In soccer, captains have many responsibilities to carry on their shoulders, so the captain is often seen as a leader of a team who inspires the team off and on the pitch.
Well, in selecting a captain, someone with leadership qualities, experience, and ability to make relevant decisions under pressure is selected, hence it is rare for a young player to be considered a captain.
However, some cases always seem different as there are young players such as Jude Bellingham that still emerge as captains.
Moreover, this article will be working hand in hand to list out the notable top 10 youngest captains in soccer history. So, without wasting time, let us proceed –
Top 10 Youngest Captains In Soccer History
1. Mamadou Sakho – 17 Years Old (PSG)
Before being regarded as a top club, Paris Saint-Germain made some awful decisions. Well, giving 17 years old Mamadou Sakho the captaincy armband by the then PSG boss, Paul Le Guen was not a harsh decision but some of the older teammates did not like Guen’s decision.
In October 2007, Sakho who was 17 years old became the youngest-ever captain of Paris Saint-Germain and also the youngest player to ever captain a Ligue 1 side.
Well, the captaincy was a permanent one as the 17 years old only captained twice then. To sum it up, Sakho became PSG’s permanent captain after four years, he registered over 200 appearances for the Parisians and won all the domestic trophies.
2. Ruben Neves – 18 Years Old (Porto)
Seeing Ruben Neves successfully carrying out his leadership role in Wolves is not quite surprising as the Portuguese international joined his then team, Porto when he was 18 years and 221 days.
On 20 October 2015, Neves set the record for the youngest player to captain a team in a Champions League competition.
The clash was between Porto and Maccabi Tel which Porto won 2 – 0 and Ruben Neves surpassed Rafael Van der Vaart who previously held the record for the youngest captain in the Champions League since 16 September 2003. Right from Neves U17 days, he led the Portuguese U17 national team in 2014 to the UEFA U17 Euros.
3. Matthijs De Light – 19 Years Old (Ajax)
De Light wrote his name in the book of soccer history as the youngest captain in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage after breaking Cesc Fabregas’s record that was set in 2009 against the current Jose Mourinho’s side, Roma.
Well, De Light would not have had the advantage of taking the captaincy armband if not that Joel Veltman getting sidelined due to injury.
De Light had to captain his team in the UEFA Champions League clash which he confidently did and appeared as a better defender which he is still even at Bayern Munich.
4. Patrick Vieira – 19 Years Old (Cannes)
At 19 years old and two years after debuting for the French club Cannes, Patrick Vieira became the captain of the club which he is claimed to have been born a leader. Years later, Vieira joined Arsenal and helped the team in their Premier League title unbeaten run which resulted in the Invincible.
Moreover, Patrick Vieira did not captain Arsenal but he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with them to become their legend.
He made a total of 406 appearances for the Gunners before flying to AC Milan to continue his soccer career.
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5. Jude Bellingham – 19 Years Old (Borussia Dortmund)
After joining Borussia Dortmund, Jude Bellingham still maintained his professionalism on and off the pitch, hence he was applauded by Borussia Dortmund coaching staff with the captaincy armband.
At just 19 years old, Bellingham was recorded as the youngest Bundesliga captain which was seen at the end of 2022, a game between Borussia Dortmund and Cologne in October.
However, Dortmund tried as much as they could to keep the England midfielder but he was always keen for a move to Real Madrid which has been concluded already.
6. Fernando Torres – 19 years old (Atletico Madrid)
Everyone who watched Fernando Torres play for Liverpool can testify to how good the forward was. Well, at just 19 years, Fernando Torres captained Atletico Madrid and by then, Diego Simeone was part of the squad.
Well, the captaincy was for two years for helping the club to win the second division title in 2001. He managed a stay at Athletico for six years in which he scored 82 goals in 814 appearances for the club.
Sadly, he was missed as he completed his move to Liverpool in 2007. Moreover, he returned to Athletico in 2015 but not as a player.
7. Aaron Ramsey – 20 Years Old (Cymru/Wales)
As of 2012, Arsenal had a couple of national teams captains in their squad but only a few captained the North London club excluding Aaron Ramsey.
Ramsey was roughly 20 years old when he was handed over the role of leadership in the Welsh national team.
In the days of Gary Speed as Welsh manager, Aaron Ramsey was tested to be Wales national team’s captain and he maintained the role till he handed it over to Ashley Williams in 2012.
Well, it was surprising seeing him as a captain despite the Wales team having Gareth Bale.
8. Francesco Totti – 21 Years Old (Roma)
There is doubt that Totti has been the force behind the professionalism in the Roma team for 18 years starting from 1998.
Well, Totti was appointed as the team’s leader of Roma in 1998 and he maintained his role for 18 years, passing through wins, draws, and losses.
To sum up what Totti achieved at Roma after 18 years of captaincy.
He won 2 Coppa Italia titles, and a scudetto while also managing to become the second-highest goal scorer in the history of Serie A and gained much admirers after he retired from professional football.
9. Cesc Fabregas – 21 Years Old (Arsenal)
Cesc Fabregas is one of the youngest captains in soccer history. The Spaniard became a North London side Arsenal captain at 21 years old and this was in the 2008/2009 season when Arsene Wenger was rebuilding his team.
It was not surprising that the young talented player organized the North London team as he spent 3 seasons at the club. He was one of the best midfielders to grace Fly Emirates Stadium’s pitch.
Notable individual awards that he won were PFA young player of the Year, Arsenal Player of the Year, and being named in the PFA Team of the Season. He indeed enjoyed those seasons at Arsenal.
10. Neymar – 21 Years Old (Brazil)
Probably, you might have been waiting for Neymar’s name to surface on the list having seen the Brazilian captained his nation, Brazil at a young age.
Neymar who is considered one of the best players and a renowned playmaker is arguably one of the best Brazilian players. Neymar played in the U17 World Cup in 2009 and a few years later, he was already the captain of the Brazilian national team for Copa America.
At barely 22 years, the Brazil International already netted 40 goals in 58 international appearances for his national team.
In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he was also the captain of his team until he was injured in the quarterfinals against Colombia which made his side lose 7 – 1 woefully to Germany in the semis.