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Best Football Captains of All Time

Thu 06 May 2021 | 4:30

Sportmob has gathered the most legendary and Best Football Captains of All Time.

In the world of football, the captain's role is often undervalued. However, the man who wears the coveted armband will always make the difference between a great team and one that can take on any opponent and be regarded as one of the all-time greats.

The captain, as the only footballer with any authority on the field, is a symbol of consistency and composure as he leads his team to well-earned, well-deserved victories. At other times, he is the team's inspirational leader, as well as the manager's second pair of eyes.

A great captain does not have to be the greatest player on any given squad, nor does he or she have to be a footballer of exceptional ability. However, something unique is needed for this person to inspire his companions to excellence.

It may be an unshakeable spirit, unwavering dedication, or the desire to lead by example that motivates those around them on the field to perform at their best. A captain understands his job and the obligations of his teammates, and he motivates them to perform at their best.

While they may not be the best players on the team, they command the most respect.

Best Football Captains of All Time

We have come up with a comprehensive list of our own presenting the best captains in the history of football

Oliver Kahn

Oliver Rolf Kahn (born 15 June 1969) is a former goalkeeper for the

German national team

.

In 1975, he made his debut for the Karlsruher SC Junior team. Kahn first became known in a professional match twelve years later.

He was transferred to Bayern Munich in 1994 for a fee of DM4.6 million, where he remained until his retirement in 2008.

His dominant presence in goal and aggressive approach won him nicknames from the press and fans alike, including Der Titan (the Titan) and Vol-kahn-o ("volcano").

Kahn is one of Germany's most decorated players, having claimed eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League in 2001, and the Intercontinental Cup also in 2001.

His individual achievements have won him a record four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards, three IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper awards, and two German Footballer of the Year trophies, making him one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.

Kahn won the Golden Ball at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, making him the first goalkeeper to do so in the tournament's history.

Carlos Alberto Torres

Carlos Alberto "Capita" Torres (17 July 1944 – 25 October 2016), also known as "O Capitao do Tri", was a Brazilian footballer and football manager who played as an attacking right-sided full-back or wing-back. 

He is commonly recognized as one of the greatest defenders of all time.

He is a technically talented defender with good ball skills and defensive capabilities.

He was also known for his leadership and was a great penalty taker.

He was known as "O Capitao" for leading

the Brazilian national team

to victory in the 1970 World Cup, scoring the fourth goal in the final, which is considered one of the best in tournament history.

Carlos Alberto was a member of the World Team of the Twentieth Century and was called to Pele's FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players in 2004.

He was inducted into the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame and was a member of the United States National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Carlos Alberto was elected one of six Ambassadors for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in January 2013, alongside Ronaldo, Bebeto, Mario Zagallo, Amarildo, and Marta.

Carlos Alberto was born in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Carlos Alexandre Torres, a fellow player, is his son.

Torres died of a heart attack on October 25, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

He worked as a sports commentator for the Brazilian channel SporTV, and he had only appeared live on studio two days before his death, precisely one month after his twin died.

John Terry

John George Terry (born December 7, 1980) is an English professional football coach and former center-back.

He has also served as captain of

Chelsea

, the England national team, and Aston Villa, where he is currently the assistant head coach.

Terry was a powerful, tenacious, commanding, and physical defender who excelled in the air and was renowned for his aggressive tackling, positioning, leadership, and ability to read the game; he is regarded as one of his generation's best central defenders.

Terry was appointed UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008, and 2009, as well as PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2005 and five consecutive seasons in the FIFPro World XI from 2005 to 2009.

He was also named to the 2006 FIFA World Cup all-star team, making him the only English player to do so.

Terry has led Chelsea to five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League title, and one UEFA Champions League title.

He is one of only five Chelsea players to have appeared in over 500 games and is the club's all-time leading scorer.

In a 1–0 victory over Manchester United at the new Wembley Stadium in 2007, he became the first captain to lift the FA Cup there, as well as the first player to net an international goal there, scoring a header in England's 1–1 draw with Brazil.

He became the first player to captain a team to the Premier League title five times in his final season at Chelsea in 2017.

