International football's band of brothers: Part - 1

Tahiti, the island nation from French Polynesia, is in the 2013 Confederations Cup as OFC champions. In their squad for the tournament, they have 3 brothers and a cousin playing together and one of them, Jonathan Tehau, did score in the first game against Nigeria. Familial presence across various sports is quite a feature.

On that note, in a 3-part series, we look at some of the most famous band of brothers who have represented their countries at the national level, including the Tehaus of Tahiti.

The Tehaus – Alvin, Lorenzo and Jonathan

Alvin and Lorenzo are twins and both play as an attacking midfielder or forward. They represent the same club in the Tahitian League, AS Tefana, and have almost the same number of international caps as well. Lorenzo was the leading scorer for Tahiti in the OFC Nations Cup which they won to qualify for the Confederations tournament. Jonathan, meanwhile, is the eldest of the trio, a year older at 25 and plays in the defensive midfielder role. The trio have a cousin, Teanoui Tehau, who is also in the 23-man squad at Brazil.

The Hassans – Hossam and Ibrahim

Hassan Hossam and Ibrahi

The pair are the most capped twins in international sport, with Hossam playing 169 times and Ibrahim 125 times for Egypt. Hossam and Ibrahim spent the majority of their careers together. They played for fierce rivals Al Ahly and Zamalek as well as spending time at Greek Club PAOK Salonika. They won 13 Egyptian league titles and 5 cups, as well as two African Champions Leagues. Hossam added 3 African Nations cups onto his glittering career and was named the greatest African player of the last 50 years.

The Souza Viera de Oliveiras – Socrates and Rai

1986 World Cup Finals. Guadalajara, Mexico. 12th June, 1986. Brazil 3 v Northern Ireland 0. Brazil's Socrates on the ball.

Forget that family name, Socrates and Rai are the names that need remembering. Socrates is a legend in this game, just like his namesake from ancient Greece was in his own right (perhaps it’s in the name). Standing at 6’3”, he was an imposing physical presence and one of the greatest playmakers to ever play the game. Socrates was superbly two-footed and was as skilled as they come – his signature move was the blind heel pass. Sporting a beard and headband almost always, he became a very recognizable figure on the football field and became the symbol of cool for an entire generation. Socrates represented the Selecao in 2 World Cups (1982 & 1986), including captaining the side in the ’82 edition.

Socrates was not just a great footballer, he was also a very intellectual one; he worked as a columnist for several newspapers and magazines writing on sport, economics and politics. He was also a qualified doctor, a very rare feat amongst professional footballers. What is even more astounding is that he earned that medical degree while parallely playing football. Socrates breathed his last on 4 December, 2011. He was one of the greatest footballers to have never won the World Cup.

Rai, his younger brother by 9 years, did manage that World Cup win – as part of the 1994 squad led by Dunga. He spent most of his footballing career with 2 clubs – Sao Paulo and Paris Saint-Germain. He won the intercontinental cup once, the Libertadores cup twice and the Brazilian league once with Sao Paulo and the French league once, the French Cup twice and the Cup Winners Cup once with Paris Saint-Germain.

Both received the South American Footballer of the Year award once – Socrates in 1983 and Rai in 1992.

The Altintop twins – Halil and Hamit

Germany v Turkey - EURO 2012 Qualifier

Turk Hamit Altintop has been one of the most versatile midfielders in the game in the past 15 years or so. He has even played at right back sometimes. His thundering missiles from long distance have been a feature of his play right through his playing time at Schalke, Bayern Munich and Galatasaray. He has turned out 79 times for Turkey with 7 goals in them. He won 2 Bundesliga titles and 2 German cups in his time with Bayern.

Little is it known, that Hamit has a twin brother Halil, born 10 minutes after him, who plays as either a centre forward or winger. Halil too has played for most of his career in the Bundesliga with Kaiserslautern, Frankfurt and Schalke. He currently is with Trabzonspor in Turkey. He has 38 international caps with 8 goals to show.

The Inzaghis – Filippo and Simone

‘Pippo’ Inzaghi, the master poacher who represented two of Italy’s biggest clubs – Juventus and AC Milan. He turned out for Italy 57 times, netting 25 goals. At Juve, he formed a formidable attacking partnership with Alessandro Del Piero and Zinedine Zidane, scoring 57 goals for the Bianconeri in 4 seasons. The arrival of David Trezeguet instigated his move to rivals Milan where he became a club legend. He retired after playing 11 seasons with Milan post the 2011-12 season, making 202 appearances and scoring 73 goals. ‘Pippo’ won 3 Serie A titles (2 with Milan, 1 with Juve) and 2 Champions League crowns (both with Milan). He was part of the gold medal winning Italy U-21team in 1994 as well as the World Cup winning senior team in 2006.

One of the most prolific goal-scorers of all time, he is 5th overall in Italy, with 313 goals. He is also the second all-time most prolific goal scorer in European club competitions with 70 goals, only beaten by Raúl’s 77 goals, and happens to hold the record for most hat-tricks in Serie A (10), and the Champions League (3, jointly with Michael Owen, Lionel Messi, and Mario Gómez). Filippo is currently the head coach of Milan’s Under-17 team.

The lesser known Inzaghi, Simone played 11 seasons with Lazio during the first decade of the 21st century. He, too, was a striker and scored 28 times for the Eagles. He was restricted to just 3 international caps though and did not win any major titles.

The Da Silva twins – Rafael and Fabio

Manchester United Squad Visit New Jersey

Only 22 and at the beginning of their international careers, both have two caps each to their name. Both are full-backs with Manchester United but while Rafael has grown and broken through into the starting XI at United, Fabio has not enjoyed the same success and spent last season on loan with QPR. Hence, Rafael has 3 Premier League winners’ medals while Fabio has 1. Rafael was also part of the Brazil team that finished runner-up and earned the silver medal at last year’s London Olympics. They have been compared to the Neville brothers of England.

The De Boers – Ronald and Frank

Filer dated 13 April 1997 of Dutch inter

Both brothers were products of the famous Ajax youth academy which, to this day, continues to churn out some of the best talent around. They played together at Ajax, Barcelona and at Rangers in Scotland. Frank was the Netherlands’ most capped player, until Edwin Van der Sar surpassed him. He was a mainstay of the Dutch defence for over a decade. Ronald played 67 times for the country as attacking mid/forward. They were part of the 1995 UEFA Champions League winning Ajax side and also went on to win 5 Eredivisie titles and 1 La Liga with Barcelona. Ronald with Celtic won the Scottish league too once.

Frank is currently the manager of Ajax after being youth team manager between 2007-2010 and also working as assistant to Bert Van Marwijk with the national side.

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Edited by Staff Editor