There have been some great players to grace the beautiful game over the course of history. But featuring in the top European competition and doing it year on year for a solitary club with the immense amount of loyalty and dedication, is something special.
Here we look at the six players who have spent the most amount of time with a single club and continued to appear in the Champions League time and again:
6) Sergio Ramos – 16 seasons – Real Madrid
It has been a long time since Ramos moved from Sevilla in the 2005/06 season. And ever since then, he has been a mainstay in the Real Madrid defence often even earning the tag of ‘Captain Fantastic’. The current Champions League season is in fact his 16th, and he looks commanding as ever despite the team faltering a little. Ramos has 4 Champions League trophies in his time with the Los Blancos and has also won the UEFA Defender Of The Year on a few occasions.
5) Iker Casillas – 16 seasons – Real Madrid
Unquestionably, Casillas is one of the best goalkeepers of this generation. Many Madrid fans will tell you that he was a loyal servant who represented a defiant defensive wall, and was crucial in the success of the club as well as his nation Spain. He made a representation in Madrid’s 150 games across all European competitions and has even won the coveted Champions League title three times in his career.
4) Xavi – 16 seasons – Barcelona
Part of Barcelona’s gem of a midfield which consisted of generational talents, Xavi was right at the heart of whatever the Catalan club did, often pulling the strings in the middle of the park. The Spanish midfielder really peaked alongside Iniesta and Busquets, under Pep Guardiola’s reign during the late 2000s. Xavi also won the Champions League trophy four times in his career under three different managers – Rijkaard, Guardiola and Luis Enrique.
3) Paul Scholes – 17 seasons – Manchester United
An academy product who spent his entire career playing as a one-club man, Paul Scholes was truly one of the best midfielders Manchester United ever produced. He was part of the Red Devils’ instrumental runs in the Champions League and struck fear in opponents who faced them. Scholes made a total of 134 appearances in European competitions and the won the “Big Ears” trophy twice in his time with United.
2) Lionel Messi – 17 seasons – FC Barcelona
The Argentine superstar much like a handful of few people has spent all his life with one club, in this case, FC Barcelona. Since joining the first-team as a young boy in the 2004/05 season, Messi has only emerged into an absolute powerhouse. He has won the Champions League four times now and has been very keen to land a fifth. But regardless, he is only second to Cristiano Ronaldo in the premier European competition, scoring 117 goals across 145 matches.
1) Ryan Giggs – 19 seasons – Manchester United
One of the more influential wingers, Welsh descent Ryan Giggs had tremendous endurance and stamina levels to keep performing for Manchester for a long, long time. Coming from the rival club academy of Manchester City, Giggs went onto become a club legend at United and was credited for his brilliant trickery, dribbling and had a special eye for goal. Giggs, much like Scholes, also spent his time at just the one club and won the Champions League trophy twice in 1999 and 2008.
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