AS Roma’s Francesco Totti is currently Europe’s longest-serving one-club playerIn today’s world of highly competitive football, one-club players are hard to find. Maintaining a high level of quality for years, even decades, becomes tougher after the age of 30 and most clubs are not willing to retain players who show signs of aging.But there are certain players who have kept the young ones waiting in the wings as they continue to consistently do enough to impress and extend their contracts. There are also others who have been at their respective clubs from the very first day as a footballer and are yet to lose their sheen to even be considered being put on the list of players to be sold.And some clubs simply value loyalty over performances and reward such players for who play for the shirt rather than the paycheck. We look at which league has the least and most number of one-club men currently plying their trade in Europe’s top five leagues.Data taken from CIES Football Observatory. Only players over the age of 27 have been included.
#5 Premier League - 2 players
There are no prizes for guessing why the Premier League falls behind when it comes to retaining players who are in their 30s. A physical, cut-throat league where even the slightest slip-up is punished, clubs simply cannot afford to have players who are more of a liability to the team.
A punishing schedule and the relentless hustle and bustle over a season simply breaks players who are not cut of the same cloth such as Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. The Welsh winger spent 24 seasons at Old Trafford before retiring at the age of 40 – a jaw-dropping achievement that even had rival players shaking their heads and applauding his longevity in the English game.
Currently, there are only two players who have spent their entire careers at one club – Tonny Hibbert (Everton) and Andy King (Leicester City). While King is only 27 and still has a long way to go, 35-year-old Hibbert has been at Everton since the age of 10, joining the youth system in 1991.
John Terry would have made the list had he not gone on loan at Nottingham Forest, but he is currently the longest serving player at any Premier League club.
|2||Andy King||Leicester City||9|