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Football: Five greatest footballing brothers

Football talent can run in families, but it is not always fathers passing their abilities on to their sons or daughters. Sometimes brothers can both rise to the top of the game and enjoy successful careers in the game.

Here are five of football’s most famous and successful brothers.

Jack and Bobby Charlton

The most famous set of footballing brothers are the Charltons, who were both members of the England team who won the World Cup in 1966.

Jack Charlton, one of the few members of Sir Alf Ramsey's team to go on and enjoy a successful managerial career, was the elder by two-and-half years and played 629 games for Leeds between 1952 and 1973.

He took Ireland to the World Cup in 1990 and 1994 and died at the age of 85 in July 2020.

His younger brother is one of the most famous players of all-time, a survivor of the Munich air crash in 1958, and the joint second-highest England goalscorer with 49 goals from 106 internationals.

Bobby, who was knighted in 1994, scored 199 goals for Manchester United in 606 appearances and also scored two goals in their 4-1 victory over Benfica in the 1968 European Cup final.

Gary and Phil Neville

Gary and Phil Neville both came through the youth system at Manchester United and forged successful careers, despite both being promising cricketers in their youth.

Right-back Gary, the elder by two years, played 400 games for United and was capped 85 times for England. Now one of the most opinionated and respected TV analysts of the game following a short  unsuccessful spell as manager of La Liga side Valencia, he also owns League Two Salford City in a joint business venture with his brother and his former United team-mates Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

Phil, who featured at either right or left-back and sometimes in midfield, left Old Trafford in 2005 after making 263 appearances and joined Everton, where he went on to play another 242 games before retiring in 2013.

He went on to manage the England women's team who lost to the USA in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup and then became boss of MLS side Inter Miami.

In what is a very sporting family, Phil's twin sister Tracey is a former netball international who was also coach of the England national team.

Michael and Brian Laudrup

Even among a galaxy of top players from the last 40 years, Michael and Brian Laudrup will go down as two of the most talented ever to have played for Denmark.

Michael, who scored a classic World Cup goal in their 6-1 win over Uruguay at the 1986 World Cup, has an illustrious CV, winning league titles with Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona, where he claimed a European Cup winners medal when Johan Curyff’s side beat Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

He scored 37 goals in 104 appearances for the national team and also had an 18-month spell as manager of Swansea.

His were deep boots to fill but Brian, five years his junior, did an excellent job. He moved to Bayern Munich from Brondby for a Bundesliga record fee in 1990 and was part of the Danish team that won the 1992 European Championship after they gained the spot at the last minute as a result of war in Yugoslavia.

Brian will also be fondly remembered by Rangers fans as he scored 33 goals in 116 appearances for the Ibrox club.

Kolo and Yaya Toure

Two brothers from the Ivory Coast can be considered among the best African players to have graced the Premier League in recent years.

Kolo Toure made more than 300 appearances for Arsenal and was an integral part of the 'Invincibles' team who, under Arsene Wenger, won the Premier League title in 2003-04 without losing a game.

He moved to Manchester City in 2009 and was joined by his younger brother Yaya a year later, who signed from Barcelona, where he had won the Champions League the previous season.

Kolo went to Liverpool in 2013 but Yaya remained at the Etihad for another five years, winning two Premier League crowns before joining Olympiacos in 2018

Frank and Ronald De Boer

The De Boer twins, who celebrate their 52nd birthdays on Sunday, played most of their careers together, coming through the ranks at Ajax where they won five Eredivisie titles and also the Champions League in 1995 when Patrick Kluivert's goal was enough to beat Milan in the final in Vienna.

The pair were then signed by their former manager Louis van Gaal when he took the Barcelona job in 1999 and they also went on to play together at Rangers and in the Middle East.

Ronald had a brief stint as assistant manager of the Qatar Under-23 team, but Frank's managerial career has been extensive.
He spent six years in charge at Ajax before spells in charge at Inter Milan, Crystal Palace and also as boss of Atlanta United in MLS.

He took the Netherlands to Euro 2020, but he was sacked after they were knocked out of the last-16 stage by the Czech Republic.

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