Top 30 Greatest National Team Captains in the World. Messi stands at the top, unmatched by anyone – Discover Now.


Messi, Ronaldo, and the Great National Team Captains
At the present moment, Lionel Messi leads the Argentina national team, while Cristiano Ronaldo dons the captain’s armband for Portugal. However, when it comes to influence and accomplishments on the international stage, these contemporary superstars still trail behind their predecessors.

Legendary Captains Who Made Their Mark:
In the realm of international football, there have been several iconic national team captains who left an indelible mark on the sport:

1. England – David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard:
Over the last two decades, these three English legends, Beckham, Rooney, and Gerrard, spearheaded the Three Lions in World Cup and EURO campaigns.

2. Germany – Philipp Lahm:
Philipp Lahm, the legendary captain, led the German “Die Mannschaft” to World Cup glory in 2014 and then made the tough decision to retire from international football at the age of 30.

3. Netherlands – Virgil Van Dijk:
Under the captaincy of Virgil Van Dijk, the Netherlands secured their place in EURO 2020, scheduled for the following summer.

4. Italy – Fabio Cannavaro:
Fabio Cannavaro, an exceptional defender and iconic captain of the Italian national team, played a pivotal role in Italy’s triumph at the 2006 World Cup.

5. Spain – Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas:
Following Raul Gonzalez’s departure from the national team during the EURO 2008 qualifiers, the Ramos-Casillas era led Spain to unprecedented success, winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup, and Euro 2012.


6. Brazil – Cafu:
Cafu, the player with the most appearances for the Brazilian national team, captained Brazil in three World Cup finals, including their victory in 2002.

7. France – Didier Deschamps:
In the 1998 World Cup, Didier Deschamps wore the captain’s armband as he guided the French national team to their first-ever world championship. Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira also played significant roles in this historic achievement.

8. Argentina – Lionel Messi:
Lionel Messi led Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final, where they narrowly lost 0-1 to Germany after extra time.

9. Belgium – Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen:
Despite boasting a remarkable squad including Hazard, Kompany, and Vermaelen, Belgium has yet to secure major international success.

10. Compared to his arch-rival Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved superior results with his national team, Portugal, clinching the prestigious titles of EURO 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2018/2019.

Comparing Ronaldo and Messi:
In contrast to his rival Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo boasts superior achievements with his national team, Portugal. Ronaldo led Portugal to victory in EURO 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2018/2019.

The legacy of national team captains transcends individual greatness, shaping the course of football history. While Messi and Ronaldo are undoubtedly two of the greatest footballers of all time, they are also part of a lineage of exceptional leaders who have captained their nations to glory, leaving an enduring impact on the beautiful game.


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