Seven soccer sons, including Gio Reyna, Daniel Maldini, Kai Rooney, who could outshine their parents

They have big boots to fill but the signs are that these young offspring could go on to be even better than their famous fathers.

It's a sign of getting old when a player comes through and you say 'I remember his father'. Planet Sport dons its dressing gown and slippers and looks at seven emerging talents with the potential to eclipse their parents' achievements.

Giovanni Reyna

As if living up to one parent's achievements wasn't enough, Gio Reyna comes from a soccer family which saw his grandfather, father and mother play the sport professionally.

At the tender age of 17, Gio packed his bags and moved to Germany to play in the youth team for Borussia Dortmund. After spending just one impressive year in the academy, Gio broke through to the first team and has since gone on to become a regular, earning him the accolade of US Soccer's Young Male Player of the Year for 2020.

But moving to mainland Europe wasn't unfamiliar for the Reyna family. Gio's father, Claudio, followed a very similar career path of his own, moving to Germany aged 21 to play for Bayer Leverkusen.

Claudio was known as a midfielder with great technical ability, and his talents saw him become captain of the US men's national team for whom he made 112 appearances.

Claudio Reyna, pictured in 2006 playing for Manchester City
Claudio Reyna, pictured in 2006 playing for Manchester City

And while Claudio's technique was passed down to Gio, the key to his great potential is the combination of talent that he inherited from both parents.

Gio's mother, Danielle, was also a professional soccer player who turned out for the North Carolina Tar Heels while also making six appearances for the USA women's national team.

Danielle's frightening speed on the wing paired with Claudio's technical skill has proved to be a remarkable recipe for a kid with world-class potential.

At just 18 years of age, Reyna is considered one of the most exciting talents in soccer and definitely has the tools to surpass the achievements of not just his father, but his entire sporting family.

Timothy Weah

For Timothy to surpass his father's achievements it's going to require nothing short of a spectacular career. After becoming the first and only African player to win the Ballon D'or, George Weah's career made shockwaves throughout the sporting world and has solidified his legacy as one of world soccer's best ever players.

George's career started in his home country Liberia, the nation he now serves as president. After a three-year stint in Africa, George's talent impressed none other than Arsene Wenger who was managing Monaco at the time.

After making the switch to France, Weah enjoyed successful spells at both Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, winning multiple club honours as well as being named African Player of the Year twice.

In 1995, Weah made the switch to AC Milan where his world-class ability led him to winning the Ballon D'or.

After retiring in 2003, the Weah legacy was passed down to his son Timothy who has not shown any signs of being cowed by the family name.

Timothy started his youth career in the US, playing for the New York Red Bulls, but after initially having trials with Chelsea, he moved to his father's old club Paris Saint-Germain in 2014.

After progressing through the academy ranks, Timothy broke into the PSG first team in 2017.

After a brief loan to Celtic, Timothy made a permanent switch to Lille where he has cemented his place in the first-team squad.

Despite his father's legacy, Timothy's bright start to his career has marked him out as potential star, and at just 21 years old, who knows how much he can go on to achieve?

Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford with his son Kai after the final whistle
Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford with his son Kai after the final whistle

Kai Rooney

As the current leading goalscorer of England and Manchester United, to surpass the achievements of Wayne Rooney it would require a player worthy of being one of the world's best.

But putting pen to paper and signing your first contract at Manchester United aged 11 is certainly not a bad start to the soccer career of Wayne's eldest son, Kai.

Should the day come that Kai makes his professional debut for Manchester United, it'll be a tough task to replicate his father's achievements in his first appearance. Rooney's hat-trick of goals in a 6-2 win over Fenerbahce set him on his way to achieving legendary status.

After 13 illustrious years and a record-breaking 253 goals for the Red Devils, United fans will be waiting with bated breath to see their first glimpse of another Rooney in the famous red shirt.

And with Wayne recently taking his playing experiences into management at Derby County, in future years we could even see him coaching his son from the sidelines.

Erling Haaland

Despite being born in Norway, Erling's father Alf-Inge Haaland made his name playing soccer in England. After moving to Nottingham Forest aged 21, Alf-Inge adapted to the English game with ease and after impressing in his 75 appearances for the Tricky Trees, he eventually made the switch to Leeds United.

During his time at Leeds, Alf-Inge helped his side to a UEFA Cup semi-final berth and also welcomed the birth of his son, Erling.

Just three years after the birth of Erling, Alf-Inge's career in England came to an end while playing for Manchester City when a tackle from Roy Keane left him with a long-term knee injury.

After failing to return to full fitness, Alf-Inge saw out his playing career with a handful of appearances for Norwegian club Rosseland BK. And as he came to the twilight of his career, all eyes turned to the emergence of his son.

