Who's the Best Captain in Europe?

ThomasSenior Writer ISeptember 26, 2008

The most important player on any team is the captain. Captains don't have to be the best players in the world, but they have to have several qualifications. For one, they have to be respected and influential. If they're not, they shouldn't be captain.

I'm not here to talk about captains though. I need your help. I've collected 15 captains from Europe—all of them great in anyone's opinion—and I want you to decide who is the best captain in Europe.


15. Steven Gerrad

Position: Center Midfielder

Club: Liverpool FC

The versatile English midfielder was made captain of Liverpool in 2003, replacing Sami Hyypiä. He has since led Liverpool to two Champions League finals. In 2005, he was named UEFA Club Footballer of the Year.


14. Juninho Pernambucano

Position: Attacking Midfielder

Club: Olympique Lyon 


The Brazillian free-kick specialist joined Lyon from Vasco da Gama in 2001. Since then, Lyon has won the league title for seven straight years. Known for his deadly accurate free kicks, Juninho has been nominated countless times for the FIFA Player of the Year award and the France Football Ballon d'Or.


13. Francesco Totti

Position: Attacking Midfielder/Striker 

Club: AS Roma

Of all the clubs he could've have gone to in his career, Totti has stayed at Roma. That shows commitment. The 31-year-old midfielder/striker has been one of the reasons Roma had done well in Serie A. He holds the club record as the most capped player and is the club's top goalscorer in history.


12. Alessandro Del Piero

Position: Attacking Midfielder/Striker

Club: Juventus

One of the veterans of the football world, Del Piero has been at Juventus since 1993. In that time, he has made a name as one of the most creative players in the world. Like Totti, Del Piero can play midfielder and striker. His free kicks and penalty kicks are a terror to any opposition. He is the club's top goalscorer in history.


11. Raúl González

Position: Striker

Club: Real Madrid

The youngest player to ever debut for Real Madrid (at 17 years and 4 months), Raúl is by far one of the most famous galácticos of the 1990s. The three-time Champions League winner is now on of the older players at Madrid. He is currently the highest active scorer in the Spanish league with 207 goals, and holds the distinction of having never received a red card at the professional level.


10. Paolo Maldini

Position: Center Back/Left Back

Club: AC Milan

Paolo Maldini, or as like to call him "the man who can't quit," is the oldest captain in Europe. He was originally going to retire during the offseason, but decided to stay for another year. At 40 years old, its astonishing how he can keep up. Maldini joined Milan in 1985 and has been a regular ever since.


9. Javier Zanetti

Position: Right Back/Right Wing Back/Midfielder

Club: Inter Milan

The versatile Argentine was made captain of Internazionale in 1999. Zanetti is known as a trusted and most reliable players at Inter. He is the club's third most tenured players with over 600 appearances in 13 seasons. He is also the most capped player in Argentine football history.


8. Gary Neville

Position: Right Back

Club: Manchester United

Handed the captain's armband in 2005 after the departure of Roy Keane, Gary Neville hasn't had much time to actually play along side the first-team. After almost two years out due to injury, he's finally playing. While he's been out though, the club has been very successful.


7. Barry Ferguson

Position: Center Midfielder

Club: Rangers FC

When Barry Ferguson was made captain in the 2001-02 season, he was the youngest ever player in Rangers history to get the armband. After a brief stint at Blackburn, he returned to the Ibrox in 2004 and has been captain since. He is also the captain of the Scottish national team.


6. Carles Puyol

Position: Center Back/ Right Back

Club: FC Barcelona

For a great player, I don't get Puyol's hair. Anyway, one of those rare one-club players, Puyol has been captain since 2004. One of the best defenders in the world, Puyol is the backbone of Barca's defense.


5. Mark van Bommel

Position: Center Midfielder/ Defensive Midfielder

Club: Bayern Munich

Mark van Bommel, the Dutch combative midfielder, was made captain of Bayern Munich after the recent retirement of goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn. However, he has been a fan favorite since he joined the club in 2006. He was voted Bayern Player of the Year for the 2006-07 season.


4. John Terry

Position: Center Back

Club: Chelsea FC

Regardless of what you think, John Terry is one of the best defenders around. He made his club debut in 1998 and since then, has spent the majority of the time with the club. In 2003, he was made permanent captain of Chelsea.


3. Stephen McManus

Position: Center Back/Left Back

Club: Celtic FC

Stephen McManus is a product of the Celtic youth system and has played for them throughout his career. After Neil Lennon left the club for Nottingham Forest in 2007, McManus was handed the armband. He won his first trophy as captain when Celtic won the Scottish Premier League in the 2007-2008 season.


2. Marcelo Bordon

Position: Center Back

Club: FC Schalke 04

In 2004, Marcelo Bordon transferred to Schalke 04 from Stuttgart. Since then, he has been the backbone of the Schalke back-line. In 2006, Bordon was made captain of Schalke and has proven himself to be more than capable.


1. William Gallas

Position: Center Back

Club: Arsenal FC

It's hard to imagine an Arsenal captain other than Thierry Henry, but William Gallas has filled those shoes quite well. After joining Arsenal from Chelsea in 2006, he became a staple to the Arsenal defense. After the departure of Thierry Henry in offseason, Gallas was made captain.


So there are the candidates. Now it's time for you to decide the best captain in Europe.


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