“Play for the name on the front of the shirt and they will remember the name at the back”
The summer transfer window is almost here and the big clubs all around the world are ready to splash a huge load of cash to get their hands on the best talents available. And let’s face it, folks, it literally breaks our heart when we see one of our favourite players leave the team. However, there have been numerous players throughout history who have remained with their respective teams through thick and thin. They are football’s One Club Men. One of them being Roma legend Francesco Totti, who will hang up his boots at the end of the season after 25 years at the club.
Let’s take a look at some One Club Men in the history of modern football:
The Portuguese shot-stopper has recently found the limelight after his Euro 2016 triumph. However, not many are familiar with the fact that Patricio has represented only Sporting CP till date. He has been with the club since he was 12 years old. Debuting with the senior team in 2006, Patricio has now completed more than a decade of faithful service. However, starting regularly became a reality only in 2007, when the club’s first choice, Ricardo, moved to Real Betis.
When you have the club’s home ground named after you, you can be sure that you have engraved your name with the club’s greatest. Real Madrid’s home ground, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has been named after none other than the club’s former president and forward. The legend represented the Los Blancos from 1911 to 1927, and then from 1943 to 1978 as the President.
The legendary Barcelona Captain, Carles Puyol had been a synonym for loyalty at Catalonia. A product of the famed La Masia Academy, Puyol came through Barcelona’s youth system. Puyol was offered a chance to leave Barcelona in 1998 when Malaga C F scouted him. However, seeing his friend and teammate Xavi Hernandez being promoted to the first team, Puyol decided to stay. After 15 years of faithful service and 21 trophies to testify, Puyol retired as a club legend in 2014.
Debuting at the senior level at a small age of 16 years, Totti has been wearing the colours of AS Roma since 1992. It is 2017 and he still comes on for his side. That’s 25 years of faithful service. Winning a total of 5 titles with Roma till date, Totti is one of those players who is seen as the winning image of the club. He recently completed his 615th appearance in Serie A, third highest alongside Javier Zanetti.
Winning a whopping total of 25 trophies, including 11 premier league titles and 2 UEFA Champions League titles, Paul Scholes is undoubtedly one of the most successful English footballers of all times. However, Scholes won all his titles for a single club, Manchester United. Scholes made a total of 718 appearances for the Red Devils in a career that spanned from 1994 to 2013.
Gary Neville has been one of those players that helped make Manchester United what it is today. Sporting the Red Shirt from 1994, Neville was the second highest appearance maker for the Devils. Winning a total of 20 trophies over his illustrious career, Neville was considered “the best English right back of his generation” by Sir Alex Ferguson. Being a defender, Neville stepped into the shoes of a play-maker, into big games. Hanging his boots in 2011, he played for almost two decades, six of which he spent as captain.
No list of One Club men is complete without Ryan Giggs. Being a Red Devil for his entire career of 23 years. Debuting in 1991, he is one of the 18 players to make a total of more than 1000 appearances in his career. Throughout his career, Giggs hauled a total of 34 titles with Manchester United, sporting the captain armband on numerous occasions. Giggs continued playing until he reached a ripe age of 40 years, ultimately retiring in 2014.
We are all very familiar with Liverpool’s advertisements which said “Thank God there’s Gerrard”, apparently when a player spends 17 years at a single club, then the club will do what Liverpool did. Gerrard debuted in 1988 and won a total of 8 trophies with the Anfield club, serving as club captain from 2003. Linked with a move to Chelsea during the initial years of his career, Steven turned down an offer of $20 million to remain at Liverpool. Gerrard became only the third player to complete 500 league appearances in the premier league.
Jamie Carragher is another player who was similar to Gerrard in terms of loyalty. For starters, Carragher spent 17 years at Anfield, while serving as vice captain for 10 years. Starting his career at Liverpool academy, and debuting in 1996, Carragher stood as a wall in Liverpool’s defence until his retirement in 2013. Completing a total of 737 appearances in 2013, he is the club’s second ever longest serving player.
Paolo Maldini had been one of the most influential and longest-serving players across all the European leagues. He spent a total of 25 years with AC Milan, winning a total of 26 trophies including 5 UEFA Champions League titles. Debuting in 1985, Maldini, came through Milan’s youth System. He played a total of more than 900 games for Milan, before retiring in 2009. Winning the “Best Defender” Award from UEFA Club football awards at the age of 39, Maldini is widely regarded as a cornerstone of Milan’s defence.
Pelligrini has often been associated with managing football teams. However, a lot of people are unaware that he represented Universidad De Chile for 13 years. After debuting in 1973, Pelligrini went on to play for De Chile before taking up managing teams in 1986. Playing in his home country, he garnered a total of 451 appearances, while scoring 7 goals for the south American side.