Football has been a family affair for so many of the players and managers who have made their name in the game both in the UK and further afield. There has been no shortage of brothers that have played at the same time and often in the same team. It’s also far from unheard of to see a young player follow in the footsteps of a parent. Cruyff, Ferguson and Haaland are some names that have passed through generations. And along with the Willock brothers, Arsenal have some part in that legacy through their young winger Marcelo Flores, capped three times for Mexico and the son of a former international coach.
Marcelo has a cosmopolitan background. He has represented England at youth level, was born in Canada. While he is currently on loan at Real Oviedo, he holds out significant hopes of being the star pupil of a family that has had enduring success in football at a number of levels. And a quick look at his history and heritage shows that both football and Arsenal specifically hold a particularly cherished place in the heart of the Flores family.
One of the Next Generation
Marcelo was selected as one of the Guardian’s Next Generation 2020, which earmarks players who are set for big futures. Along with the Canadian national squad and past footballers with Canadian heritage such as Owen Hargreaves, he’s one of many success stories that have led to bettors at Betano in Canada becoming ever more excited by the achievements of a country whose football heritage is unknown to too many people. And while he has chosen to represent Mexico at international level, his dad’s coaching history in both Canada and England has ensured that both countries have a place in his heart.
A talented family
Not only was father Ruben a fine footballer, playing professionally in Mexico and Canada, he turned his hand to coaching at the end of his career when Marcelo was still a toddler. And clearly there is something in the blood, as not only has Marcelo gone on to play international and club football, but sisters Silvana and Tatiana have also demonstrated their talent, spending time at the Arsenal academy before recently moving to Chelsea. All three siblings have followed their father by declaring for Mexico, although with an English-Canadian mother and significant footballing ties to England, they are all making an impact on this side of the Atlantic.
The future for Flores?
Marcelo remains contracted to Arsenal, and with the improvements demonstrated under Mikel Arteta, the club’s youth program is already demonstrating its ability to save the club significant transfer fees by developing top young talent. As Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith-Rowe and brilliant England international Bukayo Saka are showing, there is a pathway from Arsenal’s academy and development loan program to the first team. With a little luck, we could be adding the Flores name to that roll of honour sooner rather than later.
Arsenal themselves are believed to see Flores as a significant part of their future, and have been prepared to give Real Oviedo an ultimatum over what they have considered to be a lack of use of the attacking midfielder. A player of his age who has already broken into the Mexican national side can certainly be said to have something about him. In Marcelo’s case, that “something” seems to extend throughout his family. With the World Cup coming to both Mexico and Canada in 2026, everyone involved with the Flores camp will be hoping it’s a triumphant homecoming for Marcelo.