In the modern era, loyalty is a luxury that most clubs struggle to afford. Players are constantly switching sides to extract the best out of their employers. However, it wasn’t always the case, as the beautiful game has witnessed numerous one-club players over the course of history. On that note, let’s take a look at 5 legendary footballers who only played for one team in their career.
10. Matt Le Tissier – Southampton
Christened as ‘Le God’ by Southampton fans, Matt Le Tissier spent the entirety of his career at Saint Mary’s Stadium. Despite playing for a mid-tier team, Le Tissier used to bully big teams for fun on a weekly basis. It was his love for his boyhood club and not a lack of talent that made him stay with the Saints for 16 years. The first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League, Le Tissier is undoubtedly the best Southampton player of all time.
9. Jamie Carragher – Liverpool
The footballer-turned-pundit was once a mainstay in a dominant Liverpool side. Jamie Carragher, along with Steven Gerrard, epitomized the idea of loyalty for Liverpool, spending 17 years with the club. Carragher was the vice-captain of the Reds for 10 years, racking up a gargantuan tally of 737 appearances for his side. One of the most underrated centre-backs indeed.
8. Rogerio Ceni – Sao Paulo
A Sao Paulo veteran through and through, Rogerio Ceni is one of the most unusual players of all time. Besides possessing extraordinary shot-stopping skills, Ceni also had a knack for scoring. A dead-ball specialist, Ceni is credited with netting 131 goals in his career, making him the goalkeeper with the most goals in the history of football. On top of that, the Brazilian was a one-club man, amassing 1,257 club appearances during his 25-year-long career.
7. Tony Adams – Arsenal
Considering Arsenal‘s current plight, it is hard to imagine that the Gunners were once home to a legend like Tony Adams. The Englishman was a rock-solid centre-back, possessing exceptional leadership skills. A graduate of Arsenal’s esteemed academy, Adams spent 19 years with the senior squad, captaining them to numerous titles.
6. Lev Yashin – Dynamo Moscow
Widely considered to be the best goalkeeper of all time, Lev Yashin was awarded the Ballon d’Or for his achievements in 1963. Fast forward 58 years, and he is still the only non-outfield player to have received the accolade. Known for his imposing presence in goal and acrobatic reflex saves, Yashin spent a whopping 20 years with hometown club Dynamo Moscow, racking up 326 appearances.
5. Carles Puyol – Barcelona
An absolute world-beater at Barcelona, Carles Puyol was as loyal as they come by. Having received his footballing education from La Masia, Puyol made his debut for the club in 1999. The lion-hearted centre-half would go on to make 593 appearances for Barcelona in the following 15 years. Having captained his side for a decade, Puyol retired in 2014 as a legend.
4. Francesco Totti – AS Roma
Rarely do we get to see a generational talent like Francesco Totti, not acquiring a move to the biggest clubs in Europe. However, the legendary forward famously turned down Real Madrid in favor of extending his stay at boyhood club Roma. Instead, the Italian stalwart would go on to make 785 appearances for La Lupa, scoring 307 goals and leading them to a rare Serie A victory in 2001.
3. Paul Scholes – Manchester United
When the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta fight for acquiring your jersey, you know that you’ve made it as a professional. Paul Scholes’ Manchester United career is a tale of the legends, with the English veteran racking up 711 appearances in 19 years with the club. The fact that he came out of retirement to aid his club, winning them the Premier League title in the 2012-13 season, is a testament to his legacy.
2. Paolo Maldini – AC Milan
Carrying on the family legacy, Paolo Maldini followed in his father’s footsteps, joining AC Milan as a 10-year-old. He would go on to spend all 25 seasons of his playing career with the Rossoneri, retiring at the age of 41 in 2009. One of the best defenders to ever grace a football pitch, Maldini is a bonafide Milan legend.
1. Ryan Giggs – Manchester United
Ryan Giggs finally ended a 29-year association with Manchester United in 2016, departing from Old Trafford having made an unfathomable 940 appearances there. A certified Premier League legend, Giggs initially enrolled in Manchester City‘s academy, switching allegiances after just two years. The rest, as we know, is history. Having managed the Reds for a brief period of time, Giggs is now the head coach of the Welsh national team.