Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 26 August 2019

Luca Zidane, Zinedine Zidane and footballers who played under their fathers as managers

After the Real Madrid boss picked his son in goal against Huesca in La Liga, we take a look at other notable examples

For a manager who won three Uefa Champions League titles on the spin, it's difficult to question Zinedine Zidane's judgement.

Not only that, but the Frenchman has now won both of his matches since returning to the Real Madrid hotseat. But suggestions of nepotism will naturally come forth after he selected his son, Luca, in goal for the 3-2 victory over Huesca on Sunday.

He's not the first manager of a top level club to select his son, and he surely won't be the last.

Luca Zidane's selection was a surprise, right?

He is Real Madrid's third-choice keeper, so in that respect yes. Thibaut Courtois, who has come in for widespread criticism during his first season at the Bernabeu, was out injured, while second choice Keylor Navas had been on international duty with Costa Rica.

Luca, 20, made his league debut for Real last season and this was only his second appearance. He has however played nearly 40 matches for Real Madrid's B team and has represented France through the age groups up to Under 20.

He's actually the third Zidane to play for Real, after brother Enzo made one first team appearance in the 2016/17 season before departing for Alaves. He plays for Rayo Majadahonda in the Spanish second tier.

How did Luca get on against Huesca?

Well, it wasn't the best of starts - he conceded after just three minutes against the side that is bottom of La Liga.

Real, who rested the likes of Raphael Varane, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, made heavy work of the minnows.

Isco equalised, Dani Ceballos put them ahead in the second half before Huesca equalised. Karim Benzema curled in a dramatic late winner, leaving Real 12 points behind leaders Barcelona.

Is it unusual for the manager's son to be playing?

It doesn't happen often, but there's been quite a few examples and a handful involving the biggest clubs in Europe.

When you consider the high number of players who have followed their father into the professional game, and then the amount of players who go on to be managers, you can see how it becomes quite possible.

But it takes a brave call from the father to overcome suggestions of favouritism to go on and select their child. They would of course just say they are "picking the best team".

Alex Ferguson did it at Manchester United?

Yes, his son Darren played in midfield during the early 1990s. He wasn't a regular, but did pick up a Premier League winners medal in 1992-93 having made enough appearances. His chance came along due to an injury to Bryan Robson, and while it's fair to say he was well short of Robson's class, and that of teammates such as Mark Hughes and Paul Ince, he did at that point have the potential for a decent career.

He was eventually sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers and saw out the rest of his playing days in the lower leagues before moving into management himself.

“I know I am always going to have that name tag on me. It was the same when I was a player and it won’t go away,” Darren said in 2007.

He added that his dad, known for his "hairdryer" style confrontations in the dressing room, gave him "bits of advice and a few rollickings when I needed them".

Who else played for their father?

There's another with a Manchester United connection, and that's Steve Bruce and his son Alex. Steve was in the same title winning side as Darren Ferguson and later managed Alex at both Birmingham City and Hull City.

Others in English football include Nigel Clough and his legendary father Brian Clough. Nigel was a key player for Forest before moving on to Liverpool, while Harry and Jamie Redknapp were together at Bournemouth before both moved on to bigger and better things.

For Jordi Cruyff it was a difficult situation at Barcelona where his father Johan was one of football's most recognised names.

"I had to be ultra careful. If I was mates with a player then we couldn't be seen socialising in public, because the media would have thought that the player was trying to get in my - and therefore my dad's - good books. It wasn't an easy position because if a player is not playing, they will search for any excuse," he told ESPN.

"On the training field, if I made a mistake then my father would have a go at me more than anyone else. He wanted to show that he wasn't doing me any favours."

Updated: May 2, 2019 05:42 PM



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