HomeArticles8 Football Legends Uncover Their Origins with MyHeritage DNA
8 Football Legends Uncover Their Origins with MyHeritage DNA
August 22, 2019
Rivalry – it’s in our DNA, isn’t it? We took
eight footballing legends from some of the fiercest rival countries in
international football, and gave each of them a MyHeritage DNA test to find out
if behind the feuds there’s more that unites than divides us. I’m Kelly Cates, and this is Football DNA. Well gentlemen, this is all about how
ethnicity and identity are all tied up, particularly with the big events of this
summer that are all upcoming. So we want to start by asking you what you think is
the biggest rivalry in world football. England-Scotland would be a big one. But
I think historically, for me, Argentina-Brazil. In what way are Brazil and
Argentina the same and how are they different in terms of football? In terms of football, it’s the way that we understand football. We want to win in all cases.
For them, it’s happiness. We also want to be the best, you know. Okay, let’s get some
Argentina and get them. Play hard, you know. How does it feel to score against Brazil? Oh, Amazing! He never scored, he never scored! We’d never see the ball when we were away because they… possession, possession, and dancing with the ball, and you feel AAH! A few weeks ago, each
of you took a MyHeritage DNA test. A simple cheek swab, some basic family
information, and MyHeritage have mapped out your ethnic origins. They found some
interesting family stories, as well. Well let’s start then by talking about Brazil
against Argentina. In terms of your MyHeritage DNA test, what percentage would you guess, both of you, that you are South American, let’s say? I think I am European. I don’t want to say 100% that I’m Spanish, but more or less. You spent a lot of your career in Italy, do you feel quite Italian? Yes, I think something in my blood is Italian,
I don’t know, I don’t know why. I want to understand. What is it that you identify with? Everything. When I put on my shirt to defend my country,
I feel really Argentinian. But in my normal life I feel like an Italian. So Gilberto, Hernán, let’s see then between you combined what your percentage of
South American DNA is. Let’s take a look There is South American DNA and it is
1.2%, but that’s between you, together. Do you want to know how it’s split? 1.2% is from Gilberto. It’s all Gilberto’s, that is correct. Hernán has absolutely no South American DNA. – No South American?
– No South American DNA at all. How much is mine? – 1.2%
– Only? – Only, yeah.
– Oh my God. It’s better than me. We fight all our lives during our career
to defend Brazil and Argentina. I’m not South American and he is only 1 point
South American. We fight for what? We fight for nothing. We do also, Hernán, have a surprise for you, as well.
Let’s see. You are 27.6% Italian. You’re more than a quarter
Italian in terms of your DNA. Wow. But where does it come from? Italy! Now I understand why it feels like home home, because it’s something that always made me ask, I’d say “Why do I keep this culture like it’s my culture?”, Italian culture. Maybe you could have played for Italy. Let’s move on then to England against Germany. It’s such a complex and long history, isn’t it, Lothar? Is that one of those moments where you
feel most German, When you’re up against one
of those big rivals? Yes, sure, I felt German. When I was a player, I played with a German mentality and when we played against another
country, another country could see this player there, he is really German. I feel a bit of a fraud because when I was growing up in Jamaica, my favourite team was West Germany. So until I came to England, I think I was probably German. Which could be interesting from a DNA point of view. What about your English DNA as an England international? I’m English. I don’t know whether I feel
as English as English people, but I feel as English as I can be. I know you’d love me to be Scottish, wouldn’t you? – Okay, I will say I’m more English than Scottish.
– I love Scotland, I didn’t say I’d love you to be Scottish, that’s a different thing. I would say I’m more English than Scottish, then. Okay, let’s take a look at the
reveal for John’s DNA, then. 16.5% Irish, Scottish and Welsh. Compared to your percentage of
Englishness… Which is 0%. You’re one of us! There you are, you’re a 16.5% Celt, John. Feel you made the right choice playing for England? If Scotland asked me before England, I definitely
would have played for Scotland or Northern Ireland or Wales. Right, Lothar, what do you expect
from your DNA results? Well, I know my father was born in Poland and I think I have DNA from East Europe. – Anything else?
– No. What if you were more English than German? I don’t think I have English influence but we have a lot of surprises here and I will not say anything anymore because it might be completely in the wrong direction. Let’s take a look, then, at your reveal
which shows that you are 24.7% north and west European, so that includes Germany, and 24.3% English You’re half English! So you are as English as you are German. I played for the wrong nation! Do you feel English? I didn’t feel English, but now I feel more English than before. I’ll get you some fish and chips for the way home. Moving on, though, to Italy against France. As far as Italy is concerned, do you feel
100% Italian, Gianluca? Yes, I was born in Italy, in Como. My mother and
my father were born in Italy. I’m Italian 100%. Right, Robert, do you think maybe you’re more Italian than French, do you think? – Italian?
