Football doesn’t want to admit it, but its players have become bigger than the teams they play for. Bigger than the leagues they ply their trade in and bigger than even the national teams they are selected for. Even the biggest clubs and nations have gone soft to unreasonable demands and behaviour as they strive for success.
Player power is here to stay and just like their clubs, fans have been forced into positions where they have to just grin and bear it.
In these times it is refreshing, counter-intuitive and quite surprising to find footballers who live the best part of their footballing careers (if not all of them) playing for just one club.
Here are 20 of the most loyal footballers in Europe – 20 players who have spent the most time playing for just one club (stats courtesy of IMScouting.com). Some of them are virtual household names, others unheard of, but all are role models for the younger players at their clubs and for footballers everywhere:Player Team Years
Paolo Maldini AC Milan 25
Sander Boschker FC Twente Enschede 19
Roar Strand Rosenborg BK 19
Ryan Giggs Manchester United 19
Jean-francois Douence FC Libourne St Seurin 18
Alon Harazi Maccabi Haifa 18
Ladislav Pecko Slovan Bratislava 18
Francesco Totti AS Roma 17
Pedro Roma Academica de Coimbra 17
Toni Huttunen MyPa Anjalankoski 17
Gary Neville Manchester United 17
Paul Scholes Manchester United 17
Pavel Verbir FK Teplice 17
Kim Daugaard Brøndby IF 16
Steve Harper Newcastle United 16
Oliver Glasner SV Ried 16
Jussi Kuoppala Tampere United 16
Pedro Paços de Ferreira 16
Vladimir Maminov Lokomotiv Moskva 16
Alessandro Del Piero Juventus FC Torino 16