Six soccer sons who failed spectacularly to match their father’s achievements; Beckham, Best...

Sharing a name with a world-renowned soccer player comes with certain expectations. For many, the name on the back of the jersey proved to be more of a burden than a gift.

Whether it be the Mayweathers in boxing, the Molinas in baseball or the Williams sisters in tennis, it's not an unfamiliar sight to see a family all involved in a single sport. And when such sporting ability runs in the family, it's only natural for their children to follow in their footsteps.

A lucky few go on to achieve their dreams and emulate the success of their parents, but for some, the unrelenting pressure that comes with the family name proved too much.

Planet Sport take a look at six soccer players who, for whatever reason, failed to live up to their father's achievements.

Brooklyn Beckham

David Beckham's illustrious soccer career saw him score 129 goals across five different countries, creating a legacy which is recognised in every corner of the world.

His good looks paired with world-class ability propelled him to the status of a superstar, making the name Beckham one of the most recognisable brands across the globe.

Even since his retirement in 2013, Beckham has continued to be a significant figure in the sport thanks to his involvement and part-ownership of Inter Miami. But while Beckham's playing career came to a close, all eyes eagerly turned towards Beckham's sons. In particular his eldest, Brooklyn.

Being the son of David Beckham did not translate into a glittering soccer career for Brooklyn Beckham
Being the son of David Beckham did not translate into a glittering soccer career for Brooklyn Beckham

Born in 1999, Brooklyn grew up watching his father in the limelight and naturally followed suit. He trained with his father's former club LA Galaxy as well as having a trial at Paris Saint-Germain before moving on to Arsenal's academy where he was released aged 15.

Despite not actually playing a professional match, Brooklyn's soccer-playing career received a mass amount of media attention, although perhaps that's not surprising when your parents are David and Victoria Beckham and your godfather is Elton John.

David and his son did get a chance to share the same pitch in the 2015 Unicef charity match where many thought they were getting a glimpse of a future star. However, in spite of his privileged grounding in the game, Brooklyn has failed to forge a soccer career.

Brooklyn may have fallen short of emulating his father's sporting achievements, but he has since followed in his mother's footsteps, embarking on a string of modelling and fashion assignments.

Calum Best

Son to one of the greatest soccer players to ever grace the game, Calum Best had big boots to fill. Not only was his father, George Best, one of the greatest players in history, but he was also known for his outgoing charm and playboy lifestyle.

His lifestyle attracted the attention of the media and millions around the world knew him by 'El Beatle' after the famous English band. Best could captivate just as well off the field as he could on it, as a string of lovers, including a former Miss World, would testify.

Playing-wise, Best was best known for his 11 years at Manchester United where he scored 137 goals and won numerous trophies including the European Cup in 1968.

As his career wound down, Best had multiple stints in the United States, spending time playing for the Los Angeles Aztecs as well as the San Jose Earthquakes, and it was there he welcomed the birth of his son, Calum.

With Best's personal life constantly under the media microscope it was no surprise that many looked to Calum to continue his father's soccer-playing heritage. However, Calum's sporting career never materialised and he instead turned towards reality TV and modelling, starring in shows such as Celebrity Big Brother.

His soccer ability has been showcased occasionally, most notably in charity matches such as the 'My Tribute' match he organised in his father's honour in 2019. But as far as playing competitively is concerned, the nearest he has got is a casual kickaround with local five-a-side team, White City Boys, where he keeps his celebrity status under wraps.

While still proving to be passionate about the game, it is undeniable that Calum failed to live up to his father's legendary status.


Widely regarded as the best player to ever play the sport, Pele was an unstoppable goal machine. With three World Cups and over 600 goals to his name, he has become a global sporting icon and was named World Player of the Century in 1999.

Pele burst onto the soccer scene at 15 years old when he started playing for Brazilian club Santos. After impressing in his first season, he was called up to the national team just ten months after his professional debut.

It was at Santos that Pele propelled himself to stardom, going on to become the club's all-time top goalscorer. The goals didn't dry up for Pele on the international stage either. He still leads the goalscoring charts for Brazil to this day with 77 goals in 92 games.

Pele and son Edinho in the United States in 1977
Pele and son Edinho in the United States in 1977

In 1970, towards the end of Pele's time at Santos, he welcomed the birth of his first-born son, Edinho. Just seven years later, after a two-year stint at the New York Cosmos, Pele announced his retirement and the world was left craving a new soccer superstar.

Following in his father's footsteps, Edinho began his soccer career at Santos aged 20. However, despite being the son of one of the greatest ever goalscorers, Edinho opted to stop goals rather than score them, donning the keeper's gloves.