– Could you be? What about if you were more French than Italian, Gianluca? What if? – It’s impossible!
– C’est pas possible!
– No way, no way! Let’s take a look at this result, then. This is one of you. One of you is 38.1% Italian. – Robert.
– He’s 100%! Yeah, you said 100%. So it’s me. It’s you. No. Yes! Congratulations! – We’re brothers!
– Maybe! Clarence, we know that you don’t have a team
to support this summer. So, we’ve searched your DNA to see which other countries you could support. Let’s take a look at the reveal. 6.3% Scandinavian. Welcome to Sweden! He looks like it. I feel Sweden. For your eyes, you know. My first real trip to Sweden was for the final of Ajax – Manchester in Stockholm, and it felt amazing. The city felt amazing. In my Afro Project, I said I
want to start in Sweden. Really? That’s amazing. Just by the feeling I had from the people and everything. Sometimes you go to places and you just have a feeling. You can be Spanish, you
can be German, you can be French, but at the end there is a whole
world that you can find and that’s what Clarence was saying. At the end you open
your mind to a whole world You can have a look now at what is happening in Spain in Catalonia. I was born in Barcelona and now we are feeling they’re trying to make you feel or see yourself as a Catalonian, and that’s it. I understand and I respect all the ideas, but at the end I was born in Barcelona,
my family grew up in the centre of Spain and I feel Spanish, I’ve always felt Spanish. I don’t like the feeling that they make me choose: “You have to be a Catalonian or Spanish,” because I don’t think that it should be. Another thing to show you is, when we were
researching your family histories, we did find a very lovely picture of one of
your great uncles. There are three men in the picture, we’re looking
at the middle one. So whose great-uncle do we think
the man in the middle is? Italian or Spanish family, no? Well it could be you if it’s
Italian. Robert Pires I think. – Why?
– No. He’s looking very musical and rhythmical, and I’ve seen Robert on the dance floor. – You play guitar.
– Yes, I said maybe it was mine, yeah. Maybe it was your uncle, if you get this
from your uncle maybe. My family is not musical. For me I think
I’m out from this. The next picture is of someone drinking beer, that’s
your great uncle. I give up. This gentleman is Rodrigo Mejias, and he is
Luis Garcia’s great uncle. – Uncle Rodrigo
– Yeah, uncle Rodrigo! So the photo was taken in Saceruala. No way! Yes. – Really?
– Why, why? This is the village where I grew up, I mean, my whole family is from that village. – Do you know what the Dia de los Quintos is?
– No. It was the day that the boys would go to
the City Hall to measure and weigh themselves to see if they qualified for military service. For military service, yeah of course. And they would play music, but they also used to
get very drunk. So it’s not just the musical connection, also the getting drunk beforehand, because obviously Luis Garcia, he drinks… He drinks sangria, yes. And finally, when you do your MyHeritage DNA test, the cheek swab also brings up some matches for your DNA, and we found someone that is related to one of you. So let’s take a look. Good day, Ian Wilson here from
Christchurch, New Zealand. I hear you may be a cousin. Well good luck to you if you’re one of those. If you want to have a look at my heritage it’s
there on the system Good luck and get in contact if you wish. Cheers. There he is then, Ian Wilson.
Who is he related to? I think he’s something from… influenced from Italy. So Hernan then. I’m Italian now. He’s Italian! One of the three Italians He just looks Scottish to me So you think it’s you? Yeah, I’ll go for me. You are absolutely right, it is your relative, John. Ian is your cousin No way! Ian, nice to see you mate. All the best. I was hoping for Obama but Ian will do. In terms of international football, in terms of
dividing people up into countries to compete against each other, is what we’ve
learnt today showing that that’s entirely false? You represent Argentina, Italy, France, and yet you all have this common thread. It’s just an indication, in a scientific way, of how we have more in common than divides us, really. For me it’s important to find where I came from, now I know. I discovered
new blood. My heritage, I think it’s important. I’ve always given importance to knowing my roots. I think it gives you peace of mind, and peace of soul as well. I’m not Dutch, I’m not Surinamese, I’ve lived around the world and for me
there’s only one humanity and that’s how I really feel and live. I
really feel like a world citizen. I mean, people come from everywhere. In sports, what’s so beautiful about football and any other sport is that it unites people. Even when I played, it always was about your teammates and the brotherhood you had with your teammates,
who were your family, who were your brothers, who happen to be called England
– not the other way around. Rivalry might be in the DNA of football,
but it’s not in the DNA of the fans and the players, and there are more
similarities than there are differences between all of us.