Money can buy you almost anything in sports, as Chelsea, Manchester City, and Real Madrid fans know all too well. But there’s one thing it can’t buy you: loyalty.
The great irony of assembling a team of the best players money can buy is that if someone offers them more money, they’ll leave. Such is the life of a mercenary.
They might not be the players that have played the most games statistically, especially since some random South American players could have easily racked up thousands of games without anyone paying attention.
They are, however, some of Europe’s biggest and best players from the last two decades or so. And there’s one South American gamer who has racked up over a thousand games without attracting any attention.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most famous players who played for one club in football history.
Giggsy, as he is popularly known among United’s ardent supporters, may not have made as many appearances as Rogério Ceni, but he has definitely had a more successful career.
With 963 games for Manchester United, the Welshman has won thirteen Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two Champions League titles. Giggsy, one of Alex Ferguson’s most devoted slaves, never let his colourful personal life interfere with his ability to perform on the game.
Paolo Maldini was practically invincible as a defender, and it appeared that not even age could slow him down when he approached his 25th season as a 40-year-old.
He finally retired at the age of 41, but not before making an incredible 902 appearances for AC Milan and won 26 championships. It goes without saying that winning the Champions League five times with a club earns you hero status, and Maldini retired as a living legend.
There aren’t many club players who are more adored than Jack Charlton. He was best known for his participation in England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team and then as a manager of Ireland, which he led to two World Cups and one European Championship, but he was also a fiercely devoted home player.
From 1953 to 1973, Jack appeared in 744 games for Leeds, including 628 league games, 52 FA Cup games, 7 League Cup games, 56 European games, and one charity shield match when the club won the league in 1969.
During his Liverpool career, the youngster from Bootle was frequently overshadowed by his friend and fellow local-lad Steven Gerrard, but that was exactly how he liked it. Carra, as he was affectionately known by Liverpool fans, made 737 appearances for the club and served as Vice-Captain for eleven years.
Apart from the Premier League, he departed Liverpool with a winner’s medal for every major prize, with the Anfield supporters often singing about wanting a ‘team of Carraghers.’
Paul Scholes, the unassuming ginger-haired lad who could put in a nice tackle if he wanted to, played 718 times for United before his official retirement in 2013.
We say proper since he announced his retirement in 2011 only to reverse his decision in September of the following year.
Fans refer to him as ‘Captain, Leader, Legend,’ while the British press refers to him as ‘England’s Brave John Terry’ because of his contributions to the national team throughout the years.
He made 713 appearances for the Blues before moving to Aston Villa at the time of writing. He captained a nouveau riche Chelsea side to four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, and one each of the Europa League and the Champions League during his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Steven Gerrard, along with Jamie Carragher, is one of Liverpool’s best players. Anyone would be proud of 710 appearances, 186 goals, and eight titles. Of course, Stevie G went on to play for the LA Galaxy, but that’s in America, so it doesn’t count as competitive football.
During his 707 appearances for Roma, Totti scored 290 goals and assisted on another 181. Statistically, such figures indicate that he was involved in a goal at least once every other game. He’s also the most capped player for the Italian club, earning him the nicknames ‘Il Gladiatore,’ ‘Il Re di Roma,’ and ‘Il Bimbo d’Oro,’ according to the Italian press.
When he was at his prime, the shaggy-haired centre-back was widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world. He played 682 times for Barcelona over sixteen years, serving as captain from 2004 until his retirement in 2014, having won 21 titles with the Catalan giants.
Because of his role to Arsenal’s history, the England centre-back was dubbed “Mr Arsenal.” He played 672 times for them in 18 seasons in North London. Arsenal supporters hold him in such high regard that a statue of him stands outside the Emirates Stadium.