Gabriel and Diego Milito. Two brothers from Argentina who enjoyed success at either ends of the pitch. Diego, the elder of the two, was arguably more well-known due to the number of professional matches he played.
However, of the Milito brothers, Gabriel won something that Diego never could: an international trophy for Argentina. Albeit the u20 South American Championships. Football is a competitive sport that is enjoyed by millions around the world. The competitive nature of the game is far more personal when two brothers play against one another.
Unfortunately, the Milito brothers are probably further down the list of ‘brothers who play football’ than expected. There have been many talented sibling pairs in football, such as Yaya and Kolo Touré, Frank and Ronald de Boer and Gary and Phil Neville.
Sibling rivalry is ever present when two brothers come together, providing an entertaining watch for the crowd.
For Diego and Gabriel, they would often line up against one another while playing their football in Argentina. Diego was playing for Racing Club and Gabriel represented their city rivals, Independiente, in a match known as the Avellaneda Derby. This was the beginning of their rivalry but one that would quickly turn to companionship when they both played for Spanish side, Real Zaragoza.
Between 2005 and 2007, the pair from Argentina would play alongside each other, not on opposite teams. They would never win a trophy together at Real Zaragoza though. Prior to Diego joining the North Eastern Spanish side, the younger Milito had helped his side towards a Spanish Cup and two Super Cup wins.
After a season of strong performances in 2006/07, Barcelona came calling for Gabriel Milito. The captaincy was soon passed over to Diego for a season. While Gabriel remained in Spain, Diego decided a return to Genoa would work best. After contributing to 30 goals in 31 appearances (24 goals, 6 assists) in the 2008/09 season, Serie A Champions Inter Milan came calling.
Diego was moving on again, while Gabriel was still contracted to Barca. Another separation for the Milito Brothers.
However, he was still recuperating after suffering a cruciate ligament rupture. The injury meant that he missed 578 days (88 games) for Barcelona. Considering the success of Gerard Piqué, Carlos Puyol and Javier Mascherano, even after returning from injury, Milito was rarely selected to play. One match which would prove to be special on a personal level was the UEFA Champions League semi-finals 2nd leg versus Inter Milan.
For 45 minutes, the Milito brothers, one all in white and the other wearing the red and blue stripes of the Blaugrana, went head-to-head. 45 minutes of one brother against another.
Elder versus younger.
Ultimately, it was Barcelona who won that evening, but the damage had already been dealt in the previous match. Unsurprisingly, it was a Diego Milito goal in the 61st minute that pushed the sword further into the heart of Barcelona, after goals from Wesley Sneijder and Maicon.
The 2010/11 season finished for Gabriel Milito with a Champions League, League title and a Spanish Super Cup triumph. Home was calling so the younger Milito returned to Argentina. A final year at Independiente was agreed on but one which ended in an early retirement due to feeling physically and mentally unwell. On the other hand, Diego Milito was still plying his trade in Italy, but the goals weren’t flowing as they had been previously.
A few years after his brother, Diego caught a plane from Italy to Argentina, in order to play for Racing Club once more. No more trophies would follow for El Príncipe but four goals and three assists in 13 games in his final season (2015/16) would round off a great career.
The Milito brothers may not have always been in the spotlight due to injury or simply others being more noticeable. However, they both will have impacted their fans and teammates they played alongside. Footballers play to win, whether that is matches or aiming to lift the best trophies and accolades.
Football is also about inspiring new players and the Milito Brothers would have possessed certain traits that new players would see and add to their game.