Steven Gerrard

Steven George Gerrard, MBE (born 30 May 1980) is a retired English professional footballer who played in the central midfield position.

He spent most of his career with Premier League club

Liverpool

, serving as their captain for the majority of the period.

In February 2017, he would join Liverpool Academy as a full-time coach. Gerrard played 17 seasons for Liverpool, making his debut in 1998, cementing his place in the first team in 2000, and taking over as captain from Sami Hyypia in 2003.

Two FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Cup, and one UEFA Super Cup are among his awards.

Liverpool came back from a 3–0 loss to beat Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final, with Gerrard scoring the first goal and winning the penalty kick for the third.

In July 2015, he joined the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer, where he spent one and a half seasons before leaving on November 24, 2016.

Gerrard made his international debut for England in 2000 and went on to appear in the UEFA European Football Championships in 2000, 2004, and 2012, as well as the 2006, 2010, and 2014 FIFA World Cups, where he captained the team in the latter two tournaments.

Francesco Totti

Francesco Totti (born September 27, 1976) is an Italian professional footballer who currently plays for and captains Roma.

His main positions are attacking midfielder and second striker, though he has also played as a lone striker and winger.

Totti has spent his whole career at Roma, winning a Serie A championship, two Coppa Italia titles, and two Supercoppa Italiana titles.

He is the club's all-time leading goalscorer and most capped player.

Besides, Totti holds the record for being the youngest club captain in Serie A history.

Totti, also known as Il Bimbo d'Oro (The Golden Boy), Il Re di Roma (The King of Rome), Er Pupone (The Big Baby), and Il Gladiatore (The Gladiator) by the Italian sports media, is the top goalscorer among presently active players in Serie A and the second-highest goalscorer in Italian league history with 250 goals;

he also holds the record for the most goals scored in Serie A while playing for a single club.

Totti is regarded as one of the greatest Italian players of all time, one of the most skilled players of his generation, and Roma's greatest ever player.

He is a creative attacking playmaker best known for his vision, technical abilities, and goalscoring.

Javier Zanetti

Javier Adelmar Zanetti (born August 10, 1973) is a retired Argentine footballer who played as a defender or midfielder and is one of the best captains in football history.

In Argentina, he began his career with Talleres and then Banfield.

He played for

Inter Milan

from 1995 to 2014, serving as captain from 1999, earning him the nickname "Il Capitano" ("The Captain").

With 1114 official games played, he ranks fifth all-time in career appearances.

He is also the international player with the most Serie A appearances (615) and ranks fourth in the league behind only Paolo Maldini, Gianluigi Buffon, and Francesco Totti.

He has 858 caps for Inter and has won 16 trophies with the side, including five Scudetti, four Coppa Italia, four Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Cup, one Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

He is also the most capped player in the Champions League as a captain (82).

He is indeed one of the Most Legendary Club Captains in football history.

He appeared in 145 games for Argentina's national team, making him the player with the most appearances in La Albiceleste's history.

With Argentina, he reached the Copa America finals in 2004 and 2007, as well as the Confederations Cup finals in 1995 and 2005.

Didier Deschamps

Didier Claude Deschamps (born October 15, 1968) is a former French footballer and the new manager of the national team of France.

He is one of the best football captains of all time.

He was a defensive midfielder for Marseille, Juventus, Chelsea, Valencia, Nantes, and Bordeaux, among other clubs in France, Italy, England, and Spain.

Former France teammate Eric Cantona called Deschamps "the water-carrier," and he was an articulate and hardworking defensive midfielder who excelled at regaining possession and then initiating offensive plays.

He was also known for his leadership throughout his career.

The French international was capped 103 times and competed in three UEFA European Football Championships and one FIFA World Cup, captaining his country to victories in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Deschamps was a member of the

Marseille

squad that became the first, and so far only, French club to win the Champions League in 1993;

With the Champions League triumph, Deschamps became the youngest captain ever to lead his team to the championship, proving himself as one of the best football captains ever.

Between 1996 and 1998, he appeared in three Champions League finals with Juventus, winning the title in 1996.

He also won the UEFA Super Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, three Serie A titles, and other trophies with the Turin side.

