9 footballers’ brothers who were only signed to keep their siblings sweet (probably)
1. Christian and Jonathan Benteke
The younger Benteke followed his £32m record-signing brother Christian to Crystal Palace after his contract was terminated at Belgian Pro League side S.V. Zulte Waregem last summer.
The now 22-year-old striker had failed to score in 17 appearances in 2015/16 – 16 of those off the bench – but bagged a one-year deal with Palace’s development squad thanks to the name on the back of his shirt. He played just one game for Palace in 2016/17, replacing his brother for the last six minutes of a win over Middlesbrough, and was released at the end of of the season.
Jonathan Benteke is a striker. He wasn't a first team regular in the Belgian league. #bentekebros
— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) September 1, 2016
2. Roque and Julio Santa Cruz
Roque Santa Cruz arrived at Blackburn in 2007 after eight years with Bayern Munich, and managed an impressive debut campaign haul of 19 Premier League goals.
But while the Paraguayan’s Rovers form convinced Mark Hughes to sign him again at Manchester City in 2009, his younger brother and fellow striker Julio didn’t quite make the same mark when he joined Blackburn in 2008.
If his three years in England don’t stick in the memory, it’s probably because he didn’t make a single senior appearance for Blackburn, instead featuring sporadically in one season for the club’s reserves. He returned to Paraguay, where he currently plies his trade for Deportivo Capiata.
3. Gianluigi and Antonio Donnarumma
Milan barely held on to their brilliant, 18-year-old goalkeeping prodigy Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer. At one point, he seemed certain to leave - before a dramatic about-turn saw the Italian international signing a new four-year contract.
In completely unrelated news, Milan also did another piece of goalkeeper business: re-signing Antonio Donnarumma - Gianluigi's near-decade older brother. Antonio had been on Milan's books as a youth goalkeeper, being allowed to depart in 2012 without having played a first-team game for the Rossoneri. Last season, he was playing for Asteras Tripolis in the Greek league, where we're forced to assume his displays were so superb that Milan had to have him back.
4. Clarence and Chedric Seedorf
It seems that signing five-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf came with the terms of signing his younger brother Chedric as well. Little Seedorf played for Real Madrid’s youth academy for one season (1999/2000) until Clarence moved on to Inter a year later, dragging Chedric in tow.
After following his own career path in the Netherlands and Italy – there were spells with NAC, Legnano, Pizzighettone, Oostende and Cambuur Leeuwarden – a magic phone call from Milan provided Chedric with an escape route to Serie A. “Alright Clarence, fancy seeing you here!”
5. Rafael and Fabio da Silva
It seems to have been a case of “both of us or nothing” when Manchester United signed Brazilian defenders Rafael and Fabio from Fluminense in 2007.
The twins enjoyed mixed spells at Old Trafford – Rafael made 170 appearances for United before moving on to Lyon in 2015, while Fabio managed 56 outings in red. The latter was sent out on loan with QPR in 2012 before permanently switching to Cardiff in 2014. He’s now playing for Middlesbrough in the Championship.