Top Ten - Greatest "One Club Men"
Phillip Lahm – Bayern Munich – 547 Appearances
The industrious right-back, who was also even deployed as a midfielder by Pep Guardiola, has been at Bavarian giants Bayern since he was just 11 years old and despite two seasons on-loan at Stuttgart when he was 22, Lahm has represented Die Roten for his entire career. In total, Lahm has so far played 501 times for Bayern Munich, winning the Bundesliga 7 times, the Pokal Cup six times and the Champions League once; a stunning array of silverware, bettered further by his 2014 World Cup winners medal.With huge transfer fees, wage increases and sign-on deals, players are too often tempted to leave their team for pastures new, but a few, such as Lahm, have stayed loyal
Francesco Totti – Roma – 785 Appearances
Perhaps the most iconic of all one club men, Francesco Totti lined out for AS Roma for 25 years, becoming not only the second-highest goalscorer in Serie A history (250) and the club’s highest appearance maker (785), but the living embodiment of the club itself. Winning the World Cup in 2006 was undoubtedly his career highlight, but the Italian playmaker’s greatest achievement at the club came in 2001. It is very rare for a team outside of the big three of AC Milan, Inter or Juventus to win the Scudetto, but with Totti and Gabriel Batistuta leading the way Roma attained the ultimate glory.
Paul Scholes – Man Utd – 718 Appearances
Two of the modern day greats in Zinedine Zidane and Xavi both claimed that Paul Scholes was the best player they ever played against which speaks volumes for the player he was. Scholes had two spells as a Utd Player having been talked out of retirement and in a 17 year career he racked up 718 Appearances and 155 Goals. International retirement at 29 no doubt prolonged his club career but Scholes is a player that will be talked about as one of the best box to box midfielders in his early years and sitting midfielders in his latter years. Like Giggs his honours were astonishing.
Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich – 570 Appearances*
What a Career Thomas Muller has had and he is still a regular fixture in a Bayern Munich team that completed a Champions League, Bundesliga and DFK Pokal Treble last season. Muller was once Quoted as saying “I could earn more by moving,” . “The figures that foreign clubs were talking about for me were astronomical. I can only say: a change was never really an issue for me anyway. FC Bayern is my club.”. With such Loyalty no wonder he is a Bayern Fans favourite. Still only 31 years old he could go on to break a number of records at the Bavarian club before he retires. To date Muller has 570 Appearances for Munich and has scored 215 Goals.
Guiseppe Bergomi – Inter Milan – 756 Appearances
Bergomi is regarded as “Mr Inter Milan”, he was a versatile defender who could play anywhere along the back line but spent much of his career at Right Back both with Inter and the Italian National team who he represented 81 times. Bergomi was the first full back of his generation to bring attacking options to the position and was one of the best athletes in Serie A and often racked up over 10km every game up and down the flank. Despite Inter winning just one Serie A title during his period at the club Bergomi stayed a One Club Man and finished his career at The San Siro with 756 Appearances for the Nerazzurri
Lev Yashin – Dinamo Moscow – 326 Appearances
Yashin is regarded by many as the greatest Goalkeeper of all time and remains to this day the only Goalkeeper to ever win the prestigious “Ballon’d’or” award as the Worlds best footballer. Yashin picked up the nickname “The Black Panther” due to his ability on goal and his full career spent in a full black kit. It is suggested that Yashin saved over 150 Penalties during his 22 year career at Dinamo Moscow. Clubs often came in for Yashin but he stayed loyal to Dinamo Moscow and racked up an impressive 326 Career Appearances for them. Many suggest that Yashin satyed loyal to Dinamo due to the clubs close links to The Soviet Interior Ministry who had a firm hold on the footballers of the Soviet Union during this period.
Jack Charlton – Leeds Utd – 762 Appearances
Jack Charlton played a total of 762 times for Leeds Utd and will always be regarded as one of the club greats but it could have been so different. At age 15 Charlton was offered a trial with Leeds Utd but declined the offer and chose to follow in his fathers footsteps and work as a miner in his native North East of England. Having spent a short time down the mines and not enjoying it he took up the offer of a trial and become a football legend at both club and International Level. Charlton was part of the 1966 World Cup winning team. Bill Shankly tried to take him to Liverpool as did Matt Busby at Manchester Utd but he never left Elland Road despite two relegations during his career and remains the club record appearance holder at the club.
Ryan Giggs – Man Utd – 963 Appearances
What made Ryan Giggs such a special player was his ability to reinvent the way he played the game throughout his years at Man Utd. When he burst on to the scene as a 17 Year Old he was a pacy winger with plenty of skill and as he lost a yard of pace cemented himself as one of the best play makers in Premier League History. His Honours speak for themselves with 13 Premier League Titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups 2 Champions League. He was linked with a big money move to Italy early in his career but he stayed loyal to Sir Alex Ferguson and ended his career with 963 Appearances for the club.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona – 763 Appearances *
Lionel Messi was just 13 when he arrived at the famed “La Masia” Academy in Barcelona. He was touted as a special player from an early age and made his 1st team debut at just 16 years and 4 months. Since then it has been a trophy laden 18 Years in Catalunya where Messi has cemented himself as arguably the best player that ever lived. With 6 “Ballon’D’Or” awards and numerous team trophies he will live forever in the memories of football fans around the world. Before the summer of 2020 Messi had never been tempted to leave Barcelona and with a new president due next year it looks likely that Messi could end his career as a one club man. At the time of this article Messi had made 763 Appearances for Barca scoring an incredible 645 Goals
Paolo Maldini – AC Milan – 902 Appearances
Maldini is often spoken as the best left back in the history of the game and it is hard to argue with that, he spent his full 25 year career at AC Milan and racked up an astonishing amount of honours including 7 Serie A title and 5 Champions Leagues successes. International Success eluded Maldini falling just short at the 1994 World Cup but he made 126 appearances for “The Azzurri”. A testament to Maldini’s fitness and dedication was his award as the best defender in Europe at the age of 39. AC Milan were so dominant during his career at The San Siro that he was never tempted to leave and in total played 902 times for Milan. He was affectionately known as “Il Capitano” by his clubs supporters