He won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 1999–2000, as well as reaching another Champions League final with Valencia in 2001 before retiring later that year.

Francisco Gento

Francisco "Paco" Gento Lopez (born October 21, 1933) is a former left-winger for the Spanish national team and one of the

Most Legendary Club Captains in football history.

Gento started his career in 1952 with Racing Santander before joining

Real Madrid

the following year.

He played in an incredible eight European Cup finals, winning six of them, and he also won 12 La Liga titles.

Gento won 43 caps for Spain during his 14-year international career, including appearances in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.

Gento was a member of the squad that won the European Football Championship in 1964, one of the greatest accomplishments in the team's history.

Being one of the best football captains of all time, Gento was appointed Honorary President of Real Madrid following the death of Alfredo Di Stefano.

Gento was an incredibly quick left-winger with outstanding vision and technical skills, making him an effective assist provider.

He was known as one of the greatest Spanish players of all time and one of the greatest ever players in his position.

He was a goalscoring threat due to his striking abilities from distance, in addition to his power and creativity.

Bobby Moore

Robert Frederick Chelsea "Bobby" Moore OBE (12 April 1941 – 24 February 1993) was an English professional footballer, one of the

best football captains of all time.

He was the captain of the

England

team that won the 1966 World Cup and captained West Ham United for more than ten years.

He is largely viewed as one of the best defenders of all time, and Pele once described him as the best defender he had ever faced.

Moore is a member of the 20th Century World Team. He had a total of 108 caps for England, which was a national record at the time of his international retirement in 1973. Later, 125-cap goalkeeper Peter Shilton broke the record.

Moore's 108 caps remained a record for outfield players until David Beckham won his 109th cap on March 28, 2009. Moore was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame for the first time in 2002, in honor of his contributions to the English game as a player.

In the same year, he was named to the BBC's 100 Greatest Britons list.

As a result of England's triumph, Moore and the other two West Ham players became national icons, bringing the World Cup around the grounds that West Ham visited during the subsequent domestic season.

He is definitely one of the best captains in football history

Johan Cruyff

Hendrik Johannes "Johan" Cruijff OON was a Dutch professional football player and coach from 1947 to 2016.

He is one of the

best captains in football history.

He won the Ballon d'Or three times as a player, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. Cruyff is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in football history and was the most prominent proponent of the football theory known as Total Football, which was pioneered by Rinus Michels.

Dutch football grew from near anonymity to become a powerhouse in the sport during the 1970s.

Cruyff led the Netherlands to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final and was awarded the tournament's Golden Ball.

He executed a feint that was later named after him, the Cruyff Turn, in the 1974 finals, a move that has since been commonly repeated in the modern game.

Cruyff began his professional career at Ajax, where he won the Eredivisie, three European Cups, and one Intercontinental Cup.

He transferred to

Barcelona

for a world-record transfer fee in 1973 and won La Liga in his first season, earning him the title of European Footballer of the Year.

Cruyff became an extremely successful manager of Ajax and later Barcelona after retiring from playing in 1984, and since being one of the greatest soccer captains of all time, he remained an important advisor to both clubs.

Diego Maradona

Diego Armando Maradona was an Argentine football manager and retired professional footballer who lived from October 30, 1960, to November 25, 2020.

He was unquestionably one of the

best football captains of all time.

He was the coach of Gimnasia de La Plata in Argentina's Primera Division before his death.

He is generally regarded as one of the best football players of all time, and many consider him to be the best of all time.

He was one of two joint recipients of the FIFA Player of the Century award in the twentieth century.

Maradona's vision, passing, ball control, and dribbling abilities were combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in), which enabled him to maneuver better than most other football players;

On a run, he would often dribble past several opposition players, proving himself to be placed among the best football captains ever.

On the field, his presence and leadership had a significant impact on his team's overall success, and he was often singled out by the opposition.

He was regarded as a free-kick specialist and had an eye for goal in addition to his creative skills.

Maradona earned the nickname "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy") early in his career as a result of his exceptional talent.

