Football siblings are pretty well known. The Charlton, the Nevilles, the Laudrups and so on. But what about football twins? Less so, perhaps? Wouldn’t you just love a list of some of the best twins to have played football? Well, you’re in the right place. So, without any further ado, here is a list of ten of the best sets of twins to have graced our glorious game.
Frank & Ronald de Boer
There isn’t really a better place to start an article about football twins than those who have set the benchmark for every pair of twins thinking about lacing up each other’s boots. Ronald was the older twin; Frank was the better one. They played together at five club’s: Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers, Al-Rayyan and Al-Shamal. Together at Ajax they won five Eredivisie titles and the Champions League; La Liga at Barcelona; while Ronald also won five trophies in Scotland. They have a combined 179 caps for Holland (112 of those belonging to Frank), and both scored 13 times for their country.
Rene & Willy van de Kerkhof
Staying in Holland, with more double Dutch, it’s the van de Kerkhof’s. A generation before, and PSV’s answer to the de Boer’s, the VDK’s were a major part of both PSV and Holland’s success during the 70s. Rene appeared in the 1974 World Cup, which included being a substitute in the final (though Willy was also in the squad for the tournament) and is the more celebrated of the two. However, it was arguably Willy who enjoyed the better career – with 63 caps for Holland compared to his brother’s 47; and over 500 games played for PSV. Together at PSV the pair won three Eredivisie titles. One of these arrived in 1978, when they also won the Dutch Cup, the Uefa Cup, and both played in the 1978 World Cup final – which they were to lose to Argentina.
Ebbe & Peter Sand
It’s said that fans used to chant ‘you look like Ebbe Sand’ to his twin brother Peter. Sadly for Peter, while he may have shared Ebbe’s looks, he did not match him in terms of talent or success. Ebbe would go on to play in World Cup’s; win the Danish Superliga on three occasions with Brondby; German Cups with Schalke; be top scorer of both the Superliga and Bundesliga (in different seasons, obviously); be twice crowned Danish Player of the Year and so on. Peter, erm, ‘notably’, played a few games for Barnsley in the 2001/2 season, in between journeying around Denmark’s clubs. I’d say at least he got the looks, but…
Archil & Shota Arveladze
Another tale of one twin having considerably more success than the other syndrome (you could say he was twinning…but you probably won’t, sorry), this originates in Georgia. Shota is something of a legend in his home country, being the national side all time leading goalscorer, while enjoying great success in his club career with the likes of Ajax and Rangers. His brother, meanwhile, had a decent career that included 32 caps for Georgia, and relatively successful spells with hometown club Dinamo Tbilisi, Trabzonspor and NAC Breda. Unfortunately for him, he is probably best remembered for being Shota’s twin.
Guillermo & Gustavo Barros Schelotto
Yet another story of siblings born in 1973 (Arveladze twins were also born that year) and yet another fable of footballers whose fortunes were far different. Gustavo, much like Archil Arveladze and Peter Sand, has been something of a journeyman, unable to move out of his brother’s shadow. While he was on his travels around various Argentinian clubs (and a brief stint with Villarreal), his twin was becoming a bit of a Boca legend alongside Martin Palermo. He made well over 200 appearances for the club, and helped them win four Copa Libatadores and a host of other trophies, being going on to repeat that success in the MLS with Columbus Crew. Daniel Passarella and some bloke named Diego Maradona (nope, me neither) were amongst those to contribute to his biography.
Halil & Hamit Altintop
Two Turkish twins still playing, it is Hamit who has overshadowed Halil, but the latter has enjoyed a successful career in his own right. He has a decent scoring record, including 20 Bundesliga season in 2005/6, and 37 caps for the Turkish national team, while he has enjoyed spells at Kaiserslautern and Schalke. Hamit, meanwhile, has made 68 appearances for Turkey, and played for two of Europe’s biggest sides – Wattenscheid and Schalke – while also playing for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, and winning the FIFA Puskas Award in 2010 for a stunning volley against Kazakhstan.
David & Philipp Degen
David and Philipp are arguably equal in terms of their careers. Philipp has played for the bigger clubs, and will obviously be remembered fondly by Liverpool fans for his glorious spell there. David, meanwhile, spent that time with Young Boys, where, if nothing else, he was playing regularly. Both have won three league titles with FC Basel, two of them together, while David has two Swiss Cups to Philipp’s one. Philipp has 32 caps for Switzerland to David’s 14; and both were selected in the Swiss squad for the 2006 World Cup – although only Philipp played.
Aleksei & Vasili Berezutsky
For almost a decade now, Aleksei and Vasili have been playing together in defence – at both club and international level. Between them they have over 100 caps for Russian (Vasili has 60, Aleksei 45), and a collective 500+ appearances for CSKA Moscow. This has seen them finish third at Euro 2008, and win three Russian Premier League titles; six Russian Cups; four Russian Super Cups and a Uefa Cup.
Lars & Sven Bender
I started this list with the best, and I’m ending it with (possibly) the current best. They certainly have the potential to be great, although the only stumbling block for the young midfielders is the sheer amount of talent available to Germany. They played together at 1860 Munich, before Lars went off to Bayer Leverkusen, and Sven went to win the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund. They’ve both been capped by the Nationalmannschaft, and are regular’s at their respective club sides. Individually, they are very good players. If Germany, or a club side, reunites them, then it could be a very special partnership, one that has the potential to last for the next decade.
Fabio & Rafael da Silva
Two of the best young full back’s in the game just happen to be twins, and both just happen to be playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. The pair started out at Fluminese, but were spotted by Manchester United scouts before even playing a game for the Brazilian outfit. There isn’t a great deal separating them; Rafael has played more games for United, but Fabio has been capped by Brazil. Indeed, the fact Fabio has a wedding ring (and a daughter) is seemingly the only way people can tell them apart. The majority of twins on this last have had rather different careers; these two may just have extremely similar ones.