IT was all change at the Premier League at the weekend as two title contenders started life with new captains having waved goodbye to iconic leaders in the off-season.
Gary Cahill got off to a bad start as Chelsea skipper having replaced John Terry this summer.
The England defender was sent off after 13 minutes of the Blues’ shock 3-2 home defeat to Burnley.
Meanwhile, the theme of change continued at Manchester United where the departed Wayne Rooney was succeeded by veteran midfielder Michael Carrick.
However, the 35-year-old was not included in the starting XI for Sunday’s 4-0 triumph over West Ham.
Meanwhile, Rooney netted on his second debut to gift Everton a 1-0 win on the opening weekend.
But who are the greatest captains in the history of the game?
Our friends at Football Whispers have come up with a top ten.
APPOINTED captain in 2004, what followed was one of the most glorious periods in Chelsea’s history.
With Terry wearing the armband, Chelsea won the Champions League, Europa League, five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Community Shield.
Terry was one of the players Blues supporters could identify with and in December 2011 he captained the west Londoners for a record 400th game.
“John Terry is the captain of all team captains, he was born with the captain’s armband on his arm,” former boss Carlo Ancelotti wrote in his autobiography.
“Even without the band, it’s as if he wears it anyway, and that’s how it ought to be.
“He’s different from all the others, Chelsea is his home, it always has been, ever since the youth squad.”
STILL the only man to lift the World Cup as England skipper, West Ham legend Moore remains the standard-bearer for modern captains.
Moore, who died in 1993 after a battle with cancer, played for the Hammers from 1958 until 1974.
He clocked up more than 500 league appearances while winning the 1964 FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup a year later.
England’s 1966 World Cup winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey summed up the centre-back’s importance best, saying: “My captain, my leader, my right-hand man.
“He was the spirit and the heartbeat of the team.
“A cool, calculating footballer I could trust with my life. He was the supreme professional, the best I ever worked with.
“Without him England would never have won the World Cup.
NICKNAMED “Captain Marvel”, Robson was the man with the armband for Manchester United and England in the 1980s and the nation pinned its hopes on him at major tournaments.
Robson, who managed West Brom and Middlesbrough after retiring, led by example with his all-action style of play.
He won the European Cup Winners’ Cup, Premier League (2) and FA Cup (3) during a glittering 13-year career at Manchester United.
England’s reliance on Robson was best summed up at World Cups.
In 1986, in Mexico, a dislocated shoulder ended his tournament before toe and Achilles injuries all but finished his career four years later at Italia ‘90.
Three Lions striker Peter Beardsley played with Robson and said of his former captain: “He was the most incredible skipper.
“Off the pitch if there was anything – however small – that needed doing he would see to it on behalf of the team.
“On the pitch, he would walk through walls for us and could win games on his own.”
CAPTAIN at Manchester United for 12 years, winning 17 trophies, Keane was the leader of many of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest sides at Old Trafford after arriving from Nottingham Forest.
The two had a high-profile falling out when Keane left United in 2005 after criticising several United team-mates.
But Ferguson knew what he was getting with the Dubliner who is Republic of Ireland assistant manager.
“If Roy Keane thought you weren’t pulling your weight he would be right on top of you, straight away,” Ferguson said.
“Many players faced his wrath for committing that crime and there would be no place to hide from him. I never felt that was a bad aspect of his character.”
THE Italian defender was nicknamed “Il Capitano” during a glittering playing career which saw him finish with the most appearances in Serie A (647).
He was also the player with the most outings for Milan (902) after spending his entire career at the San Siro.
Maldini, a stylish left-back or occasional centre-back, is regarded as one of the finest defenders of all time and won 126 caps for Italy, 74 of them as captain.
Yet another record until Paolo Cannavaro overtook him.
Having made his debut for the Rossoneri in 1985, Maldini replaced the equally legendary Franco Baresi as skipper 11 years later.
Baresi said: “I passed the baton to Paolo Maldini, who, after I retired, played for another 12 years at an incredibly high level, conducting himself in an exemplary manner on the field, as a true captain, but also off it.”
WHAT is most impressive about Adams’ stint as Arsenal skipper is that he altered the way he played and became the backbone of Arsene Wenger’s first great side.
A warrior-like centre-half, Adams was eating the wrong things and drinking heavily when the Frenchman arrived from Grampus Eight in 1996.
But, after initial opposition from the Gunners squad, he helped turn the club around and won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
His team-mates appreciated his influence, not least legendary forward Ian Wright, who said: “Captain. A great defender and a great leader.
“He was so inspirational and was able to get the best out of those around him.
“Great in the air and not bad on the floor as well; with him around the defence would definitely be organised.”
ANOTHER of the Premier League’s great competitors, French international Vieira was captain of Arsenal’s Invincibles.
He also lifted a further two FA Cups and Community Shields after replacing Adams in 2002.
His long-running rivalry with United captain Keane added another layer to the already feisty encounters between the two clubs – most notably in 2005 when the pair had to be separated in the tunnel.
There were begrudging respect too and Keane said: “I don’t think we’ll ever be bosom buddies buying each other a drink in the pub.
“But out of everybody I ever faced as a player, he drove me to become better.
“Obviously Arsenal were the team that really challenged Manchester United and, for a short time, went past us.
“And as their leader Patrick was immense.”
THE Argentine defender only retired in 2014 after an incredible 19-year career at Inter Milan where he was skipper for 13 of those years.
As dependable and consistent as his trademark side-parting, Zanetti arrived from Banfield in 1995 and never looked back.
He clocked up more than 600 Serie A appearances from right-back, central midfield, right midfield and numerous other positions.
Zanetti marked his 700th appearance for the Nerazzurri by winning the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich.
Diego Milito scored twice in that final and the forward, a teammate of Zanetti’s for club and country, was a big fan.
He said: “Zanetti? It’s hard to find a word for him, because he is a great example on and off and we Argentines have to be proud of him, because he has made the history of this club.”
“HE’S the greatest captain the club have ever had — it’s as simple as that,” Emre Can said of Gerrard.
The pair only played together at Liverpool briefly but Gerrard’s enormous influence rubbed off on the German.
Gerrard’s finest hour, Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League win, was the perfect example of his outstanding brand of leadership as he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Trailing 3-0 to Maldini’s Milan, Gerrard scored the all-important first goal on the road to an incredible comeback which ended with the Merseysiders winning on penalties.
The one trophy that eluded Gerrard during an otherwise perfect career at Anfield was the Premier League.
But when he left for LA Galaxy in 2015 he did so having scored 186 times in 710 appearances and with nine winners’ medals to his name.
“THE effect he has on the team reminds me of Gerrard’s at Liverpool,” former Liverpool and Roma defender John Arne Riise said.
“Totti is a leader and a great player.”
Totti achieved what every football fan aims for growing up by becoming a legend at his hometown club, Roma.
In 25 years at the Stadio Olimpico he scored 250 Serie A goals, winning the Scudetto in 2001 as well as two Coppa Italias.
Nicknamed Il Gladiator, Totti continued to defy expectation – gradually playing a deeper role – until retiring at the end of last season aged 40.
His role had gradually been reduced on the field, making just one start and 17 substitute appearances in his final season.
But his importance to Roma remained the same as ever and he has taken up a role as a director at the club.
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