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Top 10 one-club players

We live in an era of Baby Bentleys, getting merk'd by Jar Jar Binks and WAGs, so it's nice to know that there are players out there who value loyalty above cold cash. Ah, you say, but these players all play for big clubs, so why would they want to move? Fair point, but most of the stars in this list will have had big offers from other clubs, and yet they chose to stay, so 'nuff respect to them all.

Totti_gallery__323x4000 1 Francesco Totti (AS Roma, 1993-)
Much maligned and underrated, it's easy to forget that Totti, one of the world's best creative forwards and a World Cup-winner, has stayed loyal to Roma for almost 15 years (and they are not even one of Italy's biggest clubs - I'd put them on a par with Everton and Spurs over here), despite many offers to move to bigger clubs throughout his career. Well done sir, Pies salutes your unflinching loyalty, not to mention your lovely wife.

Click below to read the rest of the list…

Paolo_maldini_maldini_768227 2 Paolo Maldini (AC Milan, 1984-)
Totti sneaks in ahead of Maldini, purely because AC Milan are one of the world's biggest clubs, unlike Totti's Roma. But Maldini is simply a phenomenon, and already recognised as perhaps the greatest defender of all time. He's now 38 and still going strong, some 23 years after he started playing for Milan. When he finally does retire, his No.3 shirt will also be retired. Quite right too. Oh, and he's also one of the nicest guys in football. Pies hearts Paolo.

73296 3 Ryan Giggs (Man Utd 1990-)
Giggsy has now clocked up more than 700 appearances for United, and yet he could have had his pick of the Europe's greatest clubs. OK, so United are one of Europe's greatest clubs but still, you have to admire his loyalty to Old Trafford/Sir Alex Ferguson. Some fans may accuse Giggs of lacking ambition because he never moved on when he had the chance, but he's won so much in a United shirt that you can't really have a pop at him for that.

Raul_gonzalez_znow_byl_1203767 4 Raul Gonzalez (Real Madrid 1994-)
Mr Madrid, the all-time top scorer in the Champions League and for the Spanish national team, is rightly a hero in his home town. Madrid fans love their captain like a son. Now approaching 30, Raul will probably never leave Madrid, and it's easy to see him taking a coaching role when he hangs up his boots. Again, he had plenty of big-money offers, but spurned them all.

Scholes_paul_mufc_profile_2005 5 Paul Scholes (Man Utd 1993-)
Ah, we come to the Ginger Prince, Scholesy, the Ginger Nina. Call him what you like, Scholes is simply one of England's greatest ever creative midfielders. He ranked No.9 in Pies' 100 Greatest Premiership Players mega-list. We said about him: "The most admirable thing about Scholes is his utter professionalism. To use a cliche, he lets his football do all the talking. And what a footballer he is – in our opinion he's the best English midfielder to have played in the Premiership. His touch, vision and mid-range shooting are all world-class. If he could tackle, then he'd be even higher up this list."

Jcarragherengland 6 Jamie Carragher (Liverpool 1996-)
Carragher was signed as an apprentice by Liverpool in his teens and he's still going strong at Anfield. He's been in wonderful form this season, particularly in Europe, leading to many experts claiming that he is currently England's best centre-back. It's no exaggeration to say that Carra is one of the most popular players in Liverpool's history. Most fans on The Kop do indeed dream of 'a team of Carraghers…'

Img226048 7 Alessandro Costacurta (AC Milan 1985-)
In many ways, Costacurta is a poor man's Paolo Maldini. In this case, however, that is no slight; now 40, Costa has been a world-class defender in his own right for ages. He'll retire at the end of this season, and although his shirt won't be retired too, he'll still go down as one of Milan's all-time greats. Oh, and like Maldini he has a rather attractive WAG to look after him in his dotage.

Gary_neville__manch_227632s 8 Gary Neville (Man Utd 1992-)
Really, Neville has had no choice but to stay at Old Trafford. After all, who else would take him? Cut the Neviller and he bleeds United Red. Whether you like England's most renowned badge-kisser or not (and many non-United fans can't stand him), you have to admire his professionalism, longevity and amazing levels of performance. How often does he have a shockingly bad game? … Exactly.

Xavi 9 Xavi (Barcelona 1998-)
Barca's vice-captain joined the club when he was just 11, and he's still there some 17 years later, despite several lucrative offers from other big clubs in Europe. Xavi  is contracted to Barca until 2010, with a buyout clause of £100 million. That shows you just how much he is valued at the Nou Camp.

Guti 10 Guti (Real Madrid 1995-)
An underrated playmaker, Guti has been in and out of Madrid's starting XI more times than Emile Heskey's tripped over his boot laces. Despite that, he has not looked to move to a lower-profile club, where he would be guaranteed of regular first-team football.

