A coach is responsible for team management, squad selection and a more tactical overview of a side, it is a team captain’s role to act as the official leader both in the dressing room and on the pitch.
Good leadership qualities are vital in a captain – or a ‘skipper’, as they are called in England – and they are the person that players in the team look up to for inspiration, guidance and motivation.
In this thread, we shall be looking at some active footballers with an outstanding legacy as captains.
Feel free to join the discussion and share your views
Manuel Neuer has been an ever-present figure between the sticks for both Bayern Munich and Germany. He has made 457 appearances for the German giants and 108 for his country. Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of our time, Neuer has been wearing the armband with great pride in what is his fourth season.
Jordan Henderson was named captain of the Reds in 2015, despite the uncertainties and mood swings. He had served as vice-captain on a few occasions when Gerrard was towards the end of his career and a successor needed to be found. When it came to Henderson, however, Liverpool’s fanbase was less forgiving.
After all, here was a man who was previously regarded as a harbinger of the club’s stormy past, a man who was frequently chastised for his’sideways passing.’ The England international, on the other hand, paid little attention to the critics and as since then went about his business in the correct attitude for the club.
A man whose passion for the game is unmatched. The adrenaline rush he gets from defending just helps him enjoy the game so much that even the armband does not exert enough pressure. Giorgio Chiellini has been an excellent servant to Serie A giants Juventus and deserves to captain the club he loves.
A natural leader who will wage war on the field and play dirty if that’s the need of the hour, Sergio Ramos is one of the best captains in modern football. Currently at PSG, the Spaniard isn’t fit to feature regularly and is not the proud bearer of the captain’s armband but he will always be Real Madrid’s ‘captain fantastic’.
The Denmark captain has been praised for his actions after team-mate Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the pitch just before half-time during Denmark’s group B loss against Finland in Copenhagen at Euro 2020 earlier this year.
Along with English referee Anthony Taylor and the medical teams, central defender Kjaer has been “hailed a hero” for his quick response.
Among the first to attend Eriksen, the 32-year-old has been credited with playing a potentially life-saving role. He also led the Danish players to form a ring around Eriksen while he was receiving treatment and helped comfort Sabrina Kvist Jensen, the player’s distraught partner.
After 16 years with the Blancos, the Spain international left the 13-time European champions last summer as perhaps their greatest modern icon. One of the game’s biggest personalities, brimming with ego but boasting the quality to back it up.
The Andalusian played for Real Madrid for 16 seasons, in a total of 671 games, scoring a remarkable 101 goals and lifting 22 trophies. Only Paco Gento (23) has more, winning those in the 1950s and 60s. The six European cups he won cannot be compared to the four Ramos has lifted, which were achieved under far greater competition in the modern era.
Since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1992, no side had managed to win it for two seasons in a row, until Ramos captained Madrid to three consecutive trophies, between 2016-2018.
And yet, perhaps his greatest individual effort was in their 2014 triumph.