Debate continues around the significance of the captains in the modern game but when looking back at the history of football’s most celebrated moments the captain is a figure that continues to endure. Front and centre. Pointing, sliding, shouting, consoling and on the good days lifting their arms aloft amongst the ticker tape parade.
In this six part series from Win or Lose we will look at some of these captains. There will be the ones who arrived with little fanfare but emerged to become giants, like the unassuming Lucas Radebe at Leeds United. Peter Schmeichel the great Dane that helped kickstart the Fergie dynasty at Manchester United.
For some donning the band is the culmination of a career that began kicking cans as a child, their club colours worn with pride. There is Carles Puyol the Catalan dog of war, fusing a relentless tenacity with Barcelona’s artistic attacking aesthetic and Steven Gerrard who will forever cherish that one night in Istanbul.
Sometimes the stars align, and a captain will lead their side to a rare success like the bellow-shirted Gabriel Batistuta, the Argentine legend who always looked best dressed in the purple of Fiorentina or Martin Johnson, the man who led England to their first Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003.
There remains an air of reverence as the responsibility of captaincy is passed from one player to the next and although there is no one size fits all approach to captaincy the positioning of the armband, high on the arm, always remains true.