Of all the things that define a football player's career, trophies are arguably the most important. The most memorable sides in history have had incredible trophy-laden spells that have defined their dominance and it comes as no surprise that the players who played for Pep Guardiola's Barcelona and Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United have glittering trophy cabinets.
At least six trophies are within reach the top sides in Europe's top five leagues every year. Pep Guardiola's legendary Barcelona side remains the only team to have won all six possible trophies in a single year.
Barcelona dominates the list of most successful football players
Spanish giants Barcelona unsurprisingly dominate the list of footballers with the most trophy-laden careers in the game. Since the turn of the century, Barcelona has dominated La Liga and has won four Champions League titles.
The Catalan club reached its pinnacle under Pep Guardiola who won 14 titles in his four years at Barcelona and most of the players on this list belong to that all-conquering side.
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi narrowly misses out on the list and has 34 trophies. The diminutive Argentine is still the best player in the world at the moment and is still likely to win many more trophies in the years to come.
Also Read: Who has won the most La Liga titles?
#5 Ryan Giggs - 35 trophies
Ryan Giggs is the only player on this list to have never played for Barcelona. The Welsh midfielder is arguably one of the greatest players in the history of Manchester United and etched himself into the club's folklore after a magnificent career.
Giggs spent 24 years at Manchester United and was Sir Alex Ferguson's most loyal soldier. The Welshman won a record 13 Premier League titles at the club and is the most successful Premier League footballer of all time.
The midfielder also holds the record for the most assists in Premier League history and has set up his teammates on 162 occasions. Ryan Giggs also won two Champions League titles with Manchester United and is one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
#4 Gerard Pique - 35 trophies
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has had an exceptionally successful career and is fourth on this list with 35 trophies. The La Masia graduate left Barcelona to join Manchester United in 2004 and won the Premier League, the Champions League, and the League Cup with the Red Devils.
Pique spent most of his time at Manchester United on the bench and was brought back to Barcelona by Pep Guardiola in 2008. The centre-back formed an excellent partnership with legendary Barcelona captain Carles Puyol and was a crucial part of Guardiola's brilliant jigsaw puzzle at Barcelona.
Gerard Pique has been a lynchpin in Barcelona's defence for over a decade now and has won three Champions League titles and eight La Liga titles with the club. The defender is still 33 years of age and can still add to his impressive tally.
#3 Maxwell - 37 trophies
While a large section of fans across the world argue that Maxwell's inclusion on this list must not be taken seriously, a list of the teams that the Brazilian played for reveals that he had an enviable career.
Maxwell is certainly not one of the best players in history and was mostly used as a fringe player by some of the most successful teams in the modern era. The Brazilian made his name at Ajax and went on to play for the likes of Inter Milan, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Maxwell has won two La Liga titles, four Ligue 1 titles, and three Serie A titles. The Brazilian left-back has been successful in three of the top 5 European Leagues and is one of the most decorated football players in history.
#2 Andres Iniesta - 37 trophies
Andres Iniesta is probably one of only a handful of players to receive a standing ovation from every single top-flight stadium in a country. Such is the respect the Barcelona legend commands in Spain.
Iniesta scored the decisive goal in Spain's only World Cup triumph and also won the European Championships in 2008 and 2012 with the national team. The Spaniard is considered one of the best midfielders to have ever graced the game and won several trophies during his 15-year stay in Barcelona's first team.
In addition to his success with the national team, Andres Iniesta has won four Champions League titles and nine La Liga titles with Barcelona. The midfielder currently plies his trade with Vissel Kobe in Japan.
#1 Dani Alves - 40 trophies
Former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves is the former decorated player in the history of the beautiful game. The Brazilian was a pivotal presence in Pep Guardiola's Barcelona side and his relationship with Lionel Messi resulted in plenty of silverware for the Catalan side.
Dani Alves joined Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and went on to win three Champions League titles with the Catalan club. The Brazilian right-back was won league titles in Italy and France and is one of Europe's most successful players.
The Barcelona right-back was also an important figure in the Brazilian national team's setup and captained his country to a Copa America triumph in 2019 and was voted the most valuable player of the tournament.
Dani Alves' incredible tally of 40 trophies is a monumental feat and will be difficult to replicate. Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi are the only two footballers with an active chance of seizing the top spot on this list in the near future.
Note: All stats have been gathered from Transfermarkt
Published 08 Jul 2020, 17:44 IST