick in the memory, it’s probably because he didn’t make a single senior appearance for Blackburn, instead featuring sporadically in one season for the club’s reserves. He returned to Paraguay, where he currently plies his trade for Deportivo Capiata.
3. Gianluigi and Antonio Donnarumma
Milan barely held on to their brilliant, 18-year-old goalkeeping prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer. At one point, he seemed certain to leave - before a dramatic about-turn saw the Italian international signing a new four-year contract.
In completely unrelated news, Milan also did another piece of goalkeeper business: re-signing Antonio Donnarumma - Gianluigi's near-decade older brother. Antonio had been on Milan's books as a youth goalkeeper, being allowed to depart in 2012 without having played a first-team game for the Rossoneri. Last season, he was playing for Asteras Tripolis in the Greek league, where we're forced to assume his displays were so superb that Milan had to have him back.

4. Clarence and Chedric Seedorf
It seems that signing five-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf came with the terms of signing his younger brother Chedric as well. Little Seedorf played for Real Madrid’s youth academy for one season (1999/2000) until Clarence moved on to Inter a year later, dragging Chedric in tow.
After following his own career path in the Netherlands and Italy – there were spells with NAC, Legnano, Pizzighettone, Oostende and Cambuur Leeuwarden – a magic phone call from Milan provided Chedric with an escape route to Serie A. “Alright Clarence, fancy seeing you here!”

5. Rafael and Fabio da Silva
It seems to have been a case of “both of us or nothing” when Manchester United signed Brazilian defenders Rafael and Fabio from Fluminense in 2007.
The twins enjoyed mixed spells at Old Trafford – Rafael made 170 appearances for United before moving on to Lyon in 2015, while Fabio managed 56 outings in red. The latter was sent out on loan with QPR in 2012 before permanently switching to Cardiff in 2014. He’s now playing for Middlesbrough in the Championship.

6. Kaka and Digao
Brazilian maestro Kaka signed for Milan from Sao Paulo in 2003 and was followed by his younger brother Digao a year later. Whether it was to help Kaka settle in Italy or because the Rossoneri genuinely believed Digao had talent will never be known – but the fact the centre-back only made one senior appearance for the club speaks for itself.
After several fruitless loan spells around Italy, Belgium and Portugal he joined New York Red Bulls in 2012, only to play for a grand total of one minute. Digao gave up the game for good in 2013, aged 27. Probably for the best.

7. Jesus and Marco Navas
Jesus Navas arrived at Manchester City with a history of homesickness – so his quick-thinking new club set about trying to make things easier for him by dropping neighbours Bury a call in August 2013.
The then-League Two side were happy to take on his 30-year-old brother Marco, who'd mostly spent his career knocking about Spain's second tier. “With his brother being at Manchester City it was felt they would like some family in the North West,” Shakers boss Kevin Blackwell explained. “We were approached but the kid’s no mug. He’s got quite a few games as a professional under his belt at good La Liga level.”

8. Eden and Thorgan Hazard
Yep. Even before Kylian, Chelsea have form for this. In a universally exciting move in 2012, Thorgan Hazard followed his much-talked-about older brother Eden to the Blues. Eden Senior has enjoyed a successful career at Stamford Bridge to say the least, but Thorgan never made a senior appearance.
Still, he’s done just fine despite becoming one of many Chelsea youth players to be shipped off on loan, first spending time with Zulte Waregem and then Borussia Monchengladbach, who signed him permanently for €8m in 2015.“Before going to Belgium, I was just the brother of Eden,” he later told The Times. “In Belgium I showed what I can do myself. Afterwards they did not say that I was Eden’s brother.” Fantastic tale. Got any more Hazards at home, Eden? (Answer: yes - 14-year-old Ethan Hazard. Wonder where he'll end up?)

9. Paolo and Fabio Cannavaro
For Paolo Cannavaro, living in the shadow of a World Cup-winning older brother must be hard. Not too hard, though, as Fabio’s presence in the Parma dressing room probably helped him get a move there in 1999 with only two senior appearances for Napoli to his name.
While Fabio went on to hit dizzy heights – namely playing for Inter, Juventus, Real Madrid and becoming a national hero – Paolo stuck it out with Parma through their (first) liquidation, making 128 appearances in seven years and skippering them to the 2005 UEFA Cup semi-finals. After a successful eight-year stint at Napoli, he’s now at Sassuolo, aged 36

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