Erling Haaland and his father Alf-Inge
Erling Haaland and his father Alf-Inge

Erling started his career playing in Norway, initially for his father's ex-club Byrne before breaking through the ranks at an Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-led Molde.

But it was Erling's permanent switch to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in 2019 that helped him grab the attention of the global soccer powerhouses.

His performances in the Champions League saw him score seven goals in his first four appearances in the competition, including a debut hat-trick against Genk and a goal against Liverpool at Anfield, a feat his father once achieved during his time at Leeds United.

Erling's free-scoring form propelled him to one of the most valuable talents in world soccer and after being the subject of numerous transfer rumours, Borussia Dortmund eventually triggered his £20million release clause and secured his signing in January 2020.

With Haaland now averaging more than a goal a game at Borussia Dortmund you could argue that he has already surpassed his father's achievements. And at just 20, his best years remain ahead of him.

Justin Kluivert

Just 22 years apart, both members of the Kluivert father-and-son duo started their careers at their hometown club, Ajax. At the age of 18, Justin's father, Patrick, had already enjoyed his share of the limelight after scoring the winning goal in the 1995 Champions League final.

Fast forward to 2017 and an 18-year-old Justin Kluivert saw his Ajax team qualify for the Europa League final. But after being an unused substitute in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, Justin saw the chance to emulate his father's European success slip away.

But despite this early setback, Justin continued to impress at Ajax and went on to eventually make 44 appearances for the Amsterdam side, scoring 12 goals in the process.

Following in his father's footsteps, Justin's time at Ajax came to an end when he completed a transfer to Italy in 2018. But while Patrick's switch saw him join AC Milan, Justin secured a move to Roma where he has since managed to nail down a place in the first team.

It was Patrick's next move that really cemented his status as one of Europe's best talents. His move to Barcelona in 1998 saw him link up with fellow striker, Rivaldo, and the pair fired the Catalan side to the league title in 1999.

Patrick Kluivert in action for the Netherlands
Patrick Kluivert in action for the Netherlands

Justin has yet to catch up to his father's achievements, but having caught the eye of coaches all around Europe, his potential is undeniable. At just 21 years of age and already a Netherlands international, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Justin goes on to surpass his father.

Daniel Maldini

Daniel is the latest generation of the Maldini family to play for AC Milan. Both his father, Paolo, and his grandfather, Cesare, were captains of the Italian side and won multiple league and European titles during their careers.

But whereas both generations before him were commanding, physical defenders, Daniel has decided upon a different path as an attacking midfielder.

With his father and grandfather racking up nearly 1,000 appearances but only 32 goals between them for AC Milan, Daniel might not have too much of a problem beating their goal tally. However, to compete with their honour's list might be a bit more of a tough task.

In Paolo's legendary 25-year career at Milan, he won seven Serie A titles and five Champions League crowns, making him one of the most successful players to ever grace the sport.

Undaunted by the challenge, Daniel advanced through the ranks at Milan and made his first-team debut in February 2020 as a substitute in a 1-1 draw against Hellas Verona.

While even matching the achievements of his father is a huge challenge, the same could also have been said for Paolo. And, after experiencing a positive start to his Milan career, the signs are that Daniel can add another glorious chapter to the Maldini legacy.

Ianis Hagi

Ianis' father, Gheorghe was not just an outstanding soccer player, but is also widely considered the best sportsmen to ever derive from Romania. For Ianis to top this feat, it would require him to become a national icon. But with youth on his side and a flying start to his professional career, he certainly hasn't backed down to the challenge.

During the 1980s and 90s, Gheorghe Hagi was widely considered one of the best players in the world. As a talented attacking midfielder with a keen eye for goal, Gheorghe's talents in Romania quickly caught the attention of scouts across Europe, and in 1990, Real Madrid captured his signature.

During his time in Spain, Gheorge became one of the few players in history to play for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, spending two years at each club, respectively.

After his stint in Spain, Gheorge enhanced his legacy playing in Turkey for Galatasaray. Known as 'Comandante' (The Commander) he notched 59 goals in 132 appearances for the Turkish giants.

And while in Turkey, Gheorghe welcomed the birth of his son Ianis, who at the age of 22 is already well on his way to emulating his father.

After starting his career at the academy his father built in Romania, Ianis broke through to make his first-team debut for Vitorul Costanta aged just 16.

An unsuccessful move abroad to Fiorentina in 2016 saw him make just two appearances before returning to play for the Romanian club.

Two years later, Ianis made the switch to Genk before being loaned out to Rangers to play under Steven Gerrard. After impressing in his initial six-month loan, Rangers were keen to sign him permanently and he has since continued to make a name for himself in Scotland.

His impressive form with the runaway Scottish Premier League leaders has seen Ianis establish himself as a regular in the  Romania national side. However, he has some way to go to catch his father's record-breaking 35 goals for the nation - he has yet to score from Romania in 18 appearances.

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