There’s much to say about the importance of a captain in any football team.
Just this morning, Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker prompted a Twitter debate with his followers by playing down a captain’s role during a game.
“The English obsession with the captaincy is bizarre,” Lineker wrote. “It’s purely an off the field role. Doesn’t make a blind bit of difference in games.”
Several disagreed with the former Tottenham and England striker, pointing to Roy Keane’s influence at Manchester United over the years.
Robbie Savage, though, shared Lineker’s opinion. As the Welshman hilariously put it, “Only thing captain does really is calls heads or tails, sorts bonus out and Christmas parties.”
Until we ever play a professional game of football - which will happen in our wildest dreams - it’s impossible to weigh in on the argument. We can only observe.
Lead by example
The fact that Lionel Messi, one of the game’s quieter players, is captain of Argentina suggests the Argentine Football Association don’t think much of having a necessarily vocal leader.
In this instance, Argentina look to Messi to lead by example.
It’s a similar situation at Real Madrid, where Cristiano Ronaldo, although he isn't the official captain, is one of the leaders in the dressing room. There’s no-one better to inspire his teammates than Los Blancos’ all-time leading goalscorer.
Ronaldo is perhaps at his most vocal when he’s complaining to referees. He’s the leader of the team because he’s the most impactful player; the one who can change a game with one moment of magic.
The 31-year-old proved that he’s underrated as a captain by leading Portugal to glory at Euro 2016. His antics on the touchline after an injury forced him out of the final annoyed some, but they showed his passion.
And he fulfilled his duties as a leader during Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Eibar on Sunday.
Ronaldo changes Madrid's XI
Before kick-off, Ronaldo spotted that James Rodriguez was struggling with an injury. Footage from Spanish channel Cuatro shows the Portugal star quickly jogging over to Mateo Kovacic to inform the Croatian that he will start in James’ place before alerting Madrid’s coaching staff.
Check out the video below.
As it turns out, James suffered a Grade I muscular tear in his calf during the warm-up.
That Ronaldo spotted the Colombian was struggling, before quickly identifying his replacement, suggests he isn’t afraid to make big calls.
A career in management next, perhaps?