There have been a number of fathers and sons who have had successful football careers at the professional level. Peter and Kasper Schemiechel, Johan and Jordi Cruyff and Patrick and Justin Kluivert to name a few.
One Croatian player following in the footsteps of his famous dad is 16-year-old Roko Simic, son of former Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Monaco defender Dario Simic.
Unlike his father who spent his career trying to stop goals being scored, Simic junior is a striker and has already represented Croatia at youth level.
Last week, Simic became the second 16-year-old with Marko Pjaca to score a senior goal for Croatian first division club NK Lokomotiva.
“Honestly, I didn’t know about that information, but I do know that Marko Pjaca was one of NK Lokomotiva’s best players who is also one of my role models. I’m glad I got the opportunity to train with the senior team and with coach Tomic and the top players I can learn a lot from and I’m glad the guys help me a lot,” Roko told NK Lokomotiva’s official site.
Roko, who has three brothers, is already emulating his father, Dario, who was just 16 years old and 4 months when he made his Croatian first division debut for Dinamo Zagreb.
“Before football, the kids practiced gymnastics and swimming. Football is the most popular sport, and it engulfed them. I let them choose. Of the three boys, one is at Dinamo Zagreb and two are at NK Lokomotiva, “ Dario told 100posto, before adding:
“The most important thing for me is that they all enjoy themselves. They really do well at school with commitments and commitments in sports.”
The tall, young striker has represented Croatia and U-15, U-16 and U-17 level and has scored 3 goals for his country.
“I don’t interfere too much. I give him advice and I am on hand. I introduce him to what top football means, advise him on what to do to have a better chance of becoming a footballer,” Dario said.
Roko, who was born in Milan when Dario was there playing, hopes to one day represent his favourite club like his dad.
“AC Milan, along with Dinamo Zagreb, is my greatest love, but now I am a NK Lokomotiva player and I am happy here. I thank my coaches Agic, Dacer and Stipic for bringing me to Lokomotiva from Kustosija. I am developing well here and I am pleased with the club” Roko tells 100posto, adding:
“I want to stay in Croatia, I’m developing very well here. My dream would be to wear the AC Milan jersey one day, but definitely not yet. I think Lokomotiva is the right club for my development, and I would love to play for Dinamo as well. That is how I would fulfill all my dreams.”
Croatia’s most famous father and son footballers are Zlatko and Niko Kranjcar, but the Simics may replace them one day.