worst captains in football

Top 5 Worst Captains in football history

Being a leader isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! With great power comes great responsibility. Even if it’s on a football pitch. The captain’s armband isn’t just a piece of cloth, it carries heavy duties that a player has to shoulder, such as guiding his side in times of crisis, being the most vocal player in the room, and rallying his teammates. However, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some captains fail to live up to the expectations, even leading to them getting stripped off of their armbands. Below are five worst captains in football history:

Neymar (Brazil)

Brazil star Neymar
Brazil star Neymar (by Getty Images)

This might seem like a controversial choice for many. Brazil’s best player and all-time top-scorer. What’s the problem, then, you ask? It’s his on-field antiques. Dunga’s decision to hand him the captaincy caused quite a stir among the Brazil fans, let alone the neutrals, as many felt there were more senior players who could have taken on the responsibility.

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At the 2015 Copa America, the former Barcelona star was sent off after 1-0 loss to Colombia for headbutting Carlos Bacca, and was handed a four-match ban by CONMEBOL, sidelining him from the remainder of their campaign as the Selecao were knocked out in the quarter-finals. To be fair, Neymar redeemed himself to some extent by guiding Brazil to a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics on home soil, where he was once again their captain.

Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan)

 Leonardo Bonucci
Former Milan skipper Leonardo Bonucci (by Getty Images)

Another legendary figure among the worst captains in football, you wouldn’t expect to be on a list like this, but ask any AC Milan fan about Leonardo Bonucci, and very few will actually talk of him. In contrast to a lot of fanfare surrounding his arrival from Juventus in 2017, Bonucci looked like a fish out of water in Rossoneri colors. More importantly, he was also their captain, but he could never be the leader the struggling side needed.

Fans criticized him for not respecting the club’s colors enough, and the center-back never looked committed enough to peel his side off the ground when they were going through a rough patch. After just one season at the club, Bonucci returned to Juventus in 2018.

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William Gallas (Arsenal)

William Gallas
William Gallas (by Getty Images)

A rock in Chelsea’s defense during their consecutive league title wins under Jose Mourinho, William Gallas’ career went downhill after joining Arsenal, where, although he assumed captaincy, never exhibited any of captaincy qualities. One hallmark of a leader is being able to take responsibility in times of crisis, but Gallas was always quick to blame others and never displayed accountability despite donning the captain’s armband. He was eventually stripped off the captaincy during the 2008–09 season when Gallas criticized his own teammates while speaking to the media.

Lee Cattermole (Sunderland)

Lee Cattermole
Lee Cattermole (by Getty Images)

After assuming Sunderland’s captaincy in the 2010–11 season, Lee Cattermole showed why he wasn’t fit for the role, as the midfielder got sent off twice in his first three appearances. He never recovered from that, with the Englishman later earning a poor reputation for his on-field antiques and disciplinary issues. Much to everyone’s surprise, Cattermole was never stripped of his role, but that does very little to hide his sordid role as their captain.

Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers)

Joey Barton
Joey Barton (by Getty Images)

He was controversy’s favorite child once upon a time, as Joey Barton was known for his short temper and on-field shenanigans, more than his talents. Far from being a leader for Queens Park Rangers, Barton often found himself in hot water for disciplinary issues, notably on the final day of the 2011-12 Premier League season against champions-in-waiting, Manchester City. He was sent off during the clash for elbowing Carlos Tevez, and after being shown the red card, he appeared to kick Sergio Aguero and even attempted to headbutt Vincent Kompany, who confronted him for his actions.

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