There are 209 national teams that are recognised and compete within FIFA regulations.
So, here is a starting eleven featuring the best captains in their respective positions.
Since the last World Cup in South Africa, many national teams have gone through numerous changes in personnel and leadership. This list will simply identify the star players who have been given the burden to lead their team into next year’s finals in Brazil.
Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas | Spain
The Spanish captain was probably the first name on this list as he has led his country to three consecutive major tournament victories and so far, they maintain their favourites status despite their heavy defeat to Brazil this summer.
Although the Real Madrid legend was benched for the final months of last season due to the excellent form of Diego Lopez, but after being first choice for the Confederations Cup, he looks set to retain his spot.
Right-back: Darijo Srna | Croatia
The dynamic full-back has been captaining both club (Shakhtar Donetsk) and country for more than a decade and is currently the most capped player in Croatian history.
Although he has been given many offers to more prestigious European clubs, the veteran has decided to stay with his Ukrainian club and now going into his 30s, he looks likely to retire there.
Centre-back: Thiago Silva | Brazil
The baby-faced defender who transferred to PSG last summer for €42m is currently one of the best defenders in the world. After leading Brazil to a Confederations Cup victory on home soil this summer, he will be looking to help them secure a record sixth World Cup title next year.
Centre-back: Vincent Kompany | Belgium
The former Hamburg defender was out for some of last season with a knee injury and Manchester City missed him dearly as they finished 11 points behind the Champions.
His leadership skills will come to the test, as he will need to provide a very young but highly talented Belgium side with much needed composure and experience.
Left-back: Philipp Lahm | Germany
Another player who captains both club (Bayern Munich) and country, Lahm has been one of the best full-backs in the world since the 2006 World Cup.
Capable of playing on either side, the player can cut inside and take powerful shots when placed on the left flank of defence.
Right-wing: Lionel Messi | Argentina
The four time Ballon d'Or winner that absolutely needs no introduction has not been the Argentine captain for too long, but will be eager to help his country to the finals next year.
His performances for the national team have been getting a lot better after being criticised earlier on in his career, and now he will want to claim the only major trophy missing in his cabinet.
Centre-midfielder: Steven Gerrard | England
The Liverpool legend has been one of the best Premier League players for the past decade, although his increasing age has obviously limited him from his glory days - he is adapting very well to a deeper role on the field.
Having featured in every game for Liverpool last season, he has shown that physically and mentally, he can still compete with the best.
Centre-midfielder: Gökhan Inler | Switzerland
The Napoli “enigma” is probably the least recognisable player on this list but his work in midfield cannot be undermined, with his crucial role in leading Napoli to a second place position in the Serie A.
Now edging closer to his to his 30s, the Swiss captain yet to really put his stamp into Europe, but a good Champions League campaign might boost his profile.
Left-wing: Cristiano Ronaldo | Portugal
The 2008 Ballon d’Or winner has been the only player to play on a similar level to Messi and has to shoulder the burden of trying to lead Portugal to their first ever World Cup triumph.
After losing narrowly to Spain during the last European Championships, Ronaldo will look to helping Portugal qualify and win next year’s tournament.
Centre-forward: Zlatan Ibrahimovic | Sweden
The colossal striker was the top goalscorer in France last season after netting in 30 goals and will aim to continue his good form this season.
The big Swede, who has scored 44 goals in 91 caps, temporarily retired from the national team after Sweden failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, but chose to return and was named captain at the start of the qualifiers for the Euro 2012 campaign.
Centre-forward: Robin van Persie | Netherlands
Robin van Persie was named captain of the Netherlands team in June, after manager Louie Van Gaal deemed former captain Wesley Sneijder to be in “bad shape”.
After bagging 30 goals in his inaugural season with Manchester United, the Dutch captain will want to replicate his good form to help his national team that has unfortunately lost three World Cup finals without any tournament victory.
Feel free to post your suggestions below.
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