Claudio Reina cannot say exactly when he stopped being himself. For a long time he himself did not notice how from “Claudio Reina, a veteran of European football and the US national team and sports director of“ Austin ”, he turned into simply“ Father of Giovanni Reina. ”
This unexpected transformation is familiar to others. Football has always been a “family business”: Paolo Maldini, Frank Lampard and Jordi Cruyff all boast illustrious relatives. Now is the time for new old familiar surnames.
Erling Holann, son of Alfa-Inge, plays with Reina at Borussia Dortmund. Markus Thuram, whose father Lilian won the World Cup with France in 1998, is considered the star of another Borussia Dortmund, from Mönchengladbach.
Fiorentina has Chiesa, Hadji performs in Romania, and Wea and Drogba are growing up in France. There is even another third generation Maldini at Milan.
Every time we see the legendary name on a young player’s shirt, we wonder what it would be like to be the son of a renowned player. Does suspicion of nepotism make you work even harder? And how does it feel when your son is superior to you and your achievements in everything? From interviews with Reyna, Holland and Thuram, it becomes clear that being the father of a star is much easier than being her son.
“He can inspire an entire generation of children,” says Claudio Reina, who has only recently come to terms with the fact that his son’s successes diminish his own. “And I, as a dad, really like that.”
“When you’re still a kid, a famous surname can be both a blessing and a curse. There were probably those who believed that my success would have been impossible without a famous father. But it just motivated me.
I have often proven myself to be good. In my home team Brunet, in Molda, in RB Salzburg and now in Borussia. I have demonstrated my skills many times.
Perhaps now we can finally stop talking about the fact that I got my chance thanks to my daddy. Every time I tried to achieve something, he was nearby. He’s like a talisman.
For me, becoming a footballer seemed like a logical process. Like any other boy, I dreamed of football, but only at the age of 15-16 did I begin to understand that I really could earn money from this. It’s great when your father also played, because he knows everything about football and how to become a professional. I chose this path myself, but it helped me not to stumble.
From the first day I set myself the goal of becoming better than him. I started off well, but I still have a lot to come. I have not surpassed him. He had a good career. I’m proud of him. Was he just Erling’s father now? No. His success will simply not be repeated. ”
“ Nice to hear such words from him, but I am definitely turning into a person known primarily for my son. He is no longer the son of Alfie Holland. At first it was the other way around, but maybe it’s for the best. I hope he surpasses me.
When he was still young, I stepped aside and did not directly participate in his training. I didn’t put any pressure on him. But he always competed with me, was always purposeful.
I don’t know where he is from. Maybe you need some kind of gene that makes you crave more every day and strive to progress. I have known many gifted players who were not willing to sacrifice everything for success. Maybe I was his role model, I don’t know. A lot has to be sacrificed, both in adolescence and in the twenties. But he always understood it. ”
“When it came time to sign my first professional contract, there were many options. New York City was interested – as were Manchester City. But as soon as I saw the offer of Borussia, I could not answer them with a refusal. This club is known for its belief in youth. It was my chance to declare myself – in my own words.
I think my father understood that at times it was difficult for me to “shine” with his name – especially in the national team. I was pretty good at 13 and 14, but only later did I really begin to open up. I was not always the best on the team, and many said that I was forgiven a lot. Who knows, maybe at times it was.
He shared his advice when I realized that I could play football professionally, but in general he let me decide everything myself. He always wanted what I did. He did not put pressure on me at all, on the contrary. When I was very young, he never required me to train five times a day. I was motivated by my character, my innate desire to be better than everyone else.
He used to be strict with me. He always thought about how to get better. He often didn’t say that I had a good match. But he knew where to grow in order to reach the highest level.
“I knew that at 17 or 18 you can’t just walk into the locker room and start chatting. The changing room is a place for men. And if you don’t respect their status, they’ll kick you out. This must be understood when you are just starting out. It’s impossible to just take and become a successful footballer.
My son is an open person, and he told me how things are in his team. Laughter, jokes and jokes all remind me of my own career.
Today’s footballers need the same values and standards that I needed in my day. You need to be a good friend, behave well in the locker room. But the external factors for guys like Erling or Jadon Sancho have changed – they are closely watched from a very young age.
He laughs and denies that he will become a superstar. He just thinks about each new day, about how to become better and build a worthy career. He understands that it will not be easy, and that some problems are inevitable. But he knows that if he goes forward no matter what, he will cope. I am proud that he already understands all this. ”
“ It wasn’t always easy for me, when dad came to workout. I remember well one specific game: the coach asked me to do one thing, and the father, who was standing on the edge, asked me to do another. This is an impossible situation when the coach says one thing and Lilian Thuram says another.
I listened to the coach, but after the match my dad asked him why he asked me to play this way and not another. And this junior coach, an amateur, had to explain to the world champion his vision of football. Soon, this situation only began to amuse my father. It seems to me that when I was little, many coaches did not like my dad.
He allowed me to play for the club only when I was 11 – and then we are not talking about the academy of the professional club. He demanded that I go in for swimming, judo, and everyone. And football will wait.
He wanted to protect me. He understood that if the son of a famous player appears in the club, others will immediately begin to envy and foul. Even parents will say nasty things. At times I did not understand why people behaved this way: do they really think that the goalkeeper conceded a goal because he likes my dad? I wanted to prove to everyone how wrong they were.
I’m not really that much of a competitor. He was the first Thuram, and since he is the first, then he is automatically the best. And I can only try to become the best Marcus Thuram. ”
“ I remember what that was for a game. The coach then put Marcus on the other flank so that I could not give him advice!
Any parent wants his children to do what they like. And as an ex-footballer, I understood what he had to go to in order to achieve what he wanted. He was always a happy child. He always smiled, was like a ray of light on a cold winter day, but he understood that for the sake of a dream he would have to work tirelessly.
We discussed a lot where he got this desire. People who grow up in comfort don’t always have this hunger. They don’t always want to grow. They are not willing to sacrifice anything for growth. It doesn’t matter where you are from and who raised you – the main thing is what you are ready to go for for your goal. It’s already inside you. And it’s not about the family.
Football has always been his dream, and it’s important that he doesn’t forget it. All children want to be players, but few people succeed. This is what I tried to explain to him when he confronted Neymar in France or began to play in Germany, playing against his idols who participated in the final of the 2014 World Cup. It is important that he be aware of his luck, but never forget that this is his dream. Fortunately, he remembers everything. ”