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Players who played most matches for a single club

Here in this article we take a look at the players who played most matches for a single club. The players listed in the article dedicated their careers to one club and achieved legendary status while doing so.

Last updated: 06.07.2021
Players who played most matches for a single club

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In football, money can buy almost anything. But there's one thing it can't buy you: loyalty. The great irony of assembling a team of the best players money can buy is that if someone gives them more money, they'll quit. Such is the life of a mercenary. As a result, it is clear that money cannot purchase loyalty. Over the years, there have been a few players who have exemplified the true definition of loyalty.

Aren't one-club footballers, or one-team football players, by definition the most loyal players in football history? This article is dedicated not just to football players who have only played for one club, but also to those who have made the most appearances for their team. The players listed below dedicated their careers to one club and achieved legendary status while doing so. The following are the top players who have made the most appearances while playing for a single club over their careers:

10. Lionel Messi - 810 appearances


Club - Barcelona

Years active: 2003-active

Widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, Lionel Messi is the only active player on this list and can move further up if he chooses to extend his contract with his boyhood club FC Barcelona. Messi is a prolific goalscorer and creative playmaker who owns the records for most goals in La Liga (474), a La Liga and European league season (50), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (8), and most assists in La Liga (192). (21). He has almost 750 senior career goals for club and country, and he holds the record for most goals scored by a single club.

9. Lars Hogh - 817 appearances

Club - Odense BK

Years active: 1977-2000

Lars Hogh is a retired Danish goalkeeper who spent his whole career with Odense Boldklub, where he played for 23 years from 1977 to 2000. With Odense BK, he won three Danish football championships and three Danish Cup medals, as well as five times being named Danish Best Goalkeeper of the Year. He is now the goalkeeping coach for both Brondby IF and the Danish national team.

8. Jimmy Dickinson - 828 appearances

Club - Portsmouth

Years active: 1946-65

Dickinson is the Portsmouth player with the most league appearances (764) and overall appearances (828). As a trainee, he joined Portsmouth and made his debut against Blackburn Rovers in 1946. He soon established himself in the side, playing either wing-half or left-half, and was a key member of the teams that won the league championships in 1948–49 and 1949–50. He was called up to the England national football squad as a result of his efforts. He went on to gain 48 England caps. Dickinson died in 1982, at the age of 57, after suffering three heart attacks.

7. Roy Sproson - 842 appearances

Club - Port Vale

Years active: 1949-72

Roy Sproson is one of the few football players who only played for one club during their careers. He played for Port Vale in England from 1949 until 1972 and scored 30 goals for them. Sproson won two league titles with Port Vale, in the Football League Third Division North in 1953-54 and the Football League Fourth Division in 1958-59, as well as a Supporters' Clubs' trophy in 1959. Between 1974 and 1977, he worked under eight different managers before taking over the reins himself. Sproson ran a newsagent’s shop until his death on January 24, 1997, at the age of 66.

6. Said Altinordu - 847 appearances

Club - Altinordu SK

Years active: 1929-56

Said Altnordu was a Turkish international footballer who spent his entire career with Altinordu SK. Following the Surname Law of Turkey implemented in 1934, his identification with Altnordu S.K. led him to choose the club's official name as his surname. Between 1932 and 1937, he also played four occasions for his country's national team, scoring 0 goals. He died in Izmir, Turkey, on November 17, 1978. (aged 66 years).

5. John Trollope - 889 appearances

Club - Swindon Town

Years active: 1960-80

Between 1960 and 1980, John Trollope played 889 times for Swindon Town, a period of 20 years, and scored 22 goals despite being a full-back. Following his retirement, Trollope managed the team for which he had played his entire career (Swindon Town) from 1981 to 1983. Trollope's only award was the Football League Cup, which he won with Swindon Town in the 1968-69 season.

4. Paolo Maldini - 902 appearances

Club - AC Milan

Years active: 1984-2009

Paolo Maldini was practically unbeatable as a defender, and it appeared that not even age could slow him down when he approached his 25th season as a 40-year-old. He finally retired at the age of 41, but not before making an incredible 902 appearances for AC Milan and won 26 championships. It goes without saying that winning the Champions League five times with a club earns you hero status, and Maldini retired as a living legend. He is presently the technical director for Milan and a co-owner of Miami FC in the USL Championship.

3. Ryan Giggs - 963 appearances

Club - Manchester United

Years active: 1990-2014

Ryan Giggs is a co-owner of Salford City and the current manager of the Wales national team. Giggs spent his entire professional career with Manchester United, and after David Moyes was fired in April 2014, he temporarily served as the club's interim manager. With 963 games for Manchester United, the Welshman has won thirteen Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two Champions League titles.

2. Noel Bailie - 1013 appearances

Club - Linfield

Years active: 1989-2011

Noel Bailie, who has made a total of 1013 games for the top-tier Irish club Linfield between 1989 and 2013, is ranked number two on the list of one-club footballers with the most appearances in football history (22 years). He was a sweeper in defence and wore number 11 on his shirt. Despite his high amount of league games (1013), Bailie never played for Ireland's national team, although he did manage to win 10 Irish Premier League titles and 7 Irish Cups with the same team throughout his career.

1. Rogerio Ceni - 1257 appearances

Club - Sao Paolo

Years active: 1992-2015

Although goalkeepers are subjected to less wear and tear than outfield players, Rogerio Ceni's achievement is not to be overlooked. Ceni spent the majority of his 25-year professional career (1257 professional club matches) with Sao Paulo, with whom he won 20 major titles, including three Brazilian Leagues, two Copa Libertadores, and the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup. During his career, he also scored 131 goals, the majority of which came from free-kicks and penalties, with one goal coming from open play. The International Federation of Football History & Statistics recognises him as the goalie who has scored the most goals in football history.

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