El Centrocampista

Are the Reinas the best goalkeeping family in football?

Pepe Reina is accepted as one of best goalkeepers currently playing the game and has lifted two  European Championships and a World Cup as a member of the all-conquering Spanish national squad.

The Liverpool number one is also arguably the most consistent stopper in the Barclays premier League and has been a great success since arriving on Merseyside in 2005.

It is little surprise he has flourished in the professional game of course, with a father who starred between the posts for Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and the national side, you could say it was almost expected. In fact, Pepe and his father, Miguel are probably the greatest goalkeeping family in Spanish football.

Pepe attened Barcelona’s La Masia academy as a youth player, however he was not destined to remain at the club. Despite showing early promise and making his debut at just 18 following injuries to first choice keepers, Dutruel and Arnau, Reina was allowed to leave in 2002 after making just 30 appearances for Barca.

He made the short journey south to Villarreal  where he soon established himself as first choice goalkeeper, and for three years he guarded the Villarreal net making 109 appearances. His performances did not go unnoticed either. Liverpool’s Spanish Manager Rafa Benitez, was a keen admirer of the shot stopper and in the summer of 2005 the reds came in to buy him.

Reina settled well in England and was soon hailed as one of the top keepers in the league. He played a pivotal role in the side managed by former Anfield great Kenny Dalglish and is sure to be the cornerstone of the Liverpool side under new boss, Brendan Rodgers.

Known for his distribution and skills in a one on one situation, Reina is still under 30-years-old and has some of his best years ahead of him, despite already being recognised as a great.

Pepe Reina is born of good stock. His father Miguel was also an exceptional goalkeeper. Reina senior began his career in the early 1960’s playing for home town and first division side Cordoba. It wasn’t long, just two seasons in fact, before he was noticed by a bigger club. In 1966 he joined Spanish giants Barcelona.

At the time however, Spanish football was being dominated by Real Madrid who won a remarkable eight la liga titles, and this perhaps means Reina does not get the acclaim he deserves, despite playing over one hundred games for the Catalan giants.

Reina’s time at the Camp Nou was not without success either as Barca won the Copa del Rey twice while he was there and he also lifted the Ricardo Zamora trophy in 1973.

His time at Barcelona came to an end soon after and  he moved on to Atletico Madrid. It was at Atleti that Miguel Reina enjoyed his most successful period as a player, his side won the Intercontinental Cup in his first season and went on to secure liga and copa titles.

Reina also appeared in 1974 European Cup Final as Atletico took on Bayern Munich in the pinnacle of club game. Despite a strong performer however, the German champions proved too good for the Spaniards and Miguel had to settle for a runners-up medal. 33 years later and it was his son who was left with the bitter taste of defeat as Liverpool lost the 2007 Champions League final to Ac Milan.

Miguel also represented Spain but his international career was limited, making just five appearances for the national side. However caps were rarer in those days, as international matches were limited, and he did go to the 1966 World Cup as a substitute.

Pepe’s international career has also been limited. Although he has tasted success he is yet to reach 25 caps for Spain. That is largely down to the exceptional Iker Casillas, had he not been around it is likely that Reina would have a century of caps by now.

Between them the pair have lifted 15 trophies; including a World Cup, two European Championship, three Copa del Reys and a League title, and with Pepe’s career not ending any time soon, he will surely go on to add to that haul.

There are few families who can boast two footballing stars, let alone two who have been so successful and the Reina’s must surely go down as one of the greatest goalkeeping dynasties in history.

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