Right from the Nevilles to the Laudrups, we have gone globe-trotting to look at the most famous brother pairings to have played international football for their countries. And this is the concluding part of our mini series – “International Football’s Band of Brothers.”
The De Jongs – Luuk and Siem
Siem, the elder, has played 4 times for the Dutch national team scoring twice; this after coming through steadfastly at the Under-17, Under-19, Under-21 and Netherlands B teams. He is the club captain of Ajax where he has been a prolific scorer with 50 goals in 148 appearances and has won 3 consecutive Eredivisie titles.
Brother Luuk has 3 more caps at the international level and currently plays for Borussia Monchengladbach where he moved last summer after 3 years with FC Twente where he won the Eredivisie in 2009-10.
The Benders – Lars and Sven
Of he Bender twins – Lars and Sven – one plays for Bayer Leverkusen and the other plies his trade with Borussia Dortmund, runners-up in this year’s Champions League. Lars and Sven are both midfielders and started their careers with 1860 Munchen before going to Leverkusen and Dortmund respectively. The twins have represented Germany at every level – the Under-17’s, Under-19’s, Under-20’s, Under-21’s and Senior level. Sven has 4 senior caps while Lars has 14 with 3 goals to boot. They were part of the side that won the 2008 European Under-19 Championship.
The Charltons – Sir Bobby and Jack
Just like how the Koemans won the Euro together, so did the Charltons; except that it was the World Cup that they won in 1966 on home soil, England’s lone triumph to date.
Sir Bobby is a Manchester United legend, having played all but 2 seasons of his football as a player with the Red Devils. Regarded by many as one of the best midfielders to have ever played the game, Sir Bobby was a midfield maestro who ran the show for United with great passing. He was also a great shooter from distance. The England legend was a survivor from the Munich air crash that claimed the lives of many of the famed ‘Busby babes’ of United. He went on to win 3 First Division titles, 1 FA Cup and that famous European Cup triumph in 1968. His performances at the World Cup in 1966 got him the Golden Ball award for best player as well as the Ballon d’Or. He is currently a director with Manchester United.
Brother Jack played for the other United – Leeds. While Sir Bobby was the beating heart of United in midfield, Jack shored up the backline as a powerful centre-back and was part of the successful Leeds sides of the 1960’s and early 70’s. In comparison to his brother’s 106, Jack was capped only 35 times, but the defensive partnership he forged with England captain Bobby Moore was instrumental in their title run in ’66. Much like Sir Bobby, Jack too was a one-club man; he spent each of his 11 seasons at Elland Road, winning the First Division and FA Cup once. He enjoyed some brief seasons in management at Middlesbrough and Newcastle United, but really hit it big with the Republic of Ireland whom he managed for 10 years between 1986-1996.During that time, Ireland qualified for the Euros in 1988 and also qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 1990.
The Berezutsky twins – Aleksei and Vasili
The 2 twins even have identical footballing careers. Both of them defenders, they started off at Torpedo-ZIL and then made the move to CSKA Moscow where they continue to play currently. Aleksei has 261 appearances for CSKA with 5 goals, while Vasili has played 252 times and scored 6 goals. Vasili, though, has more international caps with 70 caps for Russia to his brother’s 51. They have jointly have 1 UEFA Super Cup to their name along with 4 Russian league titles and the bronze medal from the 2008 European Championships.
The Militos – Diego and Gabriel
Diego, at 34, is still playing and is a lead striker for Inter Milan. He has however missed a good part of the season due to injury. The 2009-10 was his best when his prolific scoring helped Inter to a historic treble winning the Serie A, the Italian Cup and the Champions League. Nicknamed ‘El Principe’ (The Prince), Diego has 24 international caps and was voted the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year as well as the Serie A Footballer of the Year in the 2009-10 season.
Gabriel has 42 caps, but is now retired despite being 2 years younger. He too played at Zaragoza from where they got their big moves – Diego moved to Inter while Gabriel moved to Barcelona. He won 1 Champions League and 2 La Liga titles with the Catalans. He did win the Spanish Cup once with Zaragoza earlier.
The Olssons – Martin and Marcus
The Olsson twins (not Ashley and Mary-Kate) represent Sweden and both play for English club Blackburn Rovers which is owned by the Venky’s franchise owners. Martin, who plays left-back or left midfield, has 15 caps for Sweden, 13 more than his brother. The two of them usually play in front of each other, at left-back and left midfield, and that flank has hence come to be known as the ‘Olsson flank’. German NBA star Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks is their brother-in-law.
The Baresis – Franco and Giuseppe
One Milan legend. One Inter legend.
These 2 are as one club as they get. Franco played all 25 years of his career with AC Milan, including 5 of his youth years. Giuseppe did the same with Inter, spending 21 seasons there; it was only in the fag end of his career that he had 2 years with Modena.
Franco is considered one of the greatest defenders of all time. He was a sweeper, who won 3 Champions League titles, 6 Serie A titles, 4 Supercoppas, 3 European Super Cups and 2 Intercontinental Cups. In 1999, he was voted the AC Milan Player of the Century by the Giallorossi. He has coached the Under-19 and Under-20 teams of Milan too. He played 82 times for Italy and won the 1982 World Cup with the Azzuri.
Giuseppe didn’t have the same success with Italy; he only played 18 times. But he had a stellar club career with Inter, winning 2 Scudettos, 2 Coppa Italias and 1 Supercoppa in his 16 senior seasons with the club. He is currently the assistant manager of the Inter first team.