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Top 20 Best Friendships in Football (2024)

Welcome to, where we delve deep into the intricate tapestry of football’s human connections. In this exploration, we celebrate the enduring friendships that grace the world of football, transcending borders, cultures, and rivalries. Beyond the tactical maneuvers and goal celebrations lies a rich network of camaraderie and companionship, binding players together in a shared pursuit of excellence.

From childhood teammates who rose through the ranks together to international stars united by a common passion, these friendships exemplify the power of mutual respect, trust, and support within the beautiful game. Whether it’s the telepathic understanding between a striker and their creative midfield maestro or the unbreakable bond forged on the training ground, these relationships are the heartbeat of football.

Join us as we journey through the top 20 best friendships in football, where each duo’s story unfolds like a captivating narrative of loyalty, sacrifice, and triumph. From the laughter shared in victory to the tears shed in defeat, these friendships remind us that football is not just a sport but a vehicle for forging lifelong connections that transcend the boundaries of the pitch.

So, grab a seat, and prepare to be inspired by the enduring friendships that define football’s essence. This is more than just a game—it’s a testament to the unifying power of friendship in the world’s most beloved sport.

1. Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso

In the annals of football history, the partnership between Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso stands as a testament to the enduring power of friendship and teamwork. Originating at Liverpool FC during the club’s glory days under manager Rafael Benítez, Gerrard and Alonso formed the heartbeat of the team’s midfield, their complementary styles blending seamlessly to orchestrate some of the most memorable moments in the club’s history.

On the pitch, Gerrard’s dynamic leadership and Alonso’s elegant passing prowess created a formidable midfield axis, capable of dictating the tempo of any match. Their intuitive understanding of each other’s movements and intentions enabled Liverpool to conquer Europe, most notably in the historic comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final. From Gerrard’s surging runs to Alonso’s pinpoint long-range passes, their partnership epitomized the essence of teamwork and mutual respect.

Off the pitch, Gerrard and Alonso’s friendship transcended their roles as teammates, as they shared in each other’s triumphs and tribulations. Despite parting ways when Alonso left Liverpool for Real Madrid in 2009, their bond remained unbroken, a testament to the lasting connections forged through the beautiful game. Their reunion on the field in later years, whether as opponents or allies, served as a poignant reminder of the indelible mark they left on Liverpool’s history and the enduring legacy of their friendship.

2. Lionel Messi And Luis Suarez

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez Best Friendships in Football Inter Miami's Argentine forward #10 Lionel Messi (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Uruguayan forward #09 Luis Suarez (L) during the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season football match between New England Revolution and Inter Miami CF at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on April 27, 2024. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP)

Messi and Suarez have established a deep understanding at Barcelona on/off the pitch since the latter’s move from Liverpool.

They formed a fearsome attack with Neymar before the Brazilian left for PSG. Since Neymar’s departure, Messi and Suarez have become even more closer with the friendship also extending to their wives.

Messi’s partner, Antonella Roccuzzo, and Suarez’s partner, Sofia Balbi, jointly own a boutique in Barcelona.

When Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez reconnected at MLS club, Inter Miami, it was a continuation of their amazing friendship and on-the-pitch connection.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo And Marcelo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo

Both players enjoyed a sensational understanding on the pitch during Ronaldo’s time in Madrid and created nightmares for opposing defenders.

The pair also have a special understanding off the pitch too, regularly seen playing pranks on each other in training.

When Ronaldo moved to Juventus, it wasn’t surprising to see him almost luring Marcelo to join him in Turin.

4. Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard

In the bustling world of modern football, the friendship between Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard shines as a beacon of camaraderie and solidarity. Originating from their days in Manchester United’s youth academy, Rashford and Lingard’s bond transcends the confines of the pitch, embodying the spirit of brotherhood and mutual support.

On the field, their partnership is characterized by dynamic movement, intricate link-up play, and a shared instinct for goal-scoring. Whether orchestrating swift counterattacks or celebrating pivotal goals, Rashford and Lingard’s on-field chemistry is a testament to their deep-rooted understanding and shared ambitions. From Old Trafford to international duty with the England national team, their friendship has been a source of inspiration and resilience through the highs and lows of their careers.

Off the pitch, Rashford and Lingard’s friendship blossoms through shared experiences, mutual encouragement, and unwavering support. Beyond the spotlight of professional football, they navigate life’s challenges together, lending a helping hand and offering a shoulder to lean on when needed most. Their journey from promising youngsters to established stars serves as a reminder of the transformative power of friendship, transcending rivalries and elevating each other to greater heights both on and off the pitch.

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic And Maxwell

Zlatan Ibrahimovic And Maxwell best football friends Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) is congratuled by his teammate Brazilian defender Maxwell after scoring during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Nice at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 2, 2016. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE / AFP / FRANCK FIFE
(Photo credit: FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Their friendship began in 2001 when Ibrahimovic joined Ajax from Malmo. Maxwell helped the Swede in adapting to his new surroundings.

Since then, their relationship continued to wax stronger as they progressed in their careers with both players seemingly following each other around as they went on to play together at Inter Milan, Barcelona and PSG.

