7 Big Names Who Had Children Very Early but Succeeded in Football

7 Big Names Who Had Children Very Early but Succeeded in Football

Rene Otinga
updated at April 13, 2024 at 9:20 AM
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  • Jamie Carragher discouraged professional footballers from having children in their 20s
  • The Liverpool legend claims children can hamper a player’s career in their prime
  • Several footballers in the past have had successful careers despite getting kids early

Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher recently ignited a debate after sensational claims about professional football players having children/

Carragher controversially said it was better for a professional football player to avoid having kids in his 20s and instead focus on his career.

Carragher, Liverpool, Children, Footballers, Career
Jamie Carragher during the match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield on March 31, 2024 in Liverpool, England. Photo by Chris Brunskill .
Source: Getty Images

While speaking on his podcast, the father of two was adamant the best time for a footballer to have children was in their thirties.

“I do love the fact that my son not saw me play, can remember going to games, and at a cup final at the end, he was actually on the pitch – I think it was in 2012, towards the end of my career. It is something nice to look back [on].” The retired defender, 46, said.
“But, I always think now, as a player, my advice to my kids is to have kids, not as late as possible, but to almost get to your thirties.”

Carragher’s comments have now sparked debate and some mild criticism online, with a section of social media users critical of the fact that the former Liverpool man was discouraging a healthy work-life balance.

But can having children early in life hinder a professional footballer’s career? Sports Brief looks at some big footballing names who got children while very young and still thrived professionally.

David Beckham

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid man started dating Victoria Adams of the Spice girls shortly after 1997. The couple tied the knot in 1999, just four months after the birth of their first born Brooklyn.

Interestingly, Brooklyn just two months after Beckham and his Manchester United team famously secured the treble.

David Beckham, children, Victoria
Cruz Beckham and David Beckham attend the London premiere of "Ronnie O'Sullivan: The Edge of Everything" at Odeon Luxe West End on November 21, 2023. Photo by John Phillips
Source: Getty Images

Despite getting a child early, Beckham had a successful career, winning six titles at United before moving to Real Madrid. He went on to have three more children; Romeo James (b. 2002), Cruz David (b. 2005) and Harper Seven (b. 2011), and is still one of the most marketable footballing names in the world, years after his retirement.

Eden Hazard

Hazard is largely considered a Chelsea legend, and for good reason.

In seven years with the Blues, the Belgian won two Premier League titles, before moving to Real Madrid.

The Belgian’s personal life is quite intriguing as he has a baby with his childhood sweetheart Natasha Van Honacker, whom he met when he was just 14.

Five years after their meeting, in 2010, the couple welcomed their first child when Hazard was still a teenager.

During the course of Hazard’s career, the couple had three more children Leo, Sammy and Santi.


Considered one of the most skilled players in football history, Neymar welcomed his first child long before he became a household name.

He has a son named David Lucca da Silva with his ex partner Carolina Nogueira Dantas, who was born when Neymar was a rising star at Santos FC.

In 2023, he welcomed his second child with his current partner Bruna Biancardi.

Phil Foden

Foden is arguably in his prime.

At just 23 years old, the attacking midfielder has emerged as one of the most important players in Pep Guardiola’s squad.

It is quite incredible how he is able to balance his professional career with his personal life as he became a dad at only 18.

His first born, Ronnie, was an instant hit, becoming a millionaire at just four months old thanks to a surge in follower count on Instagram once his account was created.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling rose up the ranks in the QPR Youth academy.

He has had an impressive career so far, playing for giants like Liverpool, Manchester City and now Chelsea

In 2012, the winger became the youngest player to score a game for Liverpool in a competitive game after Michael Owen, with his strike against Reading coming In the same year he welcomed his first born Melody Rose with his ex-partner Melissa Clarke.

According to The Sun, Sterling’s current partner, Paige Milian, gave birth to their son Thiago in 2017 while another child, Thai, came in 2019.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney is another classic blend of family man and top football player.

The Manchester United all-time record goal scorer’s career spanned nearly two decades, starting out at Everton with the youth team before eventually breaking into the senior squad.

Rooney joined Manchester United in 2004, just after becoming the youngest-ever goal scorer at the Euros.

He had a very successful career before hanging up his boots in 2021. In 764 career appearances, Rooney bagged 313 goals, and was at one point The Three Lions of England’s all-time top goal scorer, according to Tranfermarkt.

On a personal level, Rooney married his sweetheart Coleen and the couple has four boys; Kai Wayne (b. 2009), Klay Anthony (b. 2013), Kit Joseph (b. 2016) and Cass Mac (b. 2018).

Rooney did not welcome his firstborn in his teens, but it is quite interesting to see how big his family grew despite in the midst of a lucrative career.

Anthony Martial

The Manchester United winger has two daughters with his ex-partner Samantha; Peyton and Toto Martial.

Martial welcomed his first child when he was just 18, a year after meeting Samantha.

Unfortunately, after four years together, the couple split, with Samantha accusing Martial of infidelity. She also blamed the collapse of their romance on the Frenchman’s move to Manchester United in 2015

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Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and TUKO.co.ke.