Messi, Ronaldo and Other Players Who Are Club and Country Captains

Messi, Ronaldo and Other Players Who Are Club and Country Captains

Elijah Odetokun
updated at February 22, 2024 at 9:06 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Heung-Min Son logo
Tottenham Hotspur logoFSouth Korea logo
Virgil van Dijk logo
V. van Dijk
Liverpool logoDNetherlands logo
Martin Odegaard logo
M. Odegaard
Arsenal logoMNorway logo
Wu Xi logo
Shanghai Shenhua FC logoMChina logo
Sunil Chhetri logo
S. Chhetri
Bengaluru FC logoFIndia logo
Salman Al-Faraj logo
S. Al-Faraj
Al-Hilal & Al-Nassr Stars logoMSaudi Arabia logo
h.haydos al
Al-Sadd logoM-
Argentina logo
Al Nassr FC logo
Al Nassr
Saudi Arabia
Portugal logo
Tottenham Hotspur logo
Tottenham Hotspur
South Korea logo
South Korea
South Korea
Inter Miami CF logo
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
United States
  • Lionel Messi is the captain of Argentina and Inter Miami
  • Cristiano Ronaldo also captains Al-Nassr and Portugal
  • Some other players captain both club and national team

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are beacons of football excellence and leadership. Hence, the two rivals are captains of their clubs and national teams.

Virgil van Dijk and Son Heung-min joined the list of players who skipper both club and countries this season when they were named captains for Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, respectively.

Lionel Messi, Argentina, France, Qatar, 2022, FIFA World Cup.
Lionel Messi captained Argentina to win the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. Photo by Catherine Ivill.
Source: Getty Images

Sports Brief looks at nine players leading both their clubs and national teams.

Club and country captains

1. Lionel Messi

Per SB Nation, Messi was named Argentina's captain permanently in 2011 by Alejandro Sabella, having led the side for the first time in the 2010 Group B game against Greece under Diego Maradona. He was named Inter Miami captain immediately after he joined the club. He showed class to former leader DeAndre Yedlin when the team won the Leagues Cup by passing him the armband.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo replaced Abdullah Madu as Al-Nassr's captain when he joined and led the club to the Arab Club Champions Cup. Per Britannica, he became Portugal's permanent coach in 2008 and was pivotal to the Euro 2016 triumph eight years later.

3. Son Heung-min

Son was named Tottenham’s captain following the departure of Harry Kane to Bayern Munich and is assisted by Cristian Romero and James Maddison. He is South Korea’s captain and led the team to the semi-final of the 2023 Asian Cup.

4. Virgil van Dijk

Jurgen Klopp chose the big defender to lead his side for the 2023/24 season after the departures of Jordan Henderson and James Milner to Al-Ettifaq and Brighton, respectively. He led the Dutch national team to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and remained with the armband ever since.

5. Martin Odegaard

The attacking midfielder was named Arsenal's captain at the start of the 2022/23 season by Mikel Arteta, a year after his loan move from Real Madrid was made permanent, replacing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He is also Norway’s skipper, receiving the armband in 2021.

6. Hassan Al-Haydos

The veteran forward has spent all his playing career at Al Sadd in his home country of Qatar. He captains both the club and national team, recently leading the country to the 2023 Asia Cup.

7. Salman Al-Faraj

The versatile midfielder is a one-man club, having made his debut for Al-Hilal in 2008. He captains both club and country and was part of the Saudi Arabia starting lineup that beat Argentina 2-1 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He was excluded from the squad for the 2023 Asia Cup by Roberto Mancini.

8. Wu Xi

The veteran Asian midfielder captains both the Chinese national team and Super League club Shanghai Shenhua. He featured at the Asia Cup and has 90 caps for China.

9. Sunil Chhetri

The 39-year-old is the captain of Indian Premier League club Bengaluru FC and the national team. He has played over 100 games for India and won four South Asia Football Federation Championships. He has a short European spell with Sporting CP B in the 2012/13 season.

Mali captain harasses referee after AFCON exit

Sports Brief reported on Mali captain Hamari Traore harassing a referee after his country was eliminated at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations by host Ivory Coast.

Traore protested Oumar Diakite’s goal with the referee, Mohamed Adel and shoved him, prompting the official to show him a straight red card, and fans called for more actions against him.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.