Rivaldo, Zinedine Zidane and two 18-year-old sons

When you look back over the last ten to fifteen years of world football, Zinedine Zidane and Rivaldo spring to mind as two of the most gifted and graceful players of a generation.

These talismanic attacking midfielders captured the imagination of the footballing world when they were at their peak, and have a loose link due to the rivalry of the clubs that they played for.

Brazilian star Rivaldo was in his pomp during five memorable years at Barcelona, and went on to play for AC Milan also.

Zidane followed the opposite path, playing for Italian giants Juventus before switching to Real Madrid.

The pair’s time in Spain overlapped briefly, with the Frenchman moving to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in 2001, before Rivaldo left Barcelona to go to Italy in 2002.

Zidane’s magical volley in the 2001-02 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden and Rivaldo’s immense overhead kick in the last minute of the 2000-01 season to give Barca a 3-2 win over Valencia and secure Champions League qualification will live on in the memory into the considerable future.

Zinedine Zidane and son EnzoAlthough these greats of the game have succumbed to the inevitability of age, there is hope that their legacy can be carried on through their respective sons.

Rivaldo’s son, aptly named Rivaldinho, is 18 and like his father is versatile enough to play as an attacking midfielder or striker.

After an underwhelming spell at Corinthians, one of Rivaldo’s former clubs, the teenager return to Mogi Mirim, where his father is the club president.

A landmark occasion occurred last month when both Rivaldo and Rivaldinho stepped out for the Brazilian third-tier side in a 1-1 draw against XV de Piracicaba.

The youngster’s tall, slim frame is reminiscent of his father’s, with no doubt that Rivaldinho is a talented individual. There is no rush for Rivaldo junior to become a world-beater; the ex-Brazil international did not move to Europe until he was 24.

Meanwhile, three of Zidane’s sons are currently involved with the Real Madrid youth set-up, but eldest boy Enzo has shown real early potential.

Like Rivaldinho, he is still only 18, but has shown all the technical abilities to be able to break into senior football in the near future. Again a chip of the old block by playing in the same position as his father, the young midfielder is making progress in the Spanish capital and is a regular with the Los Blancos under-19 team.

Although representing the country he resides in at under-15 level, Enzo has opted to step out for France, the land of his birth, at under-19 age grade.

Videos of both young stars have started to emerge on the Internet, with excitement building over the potential of these two 18-year-olds.

An unfair amount of expectation is lumbered on their young shoulders to emulate the success and ability of their famous fathers, but it appears that the pair are well on their way to becoming established professional footballers at the very least.

Both Rivaldo and Zidane had little hype surrounding them when they were 18 and they turned out to be two of the finest players of a generation.

Despite the spotlight being on their successors, the romantic notion that these two promising sons could follow in their legendary fathers’ considerable footsteps is hard to shake.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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