John Rooney, younger brother of a certain Wayne.

Footballers who can never escape the shadow of their famous brother

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We’re all well acquainted with famous footballing siblings such as the Nevilles, de Boers and Laudrups, but what about those families with a slightly more lopsided level of footballing success?

GiveMeSport takes a look at brothers who haven’t been able to escape the shadow of their more illustrious siblings.

John Rooney

Five years Wayne’s junior, John followed in his brother’s footsteps when he joined the academy of the blue half of Merseyside as a young centre-forward.


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Heartbreak followed when he was released before reaching his teenage years, at the same time as his older brother was making his first team debut as a 16-year-old.

His luck improved, however, as he was eventually snapped up by Macclesfield Town, where he played professionally for four years making more than 40 appearances, but averaging a measly one goal a season.

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He went on to try his luck in the MLS with brief stints at New York Red Bulls – where he was a teammate of Thierry Henry - and Orlando City. After struggling to make an impact though, he returned closer to home and signed for Chester FC in the National League.

At 24-years-old, John is currently in the best form of his career having converted to a midfielder and recently scoring a stunning free-kick in the cross-border derby against Wrexham.

With Irish grandparents, John harbours hopes of international recognition, but with just 24 goals so far in his career, it seems a long way off and it will take some doing if he is to face England captain Wayne, who has a current tally of 303 career goals.

Middle brother Graeme is also a footballer currently playing at amateur level in the Liverpool County Premier League.

Paulo Suarez

Paulo, older brother of Barcelona superstar Luis, currently plays in Guatemala with first division side, Comunicaciones. He has spent most of his career playing in the top divisions in Uruguay and El Salvador.

FC Barcelona v Villarreal CF - La Liga

Unlike Luis, he has managed to avoid controversy in his career, that is, until earlier this year when he was embroiled in allegations of match-fixing.

It was alleged that in 2012 he was one of nine players who agreed to gift Pumas an 8-0 victory against his side, Isidro Metapan, for which they each supposedly received $10,000. Suarez denied the accusations.

Chris Cahill

Playing most of his career in his country of birth, Australia, for second-tier Sydney-based side St George FC, Chris could have theoretically played against his older brother Tim at international level.

Initially, both brothers were called up to the Samoa national youth side as teens, with Tim using the all-expenses paid trip primarily as an opportunity to visit his sick grandmother.

Australia v Bangladesh - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification

For Chris on the other hand, it led to a few full caps and the honour of captaining Samoa. Tim would later go on to represent Australia after FIFA rule changes allowed him to switch allegiance.

Unfortunately, unlike the Boateng brothers at the 2010 World Cup, they never did meet on the international stage.

Paul Terry

Recently retired elder brother of one of the UK's most infamous footballers, John; Paul struggled to mirror the success of his younger brother, with the majority of his career spent at Dagenham & Redbridge and Yeovil Town.

Paul’s personal life, however, has followed an eerily similar route to John’s. He was also the centre of negative media attention in 2010 as news spread of his relationship with the fiancée of his team-mate, Dale Roberts, whilst playing for Rushden & Diamonds.

One member of Roberts’ family said at the time: “They say every family has a black sheep – the Terrys must have a flock.”

Tragically, Roberts committed suicide in 2011 after persistent injury problems and continued struggles in his personal life.

Mathias and Florentin Pogba

Whilst Paul, the youngest of the three brothers, solidifies his position as one of the best young midfielders in the world, 25-year-old twins Mathias and Florentin have also built a career in the sport.

Pescara Calcio v Frosinone - Serie B

The more successful, Florentin, currently marshals the defence of St. Etienne having recently been linked with a move to Aston Villa.

While Mathias has recently transferred from Crawley Town to Partick Thistle in the Scottish Premiership.

Both twins have caps for Guinea, via their African-born parents.

Mikel Alonso

The older brother of Spain and Bayern Munich superstar Xabi, Mikel has spent much of his career in Spain with two brief stints in England.

He began his career at Real Sociedad alongside Xabi, but was restricted to substitute appearances until his older brother left to sign for Liverpool, giving him his chance to impress.

After a good run in Spain, he decided to try to emulate his brother’s success in England and signed for Bolton, but only made a handful of appearances before returning to his homeland with Tenerife.

Fulham v Bolton Wanderers - Carling Cup

After back-to-back relegations, he again tried his luck in England with Charlton in League One but failed to make a competitive appearance in the year he spent there. At 35-years-old, he has now retreated to the third division in Spain with Real Union.

Jonas Hummels

Like many of the siblings on this list, Jonas and his older brother Mats signed for the same club - German giants Bayern Munich - as kids.

Unfortunately for fellow centre-back Jonas, he was released at the age of 16, whilst Mats - though also deemed surplus to requirements - was sold to Borussia Dortmund for €4 million, before eventually becoming club captain.


Jonas penned a contract with third division side SpVgg Unterhaching – a club more famous for its Olympic-winning bobsleigh side – but was faced with disappointment as the team inadvertently mirrored its sister side, quickly sliding down to the fourth division.

Jonas did, however, become the youngest ever club captain at age 21, showing leadership runs in the family.

Stephen Jagielka

Stephen is the 37-year-old brother of current Everton captain, Phil.

He began his career at Stoke City, but after failing to make a first-team appearance, he dropped down a few levels and never returned to the same level as his younger brother.

Having spent the majority of his career at Shrewsbury Town, he left after their relegation from the football league.

Stephen Jagielka

Stephen had a brief spell alongside Phil whilst on loan at Sheffield United, but failed to make as big of an impression as his younger sibling. He went on to sign for Accrington Stanley before eventually dropping down to the regional divisions.

Stephen currently runs his own plumbing business whilst struggling to plug the holes in the Ellesmere Rangers defence at the weekend.

Rodney Sneijder

Rodney, a full seven years younger than famous Galatasaray midfielder Wesley, kicked off his career at Dutch giants Ajax in the youth side - just as his brother had - before signing for FC Utrecht on loan.

He was unlucky not to be offered a contract with Utrecht, but secured a deal with Dutch second division side RKC Waalwijk, then managed by Erwin Koeman, the brother of current Southampton manager Ronald.

After starting brightly, injury problems forced him to move to division rivals Almere City where his fitness woes continued.

Willem II v RKC Waalwijk - Eredivisie

He was heavily tipped to join his brother at Galatasaray earlier this year but instead made a surprise signing for Scottish Premiership side Dundee United, having decided he needed to emerge from his brother's shadow by playing elsewhere.

There was to be no luck for Rodney in Scotland however, and his contract was terminated by mutual consent, having played only one game. It was reported he had contracted a viral infection and returned to his native Holland for treatment where he has recently launched his own clothing brand - 10 official.

At 24-years-old, Rodney still has a chance of a career at a high level if he can overcome illness and injury.

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Luis Suarez
Premier League
Mats Hummels
John Terry
Paul Pogba
Phil Jagielka
Wesley Sneijder
Xabi Alonso
Wayne Rooney
Tim Cahill

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