Being a captain of a football team is a huge role that involves multi-tasking. A captain is expended to defend the club and his teammates both on and off the pitch, speak to referees, communicate regularly with the media and the fans, lead by example, speak to the boards, and assist the manager, among so many other things.
Newer members of the team (upcoming youngsters and newly transferred players) are welcomed and guided by captains. In short, the role of a football team captain goes well beyond what happens on the pitch.
While some captains are extremely vocal, others like to do their talking with their feet.
TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you the top 10 best football captains in 2022.
1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
The departure of Sergio Ramos left a huge role to be filled at Real Madrid in terms of leadership, but the experienced members of the team have all stepped up.
Although Marcelo is the official captain of Real, his inability to establish himself in the starting eleven means Karim Benzema is regularly tasked with wearing the armband. The French striker isn’t a very vocal captain like Ramos, but he leads from the front as he lets his goals do the talking.
Astonishingly, in 44 matches in all competitions this season, Karim Benzema has 44 goals and 15 assists. His contribution and leadership have guided Real Madrid to the La Liga crown and the UEFA Champions League final. He is one the major Ballon d’Or contenders in 2022.
2. Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Eintracht Frankfurt have just achieved a memorable fairytale run to the Europa League title. The German side shockingly defeated Barcelona in the semi-final right at Camp Nou!
Captain Sebastian Rode was instrumental in Frankfurt’s run. His leadership skills and determination were on full display in the final against Rangers when he suffered a nasty head injury but bravely continued to play on with his head heavily bandaged and had to change his bloody shirt.
3. Joaquin (Real Betis)
Real Betis incredibly won the Copa del Rey this season — their first since 2005.
Captain Joaquin — who is now 40 years old, and one of the oldest footballers still playing — was a member of the team that won it in 2005.
Joaquin’s experience and leadership qualities greatly benefitted the team as he made 35 appearances in all competitions, scoring 2 goals and made 4 assists.
4. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
Liverpool are on course to win an unprecedented quadruple or a treble. They have already secured the League Cup and FA Cup. They go into the final game of the EPL season, trailing Manchester City by a single point, and have reached the UEFA Champions League final, where they will face Real Madrid.
Although the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Diogo Jota get all the acclaims, captain Jordan Henderson is a integral part of the team but rarely gets noticed. Henderson has already made an astonishing 55 appearances in all competitions this season so far! He has also contributed 3 goals and 7 assists.
5. Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
Senegal made history by winning the AFCON for the first time ever earlier this year by defeating Egypt on penalties. The Teranga Lions also secured a place at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar by overcoming Egypt again in a very tight contest.
The Senegalese team is made up of star players, with most plying their trade abroad, which means it isn’t easy managing the egos of such players. So apart from the coach, credit also goes to the team captain Khalidou Koulibaly for rallying the team together as a formidable unit to deliver when it matters under intense pressure.
6. Raul Albiol (Villareal)
Villareal shocked everyone by defeating Manchester United in the Europa League final last season, some of us thought that they were just lucky, but the Yellow Submarines have proven us wrong by battling their way to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals this season. They eliminated giants Juventus and Bayern Munich along the way.
Villareal’s rugged defensive system against big teams is very impressive, and their defensive leader is their captain, Raul Albiol. The former Real Madrid centre-back’s experience has proven very helpful.
The 36-year-old made 42 appearances in all competitions this season.
7. Lorenzo Pellegrini (AS Roma)
Jose Mourinho has led AS Roma to a historic UEFA Europa Conference League final. Due to their status, Mourinho and Tammy Abraham have grabbed the headlines. But Roma’s run is a collective effort, and credit is due to captain Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Pellegrini has 13 goals and 6 assists in 38 matches in all competitions this season.
8. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
The departure of Lionel Messi led a huge void at Barcelona. Stepping into the Argentine’s role as captain was never going to be easy, and Sergio Busquets was tasked with doing exactly that.
Barcelona had a topsy-turvy season, but at least they secured qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League — something which seemed unachievable before the appointment of Xavi.
Captain Busquets played a huge role in preventing their season from going into shambles as he led the youngsters in the team by example.
Sergio Busquets made 50 appearances in all competitions, scoring 3 goals and provided an assist. He was consistent for the team, and being one of the few footballers who never get injured, he played a significant amount of matches for the Catalans.
9. Dimitri Payet (Olympique Marseille)
Marseille recovered from last season’s disappointments by reaching the UEFA Conference League semi-finals and, most importantly, secured a return to the UEFA Champions League by finishing 3rd in Ligue 1.
Their ever-impressive captain, Dimitri Payet, was the mastermind in the team as he led impressively.
Payet scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists in 45 matches in all competitions.
10. Fernandinho (Manchester City)
Replacing the iconic Vincent Kompany as captain of Manchester City was never going to be easy, but Fernandinho has done a pretty good job in that regard.
This season — which is his final season at the Etihad Stadium — Fernandinho made 32 appearances in all competitions, scoring 2 goals and making 3 assists as Manchester City reached the Champions League semi-finals and are on the verge of winning the Premier league League.
Lifting the EPL trophy might be Fernandinho’s last act as a Man City player and captain.
- Marquinhos – PSG
- Hugo Lloris – Tottenham Hotspurs
- James Ward-Prowse – Southampton
- Conor Coady – Wolves
- Ciro Immobile – Lazio