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Oh Brother, What Sets You Apart?

Jean Baptiste Legouve once said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“A brother is a friend given by nature.”[/perfectpullquote]

I have two older brothers who introduced me to the game of football at the age of four. Most evenings after school, you’d find us in our compound at home playing football.

Our father, an excellent footballer in his day (before a career-ending injury), joined the fun whenever he found us playing. As we grew older, and the number of playmates increased, I soon realized I was better at football than most of them. The boys thought I was cool and would boast about having me as a friend. My confidence grew from a young age.

I made the first team in my freshman year of high school and university. My coach told me my pace and ability to use both feet had earned me a spot on his team on my first day of training. If it weren’t for my brothers letting me play with them, I would have missed out on numerous opportunities. And for that, thank you, Duncan and Desmond!

The game of football breeds competitiveness – whether among friends, teammates, or siblings. Today, we look at the brothers and siblings who have dominated the football scene as teammates – or rivals. Though they may share DNA, there’s always something that sets one sibling apart from the other.



The Ayew Brothers (Getty Images)

Andre and Jordan Ayew are the sons of Abedi Pele, a three-time African Footballer of the Year. The brothers currently play for the Ghana national team. Andre made a switch from Swansea to West Ham this summer while Jordan is playing for the championship side, Aston Villa.

Who’s the better player? This has long been subject to debate. Jordan often lacks self-confidence, but is a proud and competitive player who is working hard to prove his father was right when he had once suggested that he was the most talented of the two.

This has not yet come to pass as Andre has put up more outstanding performances than his younger brother. Perhaps, he has a point to prove, a statement to make, and, as importantly as ever before, a legacy to live up to.




The Toure Brothers (Getty Images)

Yaya and Kolo Toure have been teammates in the Ivory Coast national team and at the club level playing for Manchester City.

Yaya has been the more popular of the two brothers for all the right reasons.  As a young man coming through the ranks, he was compared to Patrick Vieira – a comparison that saw him destined for greatness.

He moved to Manchester City in 2010 to play alongside Kolo. He immediately became instrumental for the “Cityzens,” scoring the lone goal in the 2011 FA Cup final to give Manchester City its first major title in 35 years. The following season, he led the club to its first Premier League championship in 44 years. Yaya has been named African Footballer of the Year three times.

Kolo has had spells at Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool. He currently plays in the centerback role for Celtic. His team will be facing Yaya’s Manchester City in the final leg of the Champions League Round of 32 this December.



The Pogba Brothers (Getty Images)

Paul, Florentin and Mathias Pogba grew up together in Paris but play for different countries. Paul plays for their home country of France while his brothers, Mathias and Florentin, represent their parent’s country of origin, Guinea.

Paul has made over 40 appearances for the French national side. His twin siblings have been less prolific for Guinea, with Florentin winning 14 caps and Mathias featuring twice.

Paul, who ranks as the most expensive player in the world and has yet to justify his price tag, plays for Manchester United as a “box to box” midfielder. Mathias is a striker for Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch Eredivisie. Florentin currently plays as a centerback for French side AS Saint-Étienne.




 The Boateng Brothers (Getty Images)

Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng are among our featured brothers with the fewest attributes in common. Jerome and Kevin-Prince are the first and only siblings to have played against each other at a World Cup tournament.

Jerome currently plays for Germany and Bayern Munich as a defender whereas Kevin-Prince plays for Ghana and Las Palmas as a forward.

Like their differing personalities, these brothers have different playing styles on the field. Of the two, Jerome is calmer. He has more discipline and self-control while Kevin-Prince tends to be more physical and aggressive.

One could call Kevin-Prince the “problem child.” Their father, while describing his sons in an article featured on Spiegel Online, was quoted as saying, “Jerome is punctual and reliable, which is something you can’t really say about Kevin.”

This description was espoused in the same article by their elder brother George Boateng, “Jerome is a perfectionist and a person who lives for success.”

He added, “Everyone calms down when he walks into the room. Kevin is ambitious.”

It comes as no surprise that Jerome appears to be doing much better than his brother Kevin-Prince on and off the field.


The Matip Brothers (AFP Photo/Norbert Schmidt)


Joel Matip and Marvin Matip are Cameroon internationals who share a close relationship and the love of the game. Both play in centerback position for their respective clubs. The two were known as the Bundesliga brothers back when Joel was still at Schalke and Marvin Matip at Ingolstadt.

Joel made the move to the Meyerside outfit Liverpool in January 2016 and has been Klopp’s defensive lynchpin. His reputation as the “king of positional play” (he has the anticipation and speed to be in the right position first) explains why he rarely picked up yellow cards while in the Bundesliga. Joel has continued his style of play at Liverpool. The most intriguing statistic last Saturday against Southampton was that Matip didn’t attempt a single tackle. Not one. Why? He never needed to.

Marvin is now captain of Ingolstadt.



The Aluko Siblings (Getty Images)

Sone and Eniola Aluko are a brother-sister pair. Eniola, the Chelsea Ladies player, qualified lawyer, and England international forward, is the older sister of Sone, the Fulham striker.

They are both Nigerian but play for different countries. Sone played for England at all levels up to U19 before opting to play for Nigeria. Eniola still plays for England.

Eniola is comfortable playing out wide or through the middle as the central striker. Her pace, finishing ability, and creativity make her a key member of the Chelsea Ladies squad. Her pace amd work rate is a trait she shares with her brother who was entrusted with the number 10 position by Slavisa Jokanovic for these reasons.

Eniola has won FA WSL 1 2015 and FA Women’s Cup 2015 with Chelsea. Meanwhile, Sone was recently named the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for October 2016. With an accomplished older sister like Eniola, Sone has an awful lot to live up to.


Many footballers have older brothers or relatives who play, or have played, the beautiful game. This often gives them something to work toward or even a legacy to live up to. However, it’s not unusual for the younger generation to play, work on their craft, and outshine their elders like: Yaya Toure, Joel Matip, Paul Pogba, and Jerome Boateng. These footballers have shown that there’s more to success than DNA alone. They have made a name for themselves based on the unique attributes they bring on the pitch.


Featured PhotoFlorentin, Paul and Mathias Pogba(Courtesy of  betting runner )

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