The UEFA Champions League’s youngest captains

Rúben Neves became the youngest skipper in Champions League history when he led Porto against Maccabi Tel-Aviv at the Estádio do Dragão, aged 18 years 221 days.

Rúben Neves on being Porto captain:

It’s a dream for everyone at the academy to one day wear the armband and it’s a great privilege.


  1. Rúben Neves – 18 years 221 days

Porto 2-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv, 20 October 2015

On 20th August 2014, Rúben Neves became the youngest Portuguese player in a UEFA Champions League play-off, against Lille. FC Porto’s skipper also became the youngest Portuguese to represent his country in a European Under-21 Championship last summer.

Rúben Neves on becoming the youngest captain in Champions League:

It was special, but what matters was the win, not the individuals.


With usual skipper Maicon out injured and goalkeeper Helton relegated to the bench by Iker Casillas, the 18-year-old became the youngest Porto captain in a European tie.

Rúben Neves:

I’m just like everyone else. Age doesn’t matter. From the day I arrived, I just have to give my best every day like the rest.

    2.  Rafael van der Vaart – 20 years 217 days

AC Milan 1-0 Ajax, 16 September 2003

Neves breaks the record set by Rafael van der Vaart, who captained Ajax against AC Milan in 2003 aged 20 years and 217 days.


   3.  Igor Akinfeev – 20 years 227 days

CSKA Moscow 0-2 Porto, 21 November 2006

Igor Akinfeev was ten days older than Rafael van der Vaart when captained CSKA Moscow at home in 2006.


     4.  Dmytro Chygrynskiy – 20 years and 330 days

SL Benfica 0-1 Shakhtar Donetsk, 03 October 2007

In 2007, the former FC Barcelona defender became the youngest player to captain Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League


    5.   Peter Luccin – 20 years and 348 days

Marseille 0-0 Feyenoord, 22 March 2000

Olympique Marseille’s youngest skipper in the Champions League was the youngest member of France’s squad in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship in Malaysia.


    6. Wayne Rooney – 20 years and 358  days

Manchester United 3-0 FC Copenhagen, 17 October 2006

Rooney was handed the captain’s armband 15 minutes before kick-off after late withdrawals by Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand.



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