A love of football is often passed down from generation to generation and, in some cases, sons even follow their fathers into football stardom.
In Spain it is no different with some the genes being passed down the generations. Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso have starred for Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively – but did you know their fathers were stars before them?
Johan Cruyff is one of the biggest names to have graced both Spanish and world football, and even though son Jordi had his work cut out to surpass his father’s feats, he also enjoyed his time in the limelight.
Here’s a look at five of the best father-son duos in La Liga history.
JOHAN AND JORDI CRUYFF
As one of the most important figures in Barcelona’s history, Johan Cruyff brought glory to the Camp Nou both as a player and as a coach, while helping install the philosophy that stills powers the Catalan club today.
He won one La Liga title as a player, in 1973/74, before lifting the trophy four times as Barca coach and also leading the Blaugrana to their first ever European Cup triumph in 1992.
The Dutch legend loved his adopted hometown of Barcelona so much that he gave his son a Catalan name. Jordi went on to follow in his father’s footsteps by also playing for Barca and was even given his debut by his old man.
Cruyff Jr also represented RC Celta, Alaves and Espanyol during his time in Spain and actually ended up making more La Liga appearances over the course of his career than his iconic father. He also played for Manchester United for four years and won the 1996/97 Premier League title with the Red Devils.
MIGUEL AND XABI ALONSO
Two of the most successful Basque players of all time are also father and son. Miguel Alonso, better known as ‘Periko,’ won league titles at Real Sociedad and at Barcelona in the 1980s, before moving into coaching.
He enjoyed his best managerial spell at Eibar between 1995 and 1998, before taking charge of his beloved Sociedad on an interim basis in 2000/01.
His son, however, eclipsed even his father’s illustrious achievements. Xabi came through the ranks at Sociedad, spending a year out on loan at local rivals Eibar in the process – a move which was arranged by Periko, who had strong contacts at both clubs.
Xabi will go down as one of Spanish football’s all-time greats. A World Cup winner with Spain in 2010, the cultured midfielder won the La Liga title with Real Madrid in 2012 and also picked up medals in England and Germany in a highly-decorated career with Liverpool and Bayern Munich.
He lifted three Bundesliga titles as well as the DFB Pokal with the Bavarians and hoisted the FA Cup with the Merseysiders, as well as famously being part of the team that won the 2005 Champions League.
CARLOS AND SERGIO BUSQUETS
While Busquets Sr and Busquets Jr may have played in very different positions, they both possessed that ability to play the ball with their feet that is so valued at Barcelona. Between them they’ve won nine La Liga titles, accounting for over a third of the club’s historic league title count.
Goalkeeper Carlos stepped into the Barca goal following the departure of the iconic Andoni Zubizarreta and was first-choice under Johan Cryuff between 1994 and 1996, winning two league titles in the process. But as with the Alonsos, his son has gone on to eclipse the achievements of his father.
Sergio will go down in Barca history as one of the club’s finest players. Given his first-team debut by Pep Guardiola in 2008, the midfielder has gone on to rack up seven La Liga medals, six Copa del Reys and three Champions League titles, and has been an integral part of Spain’s international success since 2010.
MIGUEL AND PEPE REINA
Another family story involving a Barca goalkeeper, but this time the son also went on to play between the posts. Miguel Reina moved from his hometown club Cordoba to the Camp Nou in 1966, where he stayed for seven seasons before making the move to the capital with Atletico Madrid.
The Andalusian won the ‘Zamora,’ given to the goalkeeper who concedes the fewest goals in a La Liga season, on two occasions and earned a handful of caps for Spain.
His son Pepe also represented Spain and was part of La Roja’s three-in-a-row success between 2008 and 2012. Unluckily for him, he also played during the era of Iker Casillas.
At club level, the current AC Milan shot-stopper started his career at Barca, before making over 100 La Liga appearances for Villarreal and later enjoying adventures in England, Germany and Italy – with Liverpool, Napoli and even a short stint at Bayern Munich.
MAZINHO, THIAGO AND RAFINHA
Brazilian great Mazinho fathered two future La Liga players. Thiago and Rafinha Alcantara were both born before their father made his move from his native Brazil to Spain, first joining Valencia and later moving to Celta Vigo after two seasons.
Both sons spent much of their childhood in Spain and both ended up at the Barcelona academy. Stylish midfielder Thiago, the elder of the two, made 68 top-flight appearances for Barca before a 2013 transfer to Bayern Munich.
Rafinha, meanwhile, is still on the books at the Camp Nou and has made 85 appearances in La Liga, and would surely have made many more had he not had such bad luck with injuries.
These are just five cases of father-and-son duos to have played in La Liga. There’s also Real Madrid icon Michel and current Malaga player Adrian Gonzalez, who between them have made the most La Liga appearances of all father-and-son duos, followed closely by Manuel and Manolo Sanchis (both Real Madrid).
Current stars Denis Cheryshev, Saul Niguez, Mikel Merino, Marcos Llorente, Kenan Kodro, Borja Baston, Loren Moron and Lucas and Theo Hernandez are also following in their fathers’ footsteps by playing in La Liga.
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