One Club Football Players

rogerio ceni
Rogério Ceni - By Ricardo Stuckert/PR [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

As Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid fans know only too well, money can buy you virtually anything in football. The one thing it can’t buy you, though, is loyalty. The great irony of filling a team with the best players that money can buy is that they’ll leave if someone offers them more money, such is the life of a mercenary.

Here we have a look at some of the most notable one-club players in the history of football. They may not necessarily be the players that have played the most games statistically, especially as some random South American players could easily have notched up thousands of games without anyone playing them a blind bit of notice. What they are, though, are some of the biggest and best players in Europe from the past twenty year or so. And one South American player who has notched up over a thousand games without anyone paying him a blind bit of notice.

Top 11 Football Players To Play For Just One Club

Rogério Ceni (1152 Appearances) - Sao Paolo

It’s true that goalkeepers go through less wear and tear than outfield players, but even so the achievement of Rogério Ceni is not to be sniffed at. He has made 1152 appearances for Sao Paolo, meaning he’s played the most games for any club, ever. He’s also scored more than 100 goals - no mean feat for a goalkeeper!

Ryan Giggs (963 Appearances) - Manchester United

Giggsy, as he is affectionately known to United’s loyal fans, might not have notched up as many appearances as Rogério Ceni but he’s unquestionably been more successful during an incredible career. With 963 Manchester United appearances to his name the Welshman has won the Premier League thirteen times, the FA Cup four times, three League Cups and two Champions League winner’s medals. One of Alex Ferguson’s most loyal servants, Giggsy never let his colourful personal life affect what he could do on the pitch.

Paolo Maldini (902 Appearances) - AC MiLAN

As a defender Paolo Maldini was virtually unbeatable and it looked as if not even age could weary him when he entered his 25th season as a 40-year-old. Eventually he retired at the age of 41 but not until he’d played an incredible 902 appearances for AC Milan, winning 26 trophies along the way. Winning the Champions League five times with a club no doubt earns you hero status, and Maldini retired as a living legend.

Jack Charlton (744 Appearances) - LEEDS UNITED

As one club players go there are not many more loved than Jack Charlton.  He may be best known for his role in the 1966 World Cup winning England team and then later as a manager of Ireland, who he took to two World Cups and one European Championship, but domestically he was about as loyal as a player can get.  Jack made 744 appearances in total for Leeds from 1953 to 1973, 628 in the league, 52 in the FA Cup, 7 in the League Cup and 56 European games plus one charity shield match following Leeds league in in 1969.

Jamie Carragher (737 Appearances) - Liverpool

The lad from Bootle was often over-shadowed during his Liverpool career by the presence of his mate and fellow local-lad Steven Gerrard, but that was just the way he liked it. Carra, as he’ll always been known to the Liverpool fans, played 737 times for the club and was the Vice-Captain for ten years. He left Liverpool with a winners’ medal for every major trophy apart from the Premier League, with the Anfield faithful often singing about wanting a ‘team of Carraghers’.

Paul Scholes (718 Appearances) - Manchester United

The unassuming lad with ginger hair who could put in a decent tackle if he wanted to, Paul Scholes played for United 718 times before his proper retirement in 2013. We say proper because he retired in 2011 only to change his mind in September of the following year. Zinidine Zidane was once asked what it was like to be the best player in the world and he replied, “Ask Paul Scholes”.

John Terry (713 Appearances) - Chelsea

If Tony Adams was Mr Arsenal then meet his mate, Mr Chelsea. Terry sums up everything that is means to be part of Chelsea Football Club, both the good and the bad. The fans refer to him as ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’, whilst the British press often acknowledge what he did for the national side over the years by calling him ‘England’s Brave John Terry’. At the time of writing he’s notched up 713 appearances for the Blues before moving to Aston Villa. During his time at Stamford Bridge he’s captained a nouveau riche Chelsea side to four Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups and one each of the Europa League and the Champions League. Roman Abramovich might have bought in the best players in the world, but a London boy helped them lift the trophies.

Steven Gerrard (710 Appearances) - Liverpool

Alongside Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard is one of Liverpool’s greatest players. He rescued the club from what appeared to be dire situations on more than one occasion, including a goal that led the Reds to one of the most famous fightbacks in European Cup history when they over-turned a 3-0 deficit to beat AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul in 2005. He will always regret not leading the Merseyside club to a Premier League title, but with virtually every other medal in club football under his belt as well as numerous person honours, he has nothing to be ashamed of. 710 appearances, 186 goals and eight trophies is a haul anyone would be proud of. Stevie G is technically not a one-club player, of course, have gone on to play for the LA Galaxy, but that’s in America so it really doesn’t count as competitive football…

Francesco Totti (707 Appearances) - Roma

Totti scored 290 goals and assisted another 181 during his 707 appearances for Roma. Those numbers mean that he was involved in a goal at least every other game, statistically. To top it all off he’s also the Italian club’s most capped player, leading the Italian press to call him variously ‘Il Gladiatore’, ‘Il Re di Roma’ or ‘Il Bimbo d’Oro’.

Carlos Puyol (682 Appearances) - Barcelona

The shaggy haired centre-back was widely considered to be one of the best defenders in the world when he was at his peak. He played for Barcelona 682 times over sixteen years and was the club’s captain from 2004 until his retirement from the Catalan giants in 2014, having won 21 titles with them.

Tony Adams (672 Appearances) - Arsenal

The England centre-back was known as ‘Mr Arsenal’, such was his contribution to the history of the Gunners. He ran out for them 672 times, spending 18 seasons in North London. He’s that revered by Arsenal fans that he has a statue in his honour outside The Emirates Stadium.