6. Moussa Dembele And Jan Vertonghen

Moussa Dembele And Jan Vertonghen best friends in football BRUSSEL, BELGIUM - MARCH 27: Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen of Belgium celebrate the victory following the international friendly match between Belgium and Saudi Arabia on March 27, 2018 in Brussel, Belgium.
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Dembele and Vertonghen have known each other since they were 10-year-olds. Interestingly, Vertonghen scored his first goal for Ajax against Dembele’s AZ Alkmaar from a corner-kick where he was being man-marked by Dembele!

The pair crossed path again at Tottenham but this time around as teammates and would go on to share memorable moments together in North London before Dembele moved to China in January 2019. Both players were also key members of the Belgian national team.

7. Olivier Giroud And Laurent Koscielny

Olivier Giroud And Laurent Koscielny best friends in football METZ, FRANCE - JUNE 4: Olivier Giroud of France congratulates teammate Laurent Koscielny as he scores the 3rd goal for France during the international friendly match between France and Scotland at Stade Saint Symphorien on June 4, 2016 in Metz, France.
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Both Frenchmen enjoy a relationship that stretches all the way back to their time at French second division side, Tours.

Giroud will later join Koscielny (who he fondly calls “Lolo”) at Arsenal in 2012, and both helped the Gunners to F.A Cup triumphs before Giroud joined Chelsea in 2018 and Koscielny moved to Bordeaux in the just concluded transfer window.

8. Gerard Pique And Cesc Fabregas

Gerard Pique And Cesc Fabregas best friends in football SEVILLE, SPAIN - MAY 29: Cesc Fabregas (L) and Gerard Pique of Spain look on during a training session ahead of their international friendly match against Bolivia at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on May 29, 2014 in Seville, Spain.
(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Pique and Fabregas have known each other since their days at La Masia( Barcelona’s academy) —alongside Messi.

During their teenage years, Pique almost joined Fabregas at Arsenal but opted to move to Manchester United instead.

They would later line up alongside each other again at their boyhood club, Barcelona.

They enjoyed a trophy-laden spell together at Camp Nou before Fabregas moved to Chelsea. Both are also European and world champions with Spain.

9. Kylian Mbappé and Achraf Hakimi

Kylian Mbappé and Achraf Hakimi best friendships in football PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 11: Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates his goal with Achraf Hakimi of PSG during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Clermont Foot 63 at Parc des Princes on September 11, 2021 in Paris, France.
(Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

There is no denying that Kylian Mbappé’s closest friend in PSG is the Moroccan full-back, Achraf Hakimi.

The pair have been good pals since Hakimi joined the club in 2021.

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Hakimi and Mbappé squared up against each other when France faced Morocco in semifinals.

Morocco manager Walid Regragui discussed the relationship between Mbappé and Hakimi players have.

“They are more than friends, they are brothers.”

The bromance between the two fast footballers have yielded goals and domestic trophies for PSG.

They even swapped jerseys at the 2022 FIFA World Cup when France faced Morocco.

10. Paul Pogba And Romelu Lukaku

Pogba and Lukaku

Pogba and Lukaku have been friends before their time at Manchester United. They play basketball, holiday and dance together. Pogba was instrumental in the deal that brought Lukaku to Old Trafford.

11. Phillipe Coutinho And Roberto Firmino

Phillipe Coutinho And Roberto Firmino best friends in football SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 09: Philippe Coutinho of Brazil celebrates with Roberto Firmino after scoring the fifth goal during a match between Brazil and Bolivia as part of South American Qualifiers for Qatar 2022 at Neo Quimica Arena on October 09, 2020 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
(Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

The Brazilians struck a good partnership together on/off the pitch at Liverpool. Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona didn’t affect their relationship as they are regularly seen partying together.

Firmino once described Coutinho as “one of the best friends football has given me”.

Phillipe Coutinho has since left Liverpool and is currently with Aston Villa in the English Premier League, while Roberto Firmino recently joined Al Ahli in the Saudi Pro League.

12. Mason Mount And Declan Rice

Mason Mount And Declan Rice best friends in football DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 16: Mason Mount and Declan Rice of England take part in an interview during an England Media Session at Al Wakrah Stadium on November 16, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
(Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Childhood friends who spent six years together at Chelsea’s academy before Rice was released at the age of 14.

Rice moved to West Ham and had a breakthrough campaign last season while Mount, on the other hand, made his progress through the ranks at Chelsea and he is seeking to establish himself in the first team after a successful loan spell at Derby County last season.

The pair have also made their debut for the English national team and would have to put their friendship aside when their respective clubs clash.

Mason Mount joined Manchester United, while Declan Rice joined Arsenal in the 2023 summer transfer window.

13. David Alaba And Franck Ribery

Long term teammates at Bayern Munich, Ribery and Alaba, joined the club in 2007 and 2008 respectively. They have both enjoyed success on and off the pitch.

Although Franck Ribery is now retired and David Alaba has joined Real Madrid, they are still close friends.

14. Mario Götze And Marco Reus

Mario Gotze and Marco Reus

Mario Götze and Marco Reus have one of the best friendships in football.

