Politicians’ kids in sport Gaddafi’s son and Mussolini’s great-grandson as footballers, and Putin’s acrobat daughter

IF political power isn’t your thing, then a life in sport could well be.

Being an offspring of a politician doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow in their footsteps.

13

Saddam Hussein poses with his son Uday in 1988Credit: AFP – Getty
Al-Saadi Gaddafi, who became a professional footballer, was the son of the former Libyan leader

13

Al-Saadi Gaddafi, who became a professional footballer, was the son of the former Libyan leaderCredit: AFP – Getty

These kids broke free from their more famous fathers’ rules to become a acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll dancer and a Serie A footballer.

While others reigned football federations in terror, just like daddy did.

Katerina Tikhonova

Katerina, who was identified as Vladimir Putin’s daughter in 2015, is a skilled acrobatic rock’n’roll dancer and has competed in several competitions.

At a 2013 World Championship event in Switzerland, she came in fifth place with partner Ivan Klimov.

The 34-year-old is vice-president of the World Rock’n’Roll Confederation, and also a senior official in the sport’s national federation, chairing its international committee and committee for Russian regional development.

Katerina Tikhonova is the daughter of Vladimir Putin

13

Katerina Tikhonova is the daughter of Vladimir PutinCredit: East2west News
She is a skilled acrobatic rock 'n' roll dancer and came fifth in 2013 World Championship

13

She is a skilled acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll dancer and came fifth in 2013 World ChampionshipCredit: Reuters
Vladimir Putin kept his daughter's identity secret until 2015

13

Vladimir Putin kept his daughter’s identity secret until 2015Credit: Reuters

Robert Mugabe Jr

Son of the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Robert Jr had aspirations of playing in the NBA – until US sanctions meant he couldn’t play in America.

Instead, he has had to ply his trade in his homeland – and in 2019 he was controversially selected to play for the national team.

It was suggested the 28-year-old was picked because of his name, rather than any serious talent.

Robert Mugabe Jr flanks his famous father

13

Robert Mugabe Jr flanks his famous fatherCredit: AFP – Getty
Mugabe Jr plays basketball in Zimbabwe

13

Mugabe Jr plays basketball in ZimbabweCredit: Instagram

Al-Saadi Gaddafi

The third son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Al-Saadi, now 47, was a talented footballer. At least we were made to believe so.

After starring in Libya in games that were pre-arranged to make him appear better, he ended up being signed by Italian Serie A team Perugia in 2003, employing Diego Maradona as a consultant and Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as his personal trainer.

He made one appearance from the bench, before failing a drugs test.

In 2005, he joined Udinese and played just 10 minutes of a match. He was later at Sampdoria, where he never made his debut.

“Even at twice his current speed he would still be twice as slow as slow itself,” Italian newspaper la Repubblica revealed of Gaddafi’s sporting ability.

Al-Saadi Gaddafi in action for Perugia

13

Al-Saadi Gaddafi in action for PerugiaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Romano Floriani Mussolini

No prizes for guessing who Romano Floriani is related to, yes he’s former Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini’s great-grandson.

The 18-year-old is, apparently, a decent footballer and impressed for Lazio’s U23 side in recent weeks at right back, so much so he was signed by the club.

“Here at Lazio I’m judged only for the way I play and not because my surname is Mussolini,” he told Roman daily Il Messaggero.

Must’ve helped though, given Lazio’s famous ultras ‘Irriducibile’ are well-known for their fascist banners worshipping Mussolini?

Romano Floriani Mussolini is the great-grandson of former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini

13

Romano Floriani Mussolini is the great-grandson of former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini

Dr Antonio Castro

Fidel Castro had a deep love for baseball – and during the old regime in Cuba he would often throw the first pitch to kick off their season, while he also reportedly tried out for the NY Yankees.

His son Antonio went into medicine, after having aspirations too of starring in the sport.

He ended up becoming the Cuban baseball national team’s doctor instead.

Dr Antonio Castro attends to an injury as Cuba team doctor

13

Dr Antonio Castro attends to an injury as Cuba team doctorCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Valentin Ceausescu

Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s son Valentin was almost as tyrannical as his father.

Valentin, now 72, enjoyed a spell as Steaua Bucharest director in the 1980s and ran the rule over the Romanian football league.

Famously, he would snatch players from rivals without paying transfer fees.

The biggest case was the signing of Romania’s most famous star, Gheorghe Hagi who joined from lowly Sportul ahead of the European Super Cup final.

In what was meant to be a loan for just one game became a permanent signing because Valentin didn’t want to give Hagi back.

Nicolae Nicolae Ceausescu's son Valentin's son Valentin was director at Steaua Bucharest in the 1980s

13

Nicolae Nicolae Ceausescu’s son Valentin’s son Valentin was director at Steaua Bucharest in the 1980sCredit: Alamy
Valentin Ceausescu famously signed Gheorghe Hagi without paying a transfer fee

13

Valentin Ceausescu famously signed Gheorghe Hagi without paying a transfer feeCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

Uday Hussein

Those Iraqi footballers must’ve been quaking in their boots every time they played.

When he was head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and Iraq Football Association, he ruled with an iron fist.

There were reports that he used to call up the dressing room at half-time if the Iraq national team was under-performing and threaten to cut off players’ legs and throw them to ravenous dogs.

He was also said to have kept a private torture scorecard with written instructions how many times each player should be beaten on the soles of their feet depending on how they played.

Now that makes the Sir Alex Ferguson ‘hair-dryer’ seem tame.

Like his father, Uday Hussein ruled the Iraq football federation with an iron fist and tortured underperforming players

13

Like his father, Uday Hussein ruled the Iraq football federation with an iron fist and tortured underperforming playersCredit: AFP – Getty
Real Madrid looking to cash in on Vinicius Jr after former £39m wonderkid branded ‘next Neymar’ hits ‘rock bottom’