5 football Players Who Would Be Nowhere Without Their Fathers

Let’s discuss five football players helped by their father to success. International Men’s Day just went by so we want to celebrate some really important men in football – fathers. Fathers play a very influential role in the lives of footballers and that’s what we want to look at today.

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These are 5 football players helped by their father to success

1. Kylian Mbappe

Let’s start with Kylian Mbappe. This guy first has to thank his father for his genes. We saw the goal Wilfried Mbappe scored from Eden Hazard’s assist in that charity game and you could instantly tell that’s where Mbappe got his skills from.

football players helped by their father to success

But apart from the genes, Wilfried was also very important to his son’s overall growth. At AS Bondy where Mbappe started his career, it was his father who was his coach. 

But Wilfried wasn’t satisfied with his son just learning from him, he wanted Kylian to also learn from some all-time greats, so he began to take the little boy on tour. He arranged for his little boy to meet Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others before he turned into a teenager.

He also took him around France and also to Spain and England for visits and trials all before he was a teenager. All that was a lot of sacrifice, and Kylian would surely not have been where he is right now if not for his father.

In an interview, Wilfred Mbappe reminisces a memory from the time he was the coach of his son he said-

“We had to play an important match against Bobigny … At halftime, when we were losing 1-0, I exploded. Out of fifteen minutes of talk, there were thirteen for him. He remembers it. I had strong words for him. He still talks to me about it. It took me a long time to realize that this obsession with not being seen as a coach who shows favoritism could sometimes lead too far. But he was not deaf. He heard … That day, we won 2-1, with a double from Kylian.”

Some other father involvements look a lot more severe, though. But they all count, Don’t they?

2. Son Heung-min

Son Heung-min’s father, a former footballer himself, used to subject him to really serious training sessions when he was younger. The Spurs forward himself said that his dad would make him juggle a ball for 4 straight hours. FOUR HOURS!

It may sound crazy, but the truth is that you look at Son right now and you just have to say that those years of intense training yielded really good results.

Son’s Dad had a number of interesting training methods. Son didn’t even play on a competitive team until he was around 15 years old. And he didn’t work on shooting until then either. The focus in soccer training was on technique and mastering the ability to do things with the soccer ball equally well with both feet.

let’s be honest, it’s not very common for players from Asia to become one of the best players in one of Europe’s biggest leagues, so perhaps that was why his dad felt he had to be much tougher on his son. And voila! It paid off.

3. David Beckham

Another father who was really strict but very important to his son’s development was David Beckham’s dad. If you watched the documentary, you’d see how hard Ted was on David. Ted himself wanted to be a footballer, but since he couldn’t make it, he decided he would do all it took to make sure his son was a successful footballer.

He would always show David, tough love. He didn’t shower him with too many compliments so he wouldn’t lose his head and become too complacent. But that didn’t mean there was no encouragement from his father either. He would give him 50 pence every time he hit the crossbar but he’d make sure to remind him that there’s always room for improvement.

At some point, Ted began to worry about his son’s size because he looked smaller than his mates. So, he began to feed him Guinness and raw eggs to get him to bulk up, and well, it worked.

Ted is a no-nonsense man. David himself said that his father would always tell him each time he put a foot wrong, but that certainly helped him. David grew up to be something of a perfectionist, and it was very evident in his game. In his prime, Beckham was the biggest brand in football, and the truth is, he simply would not have made it to that point without his dad.

4. Timo Werner

Speaking of strict dads, Timo Werner’s dad, Gunther Schuh, sort of fits right into this category. Gunther, who played semi-professional football before he got into coaching, used to train Timo really hard when he was younger.

As a teenager, Gunther would make Timo run up hills in order to improve his speed. And don’t take our word for it. Timo said this himself. He said:

My father always wanted me to be very fast and give me strength in my muscles by running up hills. It helped me a lot.”

And Gunther also adopted the reward system as Ted did. He would give Timo a euro each time he scored a goal, and for a kid, that was a huge encouragement. Werner recalled:

“If I scored 10 goals I got 10 euros which meant a lot of candy.”

5. Dominik Szoboszlai

Fathers are actually very important, and you can definitely say that in the case of Dominik Szoboszlai. The Liverpool midfielder was trained and drilled by his father when he was still a kid. He said that his dad would come pick him up from school and take him straight to training every day.

His dad had some innovative training methods such as making his son hold golf balls in his hands while playing and dribbling through a number of empty water bottles in his flat. Szoboszlai said:

“It was inside the house because we had no garden, If the water was still in the bottles, it was easier to dribble past them. But if there wasn’t any in, it was a lot harder. My dad would pour the water out almost every single time.

If one of the bottles fell, I just had to keep on doing it until none of them fell. I had to stay there until it was perfect.”

You would wonder why he would make him hold golf balls while doing it, he wanted his son to learn not to grab the shirt of the opponent if they go past you because of giving away fouls.

Dominik would train with his mates and then train with his seniors every single day. And his dad was always harder on him than on the other kids. Other parents would even ask him why he was so tough on Dominik and all he’d say was “it will pay.” And boy has it paid so much! That little kid from years back is now playing for one of the biggest clubs in Europe and also captaining the Hungary national team at the age of 23. 

Truly, the importance of a father figure in the life of a young footballer cannot be overestimated.

So, in the spirit of celebrating fathers, we want you guys to get in the comments and tell us a funny, interesting, or emotional moment you have shared with your dad or a father figure in your life, football-related or not.

Keep reading: Footballers Held Back by Their Country

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