He failed to replicate his father's legacy at Santos, making just 24 appearances before moving on to Portuguesa Santista in 1991. He eventually made a return to the club later in his career but failed to break into the Brazilian squad and eventually decided upon retirement in 1999, aged 29.

Edinho, son of Pele, has gone into coaching
Edinho, son of Pele, has gone into coaching

Following his retirement, Edinho continued to be involved in the sport, taking up multiple coaching jobs including his current role as Under-23 manager at Santos.

Despite managing to play at a professional level, Edinho will always be living in the shadow of his father's soccer legacy.

Jonathan Klinsmann

Not many can boast about their father's World Cup medal, but for Jonathan Klinsmann that was just one of many titles his father, Jurgen, won during his prestigious career.

Known for his goalscoring ability, Jurgen enjoyed successful spells at a string of Europe's major clubs including Inter MilanTottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich. In total, the German racked up 232 goals in his club career.

In 1997, while Jurgen was winding down his playing career, his son Jonathan was born. Jonathan spent a lot of his childhood in California while his father ventured into coaching.

Jonathan Klinsmann has decided to play at the opposite end of the pitch to his famous father Jurgen
Jonathan Klinsmann has decided to play at the opposite end of the pitch to his famous father Jurgen

Jurgen's time in management saw him lead his home country Germany to a third-placed finish in the 2006 World Cup as well as taking the USMNT to the round of 16 in 2014.

Jurgen was also no stranger to working with his family and frequently asked for help from his older brother who trained as a decathlete. With such coaching ability within the Klinsmann family, hopes were high for Jonathan's soccer career.

Jonathan started out at FC Blades 96 and at an early age looked as though he would follow in his father's goalscoring footsteps as a striker. But following a move to Bayern Munich's youth academy in 2008, Jonathan strayed from that path and transitioned to goalkeeper.

Despite still only being 23 years old, Jonathan has not shown too many signs of emulating his father's sporting success, making just 24 appearances at Hertha Berlin.

Jonathan looks as though he will be another soccer son who failed to live up to their father's success. However, in 2020 he made the switch to LA Galaxy and there may still be time to turn things around.


Famous for his breathtaking skills and creativity, Rivaldo was one of the best players of his generation, winning the Ballon D'or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999.

Rivaldo spent his prime years at Barcelona where he scored 86 goals for the Catalan side. In the same period he won the 2002 World Cup, scoring in five of Brazil's seven games, helping him go on to become his country's seventh highest goalscorer.

At this point his son, Rivaldinho, was seven years old and was watching his father at the peak of his game. He began his own soccer career at the age of 19 when he joined the same Brazilian club his father was playing for, Mogi Mirim.

It was at Mogi Mirim that there looked to be a symbolic handing over of the baton. During a 3-1 win over Macae in Serie B both he and his father were among the goals, with Rivaldinho scoring twice.

But the following season, following his father's retirement, Rivaldinho's career suffered its first setback as he was restricted to just one appearance for Portuguese side Boavista.

He is now in Poland, representing Cracovia, already the ninth club for the wandering 25-year-old.

Forging a professional career is no mean feat, but it is fair to say that many were expecting much more of the son of a Ballon D'or and World Cup winner

Diego Sinagra

Born as a result of one of legendary soccer player Diego Maradona's affairs, Sinagra had a rocky relationship with his father.

Sinagra was born in 1986, the year Maradona captained the Argentina national team to World Cup success. At the time, Maradona was at the peak of his career at Napoli, where he went on to score 81 goals in 188 games.

Maradona was known for his magical performances on the pitch but was never shy of controversy and was often criticised for his off-field antics. This controversy continued when it came to the birth of his son, with Maradona only openly recognising Sinagra as his child in 2007.

Yet even without the guidance of his father, their physical resemblance was undeniable, as was Diego Jr's ability which led to him join the youth squad of his father's former club Napoli at the age of 11.

The progress continued as he went on to represent Italy's Under-17 side. Playing as a striker, many believed he had the ability to emulate the achievements of his father.

Diego Sinagra has big boots to fill in the shape of his father, Diego Maradona
Diego Sinagra has big boots to fill in the shape of his father, Diego Maradona

But 2008 saw a big shift for both Maradona and his son. While Maradona took on the task of managing his beloved Argentina, Sinagra turned his back on the 11-a-side game.

After enduring an injury-stricken spell in Italy's Serie D, Sinagra decided enough was enough and swapped turf for sand. He joined Italy's national beach soccer team and helped them qualify for the Beach Soccer World Cup, a competition in which they would go on to narrowly lose to Brazil in the final.

Diego, now with Maradona Jr on the back of his jersey, has continued his career in beach soccer, most recently playing for Lazio.

However, no amount of success on the sand will convince us that Sinagra's soccer CV is anything other than a crushing disappointment in the wake of his father's glorious career.

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