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5 greatest Manchester United captains of all time

Keano or King Eric?
Keano or King Eric?
Modified 07 Sep 2020, 11:12 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

With their 118-year history, record 20 league titles and a trophy-laden cabinet, Manchester United are arguably the biggest club in England. The success of any club is often down to characters in the squad, especially the captain. 

The Red Devils have been lucky to have legendary managers like Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson in the past. The Scottish duo shaped United with decades of hard work and led the club to multiple trophies.

United have been equally-privileged to have several legendary names don the captain’s armband. Since 1878 when the club was called Newton Heath LYR F.C, to this date, 46 players have had the privilege of leading the team.

From the long list of leaders, we take a look at the five greatest Manchester United captains of all time.

#5 Eric Cantona

King Eric
King Eric

Eric Cantona spent five seasons at United, marred with controversies on and off the field. But with a ball at his feet, Cantona was a sublime goal scorer, scoring 82 goals for the Red Devils in 185 appearances and winning three titles as a player. 

King Eric was handed the armband for the 1996-97 season and won his 4th and United’s 11th league title, becoming the first player from outside of the British Isles to captain the club.

The Frenchman then announced a surprising retirement from football at the end of the season at the age of 30. Although Cantona led United for just one season, he left a mark on the club's history in his unique way.


#4 Roger Byrne

The leader of the Busby Babes
The leader of the Busby Babes

Matt Busby’s ‘Busby Babes’ was one of the finest teams in Europe. To captain a team of that calibre was not a job for an ordinary person, and Rogen Byrne was the extra-ordinary person who led that team from 1955 to 1958. 

Byrne more or less invented the role of an attacking full-back with his playing style. He was handed the captaincy at the mere age of 24 and led the side to two consecutive league titles in 1956 and 1957. 

A one-club man, Byrne was one of the eight players who tragically lost their lives in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958. The 28-year old had made 245 appearances for United and scored 17 goals. The story of what could have been…

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Published 07 Sep 2020, 11:12 IST
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