Franco Baresi

Franco Baresi is an Italian football youth team coach, as well as a former player and manager. He was born on May 8, 1960 and he is one of the

best football captains ever.

He spent his entire 20-year career with Serie A club

A.C. Milan

, captaining the club for 15 seasons.

He mostly played as a sweeper or central defender. He is regarded as one of the best defenders of all time, and he was ranked 19th among the 100 greatest players of the twentieth century by World Soccer.

He won three Champions Leagues, six Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana titles, three European Super Cups, and two Intercontinental Cups.

Considered one of the best football captains of all time, he won the 1982 FIFA World Cup with Italy.

He also participated in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, making the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team and placing third in the tournament.

He was named Italy's captain for the 1994 FIFA World Cup and was a key member of the squad that advanced to the final, despite missing a penalty in the subsequent shoot-out, as Brazil won the tournament.

Baresi has played for Italy in two UEFA European Championships, in 1980 and 1988, as well as the 1984 Olympics, where he reached the semi-finals on both occasions.

Carles Puyol

Carles Puyol Saforcada (born April 13, 1978) is a former professional footballer from Spain.

He was mostly a central defender, but he could also play on either flank, mostly as a right-back, and is widely regarded as one of the best defenders of all time and also one of the

best football captains of all time.

After taking over from Luis Enrique Spanish footballer and manager in August 2004, he acted as the long-time team captain for his only club Barcelona, appearing in 593 competitive matches for the club and winning 18 major titles, including six La Liga trophies and three Champions League titles.

Puyol has 100 caps for Spain and was a member of the squad that won the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup tournaments.

Puyol was known for his imposing presence in the air, his calmness on the pitch, and his unwavering dedication and resilience, all of which make him one of the Greatest Soccer Captains of All Time.

He was "the strongest, who has the quickest reactions, and who has the most explosive strength," according to Barcelona's head doctor.

He was dubbed "The Wall" by club supporters. Miguel Angel Nadal, who played with him for a short period of time, said, "Carles plays with maturity, has great positional sense, and above all, has pride in his shirt."

Paolo Maldini

 

Paolo Cesare Maldini (born June 26, 1968) is an Italian former professional footballer who played as a left-back and central defender for A.C. Milan and the

Italy national team

and is universally recognized as one of the best defenders of all time.

For several years as Milan and Italy captain, he was regarded as a leader by his teammates, earning him the nickname "Il Capitano" ("The Captain"), for he is one of the

Greatest Soccer Captains of All Time.

 With 647 appearances, Maldini and Gianluigi Buffon share the record for most Serie A appearances.

He is currently the technical director for Milan and a co-owner of Miami FC of the USL Championship.

Maldini spent his entire playing career with Milan, spending all 25 seasons with the club before retiring at the age of 41 in 2009.

He won 25 trophies with Milan: the UEFA Champions League five times, seven Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia, five Supercoppa Italiana titles, five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup. 

Maldini was a world-class defender for the entirety of his two-and-a-half-decade career at Milan and one of the Greatest Captains in Soccer History, winning the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39, as well as the Serie A Defender of the Year Award in 2004.

Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Anton Beckenbauer (born September 11, 1945) is a former German football player and manager and one of the

Greatest Captains in Soccer History.

 Because of his elegant style, dominance, and leadership on the field, and also because his first name "Franz" is reminiscent of Austrian emperors, he was called Der Kaiser ("The Emperor") early in his playing career.

He is generally recognized as one of the best players in the sport's history.

Beckenbauer was a versatile player who began his career as a midfielder but rose to prominence as a central defender.

He is also credited with inventing the modern sweeper or libero role.

Beckenbauer was voted European Footballer of the Year twice and played in three FIFA World Cups for West Germany.

He is one of only two men, along with Brazil's Mario Zagallo, to have won the World Cup both as a player and as a manager;

he won it as captain in 1974 and again as a manager in 1990. He was the first captain to win the World Cup and European Championship for his country, as well as the European Cup for his team.

In 1998, he was named to the FIFA World Team of the Century, the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002, and the FIFA 100 of the World's Greatest Living Players in 2004.

He was without a doubt one of Most Legendary Club Captains in football history.

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