Football players

Edelino and Edgar Ié Join Ranks of Twins in Football… Or Do They?

When Edgar Ié was spotted as a youngster and snapped up by the youth academy at Sporting Lisbon, before being scouted by FC Barcelona, he must have thought he had the football world at his feet. Unfortunately for him, he would make only one appearance for the senior Barca squad, before embarking on a European tour that took in stints at Belenenses, Lille, Trabzonspor and Feyenoord.

His latest club is Dinamo Bucharest in Romania, who he joined in February for the second half of the 2023/24 campaign. So far, the left back has made five appearances for them… or has he? According to reports, the 30-year-old hasn’t played a single minute of football in Romania – instead enlisting his twin brother, Edelinho, to play in his place instead.

Seeing Double

Edgar Ié
Edgar Ié (Agência Brasília / Wikipedia.org)

You would think the visual appearance and personality traits of Edelino, as they differ to Edgar, would be enough for Dinamo Bucharest staff to become suspicious. If not, surely they noticed the obvious differences out on the pitch? Edelinho is a midfielder by trade, not a defender, and has enjoyed a far less glittering career than his brother – stints in the third and fourth tiers of Portuguese football about as good as it has got.

The doubts emerged when ‘Edgar’ turned up for training for the first time at the Romanian club, not speaking a word of English – despite this generally being used as a second language in Europe for footballers playing in overseas countries.

Further doubt has emerged in that the player that Bucharest have been selecting only speaks Portuguese – which would tally up with the Edelinho accusation. According to reports in the Romanian press, officials at Dinamo were becoming increasingly suspicious, and so asked ‘Edgar’ to produce his driving licence as identification – which the player has refused to do. And so the situation has been escalated to the point that Edgar or Edelinho, whoever keeps turning up for training every day, will be forced to take a DNA test to prove their identity.

While the story has slightly comical overtones, there is a serious side too. If Edelinho has been turning out in place of his brother, Bucharest could be punished for playing an ‘ineligible player’ – with sanctions including fines and points deductions for the games in which he featured, which could see the club docked eight points in total. Ultimately, that could see them relegated from Romanian Liga I. That would leave Bucharest seeing double and seeing red.

Famous Twins in Football

The Ié brothers may leave a criminal legacy in football – what they’re being accused of is tantamount to fraud, after all. But there’s other sets of twins in football that have made the headlines for all the right reasons.

Frank & Ronald De Boer

Frank & Ronald de Boer
Frank (Yulia Novikova / Wikipedia.org) & Ronald (Паршин Дмитрий / Wikipedia.org) de Boer

It would be nigh-on impossible to confuse Frank with Ronald De Boer. For starters, they’re not identical twins – you can just about make out a physical dissemblance between them, while their playing styles could also not be any more different: Frank was a left-sided defender, Ronald a right-footed attacker.

Even so, the Dutch duo have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, playing hundreds of games together for Ajax, Barcelona, Rangers and the Netherlands national team. They’ve shared some magnificent moments together on the pitch too, winning five Eredivisie titles, La Liga and the Champions League.

Since their playing days have ended, the De Boers have gone their separate ways. Frank has been a head coach all over the world, from the USA to the UAE, but is best-known to many for his disastrous five-game stint in charge at Crystal Palace. Ronald, no doubt influenced by the strife that his brother has experienced, has largely foregone management, other than a stint with the Qatari national set-up.

Rafael & Fabio Da Silva

Fabio & Rafael da Silva
Fabio (Jon Candy / Wikipedia.org) & Rafael (James Adams / Flickr.com) da Silva

While the De Boers were relatively easy to pick apart from their looks, good luck doing likewise with Rafael and Fabio Da Silva. These brothers are identical in every sense of the word – the only difference being that Rafael is a right back and Fabio plays on the left.

They made global headlines when leaving behind the Fluminense youth academy to join Manchester United in 2008. The pair stayed at Old Trafford for six years, before going their separate ways as they embarked on careers around the globe.

Rafael turned out for Lyon and Istanbul Basaksehir, before heading home to Brazil to play for Botafago. But a series of injuries have forced him to call time on his playing career. Fabio, meanwhile, has embarked on a globetrotting career that has seen him set up home in Cardiff, Middlesbrough, Nantes and Porto Alegro, where he now turns out for Gremio.

Lars & Sven Bender

Lars & Sven Bender
Lars (Fuguito / Wikipedia.org) & Sven (Fuguito / Wikipedia.org) Bender

As if wanting to confuse people as much as possible, Lars and Sven Bender not only look near identical, they also had a very similar playing style in defensive midfield. They both made their breakthrough at 1860 Munich in the second tier of German football, playing together in midfield at times, before transfer deals would see them separate – Lars heading off to Bayer Leverkusen, Sven opting for Borussia Dortmund.

Lars would stay at Bayer for the entirety of his playing days, racking up more than 300 first-team appearances. Sven would enjoy salad days at Dortmund, meanwhile, winning two German Bundesliga titles and reaching the Champions League final in 2012/13. The brothers would later be reunited at Leverkusen, where they saw out the rest of their playing days together.

Florentin & Mathias Pogba

Florentin & Mathias Pogba
Florentin (Антон Зайцев / Wikipedia.org) & Mathias (Антон Зайцев / Wikipedia.org) Pogba

You know Paul Pogba? Champions League winner and four-time Serie A champion with Juventus. He has twin brothers too, Florentin and Mathias, although it would be fair to say they’re not quite as talented as their younger sibling. Florentin has played mostly in France for Sochaux and Saint-Etienne, before heading to the United States (Atlanta United) and India (Mohun Bagan).

Crewe Alexandra fans may remember Mathias Pogba, he played for the Railwaymen for a number of years before embarking on a journeyman spree across France, Spain, Slovenia and the Netherlands. But Mathias is now more famous for the extraordinary conspiracy plot involving Paul in 2022, which saw a gang – allegedly masterminded by Mathias – attempt to extort the younger Pogba for £11 million in a bizarre blackmail bid.