Here are the last 7 World Cup winning captains: where are they now?
7. Philipp Lahm – Ambassador
The most recent World Cup winning captain – for another few days at least that is – Philipp Lahm lifted the trophy with Germany at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. It was the first time a European nation had won a World Cup in South America, and Germany were deserved winners. Lahm himself was a manager’s dream and one of the greatest right-backs of all time. After 15 years at Bayern Munich and 10 years in the German national team, he retired from football in 2017. Still only 34, I’m pretty sure he’d have improved Germany’s chances at this summer’s World Cup had he not hung up his boots so early. The former Stuttgart loanee now works as an official and ambassador for Germany’s bid to host the 2024 European Championships.
6. Iker Casillas – Porto
One of only three men in the history of the game to captain a team to glory in the World Cup, European Championships and Champions League, Iker Casillas is a legend of both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team. The fact that Casillas suffered a slightly earlier decline than some goalkeepers may just have taken an edge off his legacy, but not for us. Casillas broke through early and was a truly incredible goalkeeper for more than a decade. Now aged 37, Casillas just won the Portuguese Primeira Liga title in his third season at Porto, as well as extending his deal for one more (potentially final) campaign.
5. Fabio Cannavaro – Guangzhou Evergrande (Manager)
Italy’s leader and defensive titan 12 years ago, Fabio Cannavaro had a quite incredible 2006. As well as captaining Italy as they won the World Cup, he won the Ballon d’Or, the FIFA Player of the Year award and the Serie A Footballer of the Year award, as well as making the World Cup, FIFPro and UEFA Teams of the Year. Cannavaro was markedly short for a centre-back – standing at under 5’10” – but made up for that with his tremendous leap and defensive intelligence. The 44-year-old now works in management, currently with Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou Evergrande.
4. Cafu – Uber Eats Ad
You could make a pretty handy 7-a-side team from the players in this video, albeit a little light in attacking areas. Two of the greatest right-backs of all time feature in this seven, and the second of those is Brazilian legend Cafu. A flying full-back who was seemingly powered by jet fuel, Cafu was quick, tireless and a constant outlet on the right flank. With 142 caps to his name, Cafu is the most capped Brazilian player of them all, and he starred for the likes of Sao Paulo, Roma and AC Milan at club level. Having retired in 2008, a now 48-year-old Cafu can be found recently on the advertising campaign for Uber Eats.
3. Didier Deschamps – France (Manager)
One of the other two players to captain a team to success in the World Cup, European Championships and Champions League along with Iker Casillas (the other is Franz Beckenbauer by the way), Didier Deschamps is now the manager of the French national team. Once nicknamed ‘the water-carrier’ by international teammate Eric Cantona, Deschamps was of course a formidable defensive midfielder, renowned for his stamina, leadership and understanding of the game. Having previously managed Monaco, Juventus and Marseille, Deschamps got the top job back in 2012.
2. Dunga – Unattached (Manager)
Another World Cup winning captain who went on to manage his country’s national team, Dunga has had two stints as Brazil boss – between 2006-2010 and 2014-16. The first of those two stints was a mixed bag, as Dunga led Brazil to Copa America and Confederation Cup wins, tainted by a quarter-final exit from the 2010 World Cup. The second though, was an unmitigated disaster. Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the 2015 Copa America after losing to Paraguay, and subsequently failed to even get out their group in 2016, finishing below Peru and Ecuador in their group. Dunga, who was rather more impressive for the likes of Brazil and Fiorentina in his playing days, has been out of work since being replaced by Tite, but has expressed an interest in managing in Australia’s A-League.
1. Lothar Matthaus – FIFA Legends Ambassador
Every country has a so-called FIFA legends ambassador at this summers World Cup in Russia, a role which reportedly pays £110,000 plus all expenses covered. Germany’s is Lothar Matthaus, Argentina’s is Diego Maradona, representing Brazil is Ronaldo, and England’s is Wes Brown. No, seriously. It’s Wes Brown.
Anyway, Lothar Matthaus was Germany captain when they lifted the World Cup at Italia ‘90, the highlight of a truly sensational career. Matthaus spent a staggering 20 years as a German international, during which time he racked up a record breaking 150 caps, including a world record 25 appearances at the World Cup, a joint record five tournaments competed in and reaching three World Cup finals.
He finally hung up his boots in 2000, and has since managed both the Hungarian and Bulgarian national teams. Matthaus hasn’t worked in management since 2011, though, seemingly preferring the less stressful work of punditry and diplomacy. As well as being an ambassador at the finals in Russia, Matthaus was also an ambassador for Morocco’s failed bid to host the tournament in 2026.