The importance of the lone footballer on the field who wears an armband is undeniable.
There are many attributes that make a great captain, including leadership, calmness, courage, determination and restricted aggression. Great captains have authority, they are a model of consistency and composure and they inspire their teammates. The greatest captains, can decide the fate of the game, sometimes by motivating their teammates and sometimes, with their own individual greatness.
Here is a list with ten players that belong to the pantheon of football's greatest captains.
Winning nearly every award imaginable, the Spanish legend was the father of Florentino Perez's Madrid revolution in the early 2000s and is regarded as the most iconic figure of a captain and leader at the Santiago Bernabeu.
He combined great positioning and scoring instincts with heart, leadership and the ability to be a playmaker, even as a striker.
9. Carles Puyol
The ultimate leader of Barcelona is one of their most prolific footballers, in terms of appearances, and one of their most beloved players ever. The Catalan is not so much about the cleverness in the game, but he is as lion-hearted and competitive as a defender can be. He has also been a stalwart for Spain, helping them become the force that they are now.
8. Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyyf is the most important Dutch player ever and one of the greatest footballers to ever play. His name is synonymous with the playing style of Total Football that Ajax and Holland brought in the early '70s.
Cruyff was a playmaker, ammunitions provider and marksman rolled into one. He was known for his technique, acceleration and his unmatched vision.
7. Michel Platini
The French magician was an amazing passer, a free-kick specialist and he won the Ballon d'Or three consecutive times, which made people consider him as one of the best playmakers in football history. "Le Roi" was one of the biggest leaders in European football in the 1980s.
6. Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard is the ultimate hero and go-to man for Liverpool. The current England captain is an example of a loyal footballer, a graceful midfielder with great reading of the game, good positioning, exceptional passing skills and superb vision.
5. Bobby Moore
Bobby Moore is one of the greatest central defenders that ever graced a football field. His skills as a captain are undeniable, as he was the one who was instrumental in captaining England to their 1966 success.
4. Paolo Maldini
Maldini has implemented his name into the AC Milan's and Italy's grand history as probably its greatest, leading the defence with his genius tackling and marking skills over the years.
He is one of the greatest leaders of his generation, a two-footed defender who played both as a centre-back and left-back with ease.
3. Franz Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer is the best German and Bayern Munich player and leader of-all-time. A versatile defender who did everything on the pitch, he practically invented by himself the role of the "sweeper" position and he most probably is the best ever at it.
Der Kaiser is one of the most decorated players ever and probably one of the most complete football players to ever play the game.
2. Zinedine Zidane
His name stands synonymous with football excellence and greatness. He had a brilliant footballing talent, a phenomenal ability to create attacks from seemingly nothing situations.
Zizou was the type of leader that could, in a moment, just with one brilliant touch, change the fate of any game.
1. Diego Maradona
The highly controversial Argentinian is considered as the finest player that has ever laced his boot in a football field.
Quite possibly the most unstoppable and most gifted footballer ever, Maradona established his leadership with the two Seria A and one Uefa Cup wins with Napoli - and most notably the 1986 World Cup with Argentina, all of which he won almost single-handedly.
Honourable Mentions : Fransesco Totti, Tony Adams, Oliver Kahn, Roy Keane, Franco Baresi
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