Art, science, strength, stamina, dedication, skill, perseverance and consistence! These are just a few traits required from every footballer. Besides, to evolve and sharpen their skills, even great icons and legends sometimes have no choice than to switch clubs, which most often than not results in heartbreaks. Football is not just a sport but a religion for some and this religion has millions and millions of followers spread across the globe.
The changing time saw and is witnessing involvement of huge sums of money in the sport, particularly to lure players and acquire the best talent. You can say that besides the talent of a player, his loyalty to a particular club too is put up for bidding. We say this because the players associated with particular clubs get to learn new skills and polish their existing skills with the help of their teammates and managers, and become some sort of football Gods overtime. This is exactly the point when their loyalty for their club is tried and tested since ungodly sums of money are up for grabs.
There are many who love to capitalize on their talent and prefer big money moves and swap clubs but there are few who have learned the art of avoidance to stay with the club where they feel their roots are. Money may attract many but for some, the logo at the front of the jersey is more important as they want to remain associated with the number at their backs.
Here is the list of top 5 sensational footballers who have blessed the game with their passion and their clubs with their loyalties.
Any and every football enthusiast is familiar with Javier Zanetti. We have all seen people bleeding red but this man bleeds black and blue. Ever since joining Inter back in 1995, Zanetti fell in love with the club and helped the club win 5 Seria A titles, using his exceptional talent to tackle and cross the ball. With 26 goals and a European Crown as a Captain, the Argentinean is a true legend and is regarded as the finest full-back of all time. He bid farewell to football after giving 19 beautiful years of his life to San Siro.
Joining the Red Devils as an apprentice and earning his way to the first team and then leaving the club in 2011 for the greater good, Paul Scholes has always been a key member of Sir Alex’s squad. With 700 appearances for Manchester United, Paul Scholes has scored 126 goals and has played a pivotal role in the treble winning season of 1999. Zidane was once asked about how it feels to be the best midfielder in the sport and he replied saying, “I don’t know, go ask Paul Scholes.”
Addressing loyalty and ignoring Totti is simply impossible. With 650 appearances for Roma, the club captain is also the all-time leading goal scorer for Roma. Not that he needs any more credentials to support his status, Totti has won 5 domestic titles with Roma and has 15 individual honors. Totti has given everything to the club and his love for Roma defines his success. The most loved athlete in the sport, Totti, will be playing his last season with Roma and will say goodbye to football for ever. Totti is the reason why loyalty hasn’t faded from this sport yet.
The most remarkable defender of all time, Pablo Maldini, joined Milan as a youth in 1975, and ended his 34-year association with the same club in 2009. In his 647 appearances, Maldini managed to score only on 26 occasions but he isn’t remembered for his goal-scoring ability, instead he is remembered for his art to tackle the ball and making Milan a force to be reckoned with. He has rejected an offer to manage a team from Chelsea, and we know of nothing more that can reflect his love for Milan more. He is arguably the most loyal footballer ever to have graced the game.
With the most appearance as a player for a particular club, Ryan Giggs is without a doubt the most loyal player to play the beautiful game. Joining the Red Devils in 1987, Ryan Giggs invested 37 years serving Manchester United and despite receiving offers from other clubs, he preferred to stay loyal. 37 years served and 37 trophies in total! He spent his entire career serving Manchester United and dedicated all his efforts to making the club one of the greatest in the world. The comeback king served the club as a coach, assisting Louis Van Gaal for a short time.
We saw Steven Gerrard bid farewell to his connection with Liverpool last season. The Anfield icon still lives in the hearts of Liverpool fans and he certainly will never walk alone. There’s no denying the impact the Englishman had on Liverpool and how can anyone forget that night at Istanbul. Winning the FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League with Liverpool, Gerrard signifies class. He joined the Liverpool academy at a very young age and was made part of the first team quite early and he wasted no time proving his selection. He played with the best and served Liverpool as a true leader. With more than 400 appearances for the club in all competitions, Gerrard is defiantly the best Liverpool ever had.
The personification of undeniable faith, Carles Puyol is among the most loyal players to serve Barcelona. The former Barcelona and Spain Captain is to date one of the most prolific centre-backs to have ever graced the field. He joined the Catalans at the age of 17 and the rest is history. Winning La Liga, UEFA Champions Legaue, Copa Del Ray and many more; the fan favorite achieved almost everything with Barcelona. If not because of an injury concern, we may have seen Puyol serving a few more years at Barcelona. His dedication and commitment certainly merits his inclusion in our list of the most loyal footballers in the world.
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