Neuer and Özil: which players went to school together?

When Bayern take on Arsenal, former school-mates Manuel Neuer and Mesut Özil will renew acquaintances; looks at some other schools with famous footballing alumni.

Mesut Özil (left) and Manuel Neuer in their early days at Schalke
Mesut Özil (left) and Manuel Neuer in their early days at Schalke ©Getty Images

When Bayern welcome Arsenal to the Fußball Arena München for their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie, old school-mates Manuel Neuer and Mesut Özil will be reunited.

The pair, plus another future German international Benedikt Höwedes, attended the Gesamtschule in Gelsenkirchen, with the school's Berger Feld right beside the home ground of Schalke. The proximity of the football stadium may well have been a distraction.

"[Özil] was a shy and introverted pupil who had nothing on his mind but football," according to one former teacher, while Neuer was less conspicuous: "You never saw him as a future professional."

The goalkeeper retains strong link with his alma mater, even paying for a daily fruit basket for one age group. Özil left in 2005 with a secondary school certificate; Höwedes still attended during his early years as a Schalke professional and finished his A levels there. looks at the footballing alumni of other notable schools across Europe.

OŠ Bratstvo-jedinstvo (now called OŠ Blago Zadro), Vukovar
Hajduk Split star and current Croatia assistant coach Ante Miše and Siniša Mihajlović – a 1991 European Cup winner with Crvena zvezda and now coach of Torino – went to the same elementary school in Vukovar. "He's two years younger than me, but we were competing together for the school team in all kinds of sports," said Miše.

Na Marjánce elementary school, Prague
Ladislav Krejčí (Bologna), Jiří Skalák (Brighton) and Pavel Kadeřábek (Hoffenheim) have ascended the ranks together from their schooldays, progressing to the Sparta youth teams, the Czech Republic junior set-up and now the senior side. "It's been a shared dream since childhood to get so far together," said Kadeřábek. "It's always a nice feeling travelling for international duty knowing I'll see friends I've known since I was little."

Hatem Ben Arfa (left) and Karim Benzema went to the same school
Hatem Ben Arfa (left) and Karim Benzema went to the same school©Getty Images

Collège St Bruno, Lyon
The most famous products of Lyon's academy went to Collège St Bruno, with Karim Benzema, Hatem Ben Arfa and Loïc Remy all attending at the same time, while later Alexandre Lacazette, Clément Grenier and Maxime Gonalons were also class-mates. Meanwhile in Caen, Jérôme Rothen and William Gallas studied together – though the former had to make an apology to Gallas after an unflattering anecdote about his team-mate's maths abilities in his autobiography.

School No170, Kyiv
In 1985 an experimental 'special football class' was created by Oleksandr Kroschenko, a well-known youth coach in Ukraine, at the regular No170 school in Kyiv. Many former pupils went on to become professionals, with three – Olexandr Shovkovskiy, Vladyslav Vaschuk and Serhiy Fedorov – all advancing to Valeriy Lobanovskiy's Dynamo Kyiv team and Ukraine's side.

Milan Munjas elementary school, Ub
An elementary school roughly 50km from Belgrade provided the schooling for some of Serbia's foremost players, including Dragan Džajić widely considered one of Yugoslavia's greatest players – and Dušan Savić, plus current Chelsea man Nemanja Matić and Radoslav Petrović, now in Lisbon with Sporting. Maths teacher Miss Paripović seems to have made a particular impression: she's Džajić's godmother. 

Şehremini Lisesi, Istanbul
The high school was used by Galatasaray to educate their young players between 1995 and 2005. Future Turkish internationals Fatih Akyel (1995), Emre Belözoğlu (1997), Arda Turan (2004) all graduated while Sabri Sarıoğlu attended for a year.

Open Scholtengemeenschap Bijlmer, Amsterdam
Tottenham and Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld joined the Ajax academy as a teenager and, as a result according to one interview at least, found himself in the same class as Daley Blind, now of Manchester United.

Ajax team-mates Toby Alderweireld (left) and Daley Blind were in the same class
Ajax team-mates Toby Alderweireld (left) and Daley Blind were in the same class©Getty Images

Carnation Street Elementary, Budapest
Near neighbours growing up, 'Magical Magyars' Ferenc Puskás and József Bozsik were school-mates (if not class-mates, Bozsik being 18 months older) at the institution a stone's throw from Budapest Honvéd's home ground. László 'Ladislao' Kubala and fellow Hungarian international István Mike also studied together in the same primary school in Budapest's eighth district.

Eastbury Secondary School, London
Two future England captains came through at Eastbury school in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham: Bobby Moore, skipper of the 1966 FIFA World Cup winners, and John Terry, who has captained Chelsea to assorted trophies in England and Europe.

Chingford School, London
Elsewhere in London, Chingford School was attended by David Beckham prior to his joining Manchester United in 1991 and, almost 20 years later, Harry Kane before he burst onto the scene with Tottenham.

Strahimir Kranjčević elementary school and MIOC high school, Zagreb
Niko Kranjčar paved the way for Andrej Kramarić, who is seven years his junior; not only did the duo go to the same elementary and high schools, but both would launch their careers at Dinamo Zagreb.

Whitchurch High School, Cardiff
The school boasts a fine sporting pedigree as Gareth Bale and Wales rugby union international Sam Warburton were in the same class, three years behind cyclist Geraint Thomas, an Olympic gold medallist in 2008 and 2012.