The German pair made their breakthrough at Borussia Dortmund under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp, before Gotze later moved to Bayern Munich.

His return to Dortmund surely gladdened Reus’ heart more than anybody else’s.

However, Götze subsequently moved to PSV and then Eintracht Frankfurt, while Marco Reus is still at Dortmund. They are still good friends though.

15. Mesut Özil And Matthieu Flamini

Mesut Özil And Matthieu Flamini best friendships in football LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Ozil of Arsenal after the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at EMirates Stadium. London 15th May 2016. (
(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

The pair bonded well during Flamini’s time at the Emirates stadium and were regarded as “closer than twins” with Koscielny going as far as saying that “if one goes to the toilet, the second is behind him”.

In fact, in 2022, the former Arsenal team-mates and close friends Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Özil became business partnersafter setting up a health and wellness company called Unity Performance Lab together.

16. Aubameyang And Lacazette

Arsenal’s incredible duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette formed not just a deadly strike partnership, but also a special friendship.

When Aubameyang joined Lacazette in North London two years ago, the both of them have formed a special bond both on and off the field.

They can be seen, training together and celebrating goals together.

Aubameyang and Lacazette’s friendship had helped Arsenal in the attacking department. Both players are selfless and are a constant goal threat.

17. Thiago Silva and David Luiz 

Thiago Silva and David Luiz best friends in football

Thiago Silva and David Luiz have one of the best friendships in football today.

The Brazilians were childhood best friends who grew up together. They both played football together and their parents were good neighbors and friends.

The both of them are central defenders and played together at the Brazilian national team

18. Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi

In the annals of football history, few friendships shine as brightly as that between Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi. Originating from their early days in Argentina’s youth football system, their bond has flourished both on and off the pitch, becoming a symbol of camaraderie and mutual respect. Their connection extends beyond mere teammates; they are kindred spirits, united by a shared love for the game and a deep understanding of each other’s playing styles.

On the field, Agüero and Messi’s partnership is a thing of beauty, characterized by seamless synergy and telepathic understanding. Whether orchestrating intricate passing sequences or conjuring moments of individual brilliance, their chemistry is palpable, leaving opponents in awe and fans exhilarated. From their exploits with the Argentine national team to their storied careers at club level, their friendship has been a driving force behind countless triumphs, each goal and assist a testament to their unbreakable bond.

Off the pitch, Agüero and Messi’s friendship transcends the confines of football, as they navigate life’s highs and lows together. From celebrating milestones to providing support during challenging times, they are each other’s pillars of strength, offering unwavering solidarity and companionship. Their journey from aspiring youngsters to global icons serves as an inspiration to footballers and fans alike, reminding us that behind every success story lies a deep-rooted friendship built on trust, loyalty, and shared dreams.

19. Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi

In the dynamic world of football, the friendship between Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi stands as a testament to the unifying power of shared dreams and mutual support. Hailing from Nigeria, these two talented players forged their bond on the pitches of their homeland before taking their talents to the global stage.

On the field, Iheanacho and Ndidi’s partnership is a sight to behold, characterized by seamless collaboration and complementary skills. Whether orchestrating intricate passing sequences or launching swift counterattacks, their on-field chemistry epitomizes the synergy born from years of friendship and shared experiences. From representing Nigeria’s national team to their exploits in top European leagues, their connection serves as a driving force behind their collective success.

Off the pitch, Iheanacho and Ndidi’s friendship extends beyond the boundaries of football, as they navigate the challenges of life as professional athletes together. From offering words of encouragement during tough times to celebrating each other’s milestones, their bond is grounded in mutual respect, trust, and solidarity. As they continue to carve out their legacies in the world of football, Iheanacho and Ndidi’s friendship serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us of the importance of camaraderie and companionship on the journey to greatness.

20. Gareth Bale and Luka Modric

In the illustrious realm of football, the friendship between Gareth Bale and Luka Modric transcends mere teammates, embodying the essence of mutual admiration, trust, and shared success. Originating from their days at Tottenham Hotspur, where their paths first crossed, Bale and Modric’s bond has flourished both on and off the pitch, spanning multiple clubs and international tournaments.

On the field, their partnership is a symphony of skill and understanding, as Bale’s electrifying pace and flair complement Modric’s masterful vision and precise passing. From orchestrating intricate attacking movements to delivering decisive goals and assists, their on-field chemistry has mesmerized fans and confounded opponents alike. Together, they propelled Real Madrid to historic triumphs in the UEFA Champions League, their synergy proving instrumental in the club’s European dominance.

Off the pitch, Bale and Modric’s friendship extends beyond the realms of football, as they share in each other’s triumphs and tribulations. Despite parting ways when Bale returned to Tottenham Hotspur, their bond remains unbroken, a testament to the enduring connections forged through the beautiful game. As they continue to carve out their legacies on the footballing stage, Bale and Modric serve as an inspiration to aspiring players, reminding us of the transformative power of friendship and camaraderie in the pursuit of excellence.

Honourable mentions:

  • Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi
  • Luke Shaw and Bukayo Saka
  • Frank Lampard and John Terry
  • Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish
  • David Beckham and Gary Neville
  • Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
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