Can A Striker Be A Captain In Football

Can A Striker Be A Captain In Football? (Explained)

If you watch football regularly or play video games such as FIFA, you would have seen defenders and goalkeepers as the most famous captains choices than strikers.

This, however, does not mean that strikers or forwards cannot captain a football team

Forwards like Raul, Harry Kane, Lorenzo Insigne, Karim Benzema, Lionel Messi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Alexandre Lacazette have all been captains of their various teams at one point.

Here’s what you need to know about strikers being captains:

Can a striker be a captain in football?

It is possible for a striker to be appointed as a captain in football, so long as he possesses the qualities (especially leadership) which allows his manager to select him as the one who wears the armband.

Captaincy in football comes with a great deal of responsibility.

This role requires players to show more than their ball-playing ability on the pitch. Moreover, they will need to be true and proper leaders who can lift their team when required.

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Here are the 2 main reasons as to why strikers may be chosen as their team’s captain:

Leadership By Example

One of the easiest ways of motivating a group of players is to lead by example, and one way this can be done is by scoring a lot of goals. Hence, strikers become good candidates for captaincy. 

For example, Real Madrid vice-captain Karim Benzema led the side to a comeback 3-1 victory in their 2021/22 UEFA Champions League Round-of-16 second leg clash against Paris Saint-Germain.

The French striker scored three well-taken goals to help his side overturn a 2-0 aggregate deficit.

You can find out more about the interesting tradition when a player scores a hat trick here.

As a result, Madrid proceeded to the quarter-finals on a 3-2 win on aggregate against all odds. 

Moreover, his ability to lead the team from the front of goal helped rouse his teammates to believe they could secure the win.

Although Benzema is only a vice-captain, he usually carries the armband since the club captain, Marcelo, rarely plays.

Similarly, Harry Kane was the captain of the English national team as they nearly went all the way to win the Euro 2020 in the summer of 2021. The Tottenham Hotspur striker scored four goals in the knockout stages of the competition before they lost to Italy in the final.

The Euros is the European competition for countries, while the Champions League is the competition for clubs in UEFA.

Moreover, Cristiano Ronaldo’s ability to lead by example helped him captain Portugal to a 3-3 draw in their opening match against Spain at the 2018 World Cup.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in a game they would most likely have lost if he was absent.


Longevity is another reason for choosing a player as the captain of a team. Great examples are players like Francesco Totti, Raul, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi.

Totti was an AS Roma player throughout his career and became the club’s captain as well as a symbol of the entire city. He had the temperament to lead his team to victory, winning the Serie A title as captain in 2001.

Totti’s case is peculiar; he first became a captain in 1998 because of his consistent performance for the club but kept the captaincy due to his longevity in the team

With Real Madrid, Raul and Benzema became captain after a decade of services to the club.

Ronaldo and Messi are presently captains of their national team sides owing to being the most senior players for their respective countries. They have each led their teams to glory on the international stages with telling contributions.

To do this, they’ve had to rally their teams by virtue of the kinds of performance they display every time they grace the pitch. 

Why are strikers not usually captains in football?

While you may see strikers captaining their teams, some managers may not always find it to be the best decision. This choice is also quite justifiable, with several reasons available to back it up. Here are 4 reasons why strikers may not be good choices for captaincy:

Limited vision of the pitch

Strikers usually play with their backs to the field, giving them a minimal area of vision of the pitch during matches. This does not allow them to have a proper overview of what is happening on the pitch.

Captains should usually be able to direct their teammates’ movements and positioning on the pitch, and it could become a problem for strikers to do this because they might not see what happens behind them.

Moreover, it denies them the choice of making subtle tactical input to their team during games.

Loss of Confidence

Strikers rely on their goalscoring ability for confidence, and lack of goals usually means a loss of confidence for them. A striker’s job is to score goals, and his general performance will be hampered when he doesn’t score much.

Furthermore, if such a striker is his team’s captain, his condition may affect his team’s performance as well.

Fitness level

Strikers usually suffer injuries the most compared to other players on the pitch. Their availability is dependent on their fitness, and it is common knowledge in football that strikers are often involved in physical battles on the pitch.

As a result of the physical nature of their role, they may get injured from time to time, rendering them unavailable for their team.

When a striker captains a team, and he often has to be out of the team due to injury, the team will most likely suffer as a result.

Short-term presence in a team

Strikers do not usually remain in a team long enough to earn the captaincy. This is true because most big transfers in football usually involve attacking players .

For example, Messi only became Barcelona captain in 2018 after 14 years at the club. Similarly, despite his evident leadership skills, Ronaldo has never been a club captain because he tended to change clubs often.

Examples of strikers who are captains

Here are some examples of strikers who made good captains:


Raul made his first-team debut for Real Madrid in 1994 and became the captain in 2003 after Fernando Hierro left the team. He was captain until he left the club in 2010 and left an indelible mark in the club’s history. As captain, he led his side to two La Liga titles and one Supercopa de Espana.

Lionel Messi

Messi became Barcelona captain in 2018 after spending 14 years in the first-team set-up of the club.

The Argentine great only earned the captaincy after Andres Iniesta left the club. He won two titles with the club in his three seasons as captain before leaving for PSG in 2021.

You can find out about how Ligue 1 differs from La Liga here.

Karim Benzema

Benzema is the current Real Madrid’s vice-captain but is, in essence, the club’s captain because rarely does the club captain Marcelo plays. The French forward is a driving force for the team in the 2021/22 season and has scored 30 goals and provided 12 assists in 33 appearances so far.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is Portugal’s captain and has been in the position for over a decade. The 37-year-old led his country to its first-ever international title when they won Euro 2016.

They followed it up with triumph in the European Nations League in 2019, still under his captaincy.

Francesco Totti

Totti became the captain of AS Roma as a 22-year-old in 1998 and was the youngest-ever captain in Serie A history at the time. The Italian great was captain of AS Roma until his retirement in 2017 and led the club to one Serie A title as captain. 

Other examples of strikers who were captains include Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Lorenzo Insigne, Harry Kane, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, Alessandro Del Piero, and others.


Some strikers may be great captains because of their leadership abilities, and the ability to inspire their football teammates.

However, this may not always be the case. There are quite a few factors that prevent all strikers from becoming captains!

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