Being the captain of the team is an achievement that every great professional will endeavour to realise..

It's true that not everyone can boast to owning the attributes and natural sense of leadership needed to be truly inspiring in such a role, but nonetheless it is a feat that should remain in the sights of every footballer until either they have managed it or called time on their career.

This generation of players has been particularly blessed by genuinely gifted captains, both on and off the pitch.

The likes of Paulo Maldini, Raul, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira have all found their respective places in the pantheon of great leaders to have graced the game, but who is now set to follow in their footsteps?

It's fair to say that there's footballers out there who may have been ideal candidates once upon a time, but whose own opportunities have been hampered merely by the excellence of those chosen ahead of them.

So now we assess the potential captains of the future, and the players upon whose shoulders rest the responsibility of being the focal point of the success- or failure- of the teams they represent...

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