One of the most famous siblings in football is Diego and Gabriel Milito. In the last week of May 2016, Argentina’s Primera Division match marked the retirement of 36-year-old Diego Milito.
Not far from Buenos Aires, Gabriel Milito, Diego’s younger brother was appointed to be the manager of Atlético Independiente Club. For a moment, one of the most attractive football sibling pairs returned to where it all began.
Born in Bernal, Argentina, Diego first saw the beauty of the world on June 12, 1979, while Gabriel followed 15 months later on September 7, 1980. These two children were transformed into boys who liked to play football.
Despite being the younger, Gabriel was the first one to go through a professional career in 1997 strengthening Independiente. On the other hand, Diego underwent his first professional career two years later by defending Racing Club.
Those two teams are the teams that have high rivalry titled clásico de Avellaneda. No wonder that this sibling competition became fierce. From 1999 to 2003, Diego and Gabriel Milito made Avellaneda become a family affair.
Getting recruited by a Racing Club at the age of 20 and nicknamed El Principé for his resemblance with Uruguayan legend Enzo Francescoli, Diego spent his early career as the spearhead of the club.
In the same city, Gabriel was an established central defender, achiever and has been appointed to be the captain of the Independiente despite being 22 years old. At the same age, he took Independiente out as the champion of the Argentine league.
With the spirit of defending their respective teams, both of them set aside blood relations when they were on the field. At the first Avellaneda Derby, both Diego and Gabriel clashed, interrupted and intimidated each other. In that fight, Gabriel must see his brother receive a red card.
In the second derby, their parents and their respective girlfriends who decide to go home even though the game had just been running in the early minutes. The reason was that they could not see their loved ones fighting in the field, mocking and physically colliding with each other.
After nearly four years of intense competition with fierce rivalry. Both of them moved from South America to Europe in 2003 and since then they have only occasionally been enemies, hated temporarily and respected each other as teammates.
In July 2003, Real Madrid became the first big club to ignore the Milito brothers. Gabriel, who at that time had not fully recovered from a knee injury, was not accepted by Los Blancos and eventually joined Real Zaragoza instead.
Meanwhile, his brother was still in Argentina when Gabriel was appointed to be a captain at Real Zaragoza. Since there was no interest from big clubs to bring Diego, Genoa, who were then playing in Serie B, did not miss the opportunity to sign him at the end of 2003.
During one and a half seasons with Genoa, he scored 33 goals in 59 appearances and crowned the 2004-05 season by scoring two goals in a 3-2 win at home against Venezia.
The victory confirmed the Serie B title which also made Genoa getting the promotion to join Serie A after a decade. However, there was a controversy over the match-fixing accusations where Venezia was considered not too serious in the match which caused Genoa to easily win the title of Serie B.
After an investigation, the Genoa Serie B title was revoked and they were sentenced to caste to Serie C. Meanwhile, Diego Milito escaped the charge and at the same time, he was planning his move to Real Zaragoza.
In the 2005/06 season, Diego officially wore Zaragoza’s uniformed and for the first time, he would play together as a teammate with his younger brother, Gabriel. In his first season, Diego came out as the club’s top scorer including his four goals in the 2006 Copa del Rey semifinals against Real Madrid.
Diego increased the number of goals in the 2006/07 season. He only disputed two goals under La Liga’s top scorer, Ruud van Nistelrooy. Even so, it was Gabriel who won a lot of praise for his impressive performance.
Gabriel’s satisfying performance attracted the interest of Frank Rijkaard, the Barca coach at the time. Until finally Gabriel decided to dock at Los Cules in July 2007. There, Gabriel became a regular player in his first season.
But in his second season, Gabriel did not play at all due to severe injury problems he experienced when competing against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the championship semifinals in the 2007/08 season.
After more than a year of not playing, Gabriel returned for a competitive match on 5 January 2010 in a match against Sevilla. On the other hand, after being the captain of Zaragoza like his younger brother used to, Diego anchored to Inter Milan in the summer of 2009.
Diego’s inaugural season at Inter was sensational. He scored 30 goals in 52 matches in all competitions. Then, Diego’s two goals in the Champions League final also confirmed the unprecedented treble for Inter Milan. In the same year, Diego also helped Inter win the Copa Italia by scoring 1 goal when Inter won the match 3-1 in the final against Palermo.
On his way to winning the champions league trophy, Diego had a chance to face his brother in the semi-final phase during the match against Barca in the second leg held at Camp Nou.
Unfortunately, Gabriel only survived in the first round, but for 45 minutes the two brothers wildly clashed with the greatness. In the end, Diego was the one to smile, even though his team lost 1-0, but Inter won a goal aggregate from Barca to advance to the final.
After only 16 appearances with Barca in the 2010/11 season, Gabriel returned to Argentina to strengthen his old club, Independiente. However, the frequency of injuries caused Gabriel to hang up his boots in 2012.
Meanwhile, after shining under the Italian sky, Diego also returned to his old club, Racing Club in 2014 before deciding to retire two years later.
At the national team level, Gabriel collected caps 35 times and scored 1 goal. While Diego scored 4 goals in 24 appearances. During his career as a footballer, these two players have collected a total of 21 trophies.