Any other one-club stars you'd like to nominate? Fill your boots…

March 13, 2007 in Lists | Permalink


even though he's retired now i think le tiss should have a special mention. it was often said that he'd be an england regular if he's have gone to a bigger club (and there were plenty that would have took him), but he stayed true to southampton.

to a lesser extent, the same could be said about kevin nolan

Posted by: Glenn | Mar 13, 2007 3:00:25 PM

le tiss certainly deserves a mention, although the list features only current players. Thx for your comments, Ollie.

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Mar 13, 2007 3:09:18 PM

How about Gerrard? If Carragher made the list Gerrard can't be far off

Posted by: Dan | Mar 13, 2007 4:45:00 PM

le tissier was a lazy f who wasn't prepared to go to a bigger club and fight for a place in the starting XI

Posted by: patrick | Mar 13, 2007 5:38:29 PM

guti is a great choice, he could be in the top XI at most squads around europe and he has stuck with r.m. he may be a bit inconsistent but hes a joy to watch play sometimes. like the very cheeky backheel assist he had last year. can anybody find that clip and post it?

Posted by: Tommy | Mar 13, 2007 6:02:06 PM

found it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MI_QVD9HSM

Posted by: Tommy | Mar 13, 2007 6:07:51 PM

Paul Scholes will be the man to bring Oldham Athletic back to the premiership!!!!!!

Up the Latics!

Posted by: FB | Mar 13, 2007 6:16:52 PM

errr....JT anyone??? far better than fucking carragher

Posted by: charlie | Mar 13, 2007 6:57:31 PM

I don't know if you can count Cobi Jones, but I'd like to submit him anyway. Before MLS started in 1996, he had stints in Brasil (Vasco) and England (Coventry.) Once the LA Galaxy formed, he was the first player named to the squad, and he's the only MLS player remaining on his original team from the first season of the league. He is Mr. LA Galaxy.

Posted by: Jamesey | Mar 13, 2007 7:02:20 PM

Terry had a loan stint with Nottingham Forrest in 2000. Still technically a member of Chelsea though.

You could also argue that Giggs started out with Man City youth club. Though Totti played for numerous youth clubs as well. Just matters how technical you want to get I guess.

Stevie G should definitely be on this list, probably first, he's never going anywhere and no one on the list has ever been as highly valued as him right now.

Posted by: Pete Worst | Mar 13, 2007 7:22:10 PM

No, youth clubs don't count - nor loan spells. Terry and Stevie G both still too young to figure, but definitely came into the reckoning.

Charlie, I wouldn't say JT is 'far better' than Carra - better, yes, but not far better.

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Mar 13, 2007 8:28:29 PM

Better than Carra? Don't make me laugh. I'd rather have Zat Knight than John Terry.

And to the guy who badmouthed Matt Le Tiss, go wash your mouth. Players like Le Tiss (and also Frank Worthington, Rodney Marsh, Stan Bowles, Glenn Hoddle) are the reason England will never win anything: our shit-for-brains coaches are always wary of genuine creativity, whilst in Brazil they are put on pedestals and worshipped like gods.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 13, 2007 10:32:39 PM

Puyol for Barca........

Posted by: bryn | Mar 13, 2007 10:50:28 PM

Rather have Zat Knight than John Terry? The FA might want to have a word with you.

Posted by: joe | Mar 14, 2007 12:43:58 AM

where is stevie g on this list? i gess he's to young that cud be my only explanation

Posted by: steve | Mar 14, 2007 1:43:03 AM

Come on Joe, Zat Knight is not better than Terry. Not even Fulham fans would say that!

Posted by: Ollie, Pies Ed. | Mar 14, 2007 1:54:57 AM

It's a hyperbole, what I'm trying to say is Terry isn't THAT good.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 14, 2007 8:30:56 AM

Let's be careful not to overrate Carragher - I have no doubt he's good, but if you think about it it's only Liverpool fans who would put him in the England side. Terry, Ferdinand, Woodgate are far superior

Posted by: Dan | Mar 14, 2007 1:10:08 PM

i'm not a liverpool fan but i'd like to see him in the england starting XI. terry is better but i'd like to see him in over rio. rio has too many lapses in concentration and you always have the feeling that he isn't satisfied in defence - he'd much rather be further up the pitch

Posted by: bryn | Mar 14, 2007 2:24:59 PM

lol zat knight XD

and hoddle was actually a really good manager, but his wierdness let him down.

carra for me is JT's northern doppleganger.. not much to seperate them at all really, except maybe JT is a better leader..

gerrard cant be on the list because he WOULD have moved to chelski if he didnt get those death threats ;P

Posted by: joe1 | Mar 14, 2007 4:17:26 PM

I think Terry is too often a blunt instrument, especially for England. He just looks a bit off the pace of the game as a centre back, Rio always seems a lot more solid to me. And Carra is just immense, both for club and country. A defending Gerrard, if you like.

Posted by: Jay | Mar 15, 2007 1:47:20 PM

Del Piero.. he turns down Man Utd for serie B..

Posted by: zaid | Mar 15, 2007 11:51:43 PM

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