Sports news has been dominated by one man the past two weeks; Jürgen Klopp. A lot has been said about his tactics, personality and man-management style but very little about his playing career. The towering German started out as a striker but played most of his career at centre-back.
Interestingly, Klopp was a one-club man. In 337 appearances for Mainz 05, he scored 52 goals, he also managed the club for seven years before moving to Borussia Dortmund. The rest is history.
The ‘one-club man,’ it seems, is a dying phenomenon in the modern era of football. The draw of higher wages, success and trophies now outweighs loyalty and sentiment. Indeed, even captain fantastic and all round Mr Liverpool, Steven Gerrard has recently ceased to be a one-club man.
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Here is a rundown of 11 other players who have worn only one club's colours:
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool, 737 appearances).
Ironically a childhood Everton supporter, Carragher came to embody the very essence and fighting the spirit of the city of Liverpool itself.
Originally a right back and utility player, Carragher eventually moved to centre back where he enjoyed his most successful years as a player. Six managers came and went during Carragher’s career bringing him every major winner’s medal; bar the elusive Premier League title. Other than Istanbul 2005, Carragher will also be remembered for his tendency to score own goals.
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John Terry (Chelsea, 672 appearances)
Still a Chelsea player, John Terry has been the centre of much controversy during his career. Despite this, he is undeniably one of the greatest ever English centre-backs and Chelsea’s most successful captain.
Terry has every major winner’s medal in his collection and boasts a solid goal scoring record for a defender. Currently at odds with manager Jose Mourinho, and at the age of 34, it’s difficult to see what Terry’s career will bring next. A move to the States or the Middle East may become more and more appealing.
Paul Scholes (Manchester United, 718 appearances)
Scholes begins a run of three players in this list to have played only for Manchester United. One of only four players, including Ryan Giggs, to have recently been identified as world class by Sir Alex Ferguson, Scholes’ personality is nothing like stars of today. A quiet and modest figure, he is regularly identified by players past and present as one of the best central midfielders ever to grace the game. His technique, vision and passing were said to be an inspiration to Xavi, no less.
Scholes actually retired from the game twice, the first occasion in 2011. In 2012, he returned to alleviate a severe injury crisis at his beloved club before retiring for good in 2013. Despite his huge attacking talent, Scholes is also known for his poor disciplinary record, amassing 99 yellow cards (the third highest ever in the Premier League) in his career.
Ryan Giggs (Manchester United, 963 appearances)
Ryan Giggs is the most decorated player in football history. He has 13 Premier League winner's medals, two Champions League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals, a World Club Cup winners medal, an Intercontinental Cup winners medal and nine Community Shield winners medals to his name.
Another of ‘Fergie’s fledgelings’ Giggs captained his side on a number of occasions, has managed the club on an interim basis and is now permanent assistant manager. Many believe, following Louis van Gaal's inevitable retirement, Giggs will become United’s permanent manager.
Gary Neville (Manchester United, 602 appearances)
The final of three ‘Fergie’s fledgelings’ who never represented another club. Gary Neville was United’s captain for five years and is England’s most capped and possibly best ever right back.
As with Scholes and Giggs, Neville also has a plethora of winner’s medals to his name including eight premier league titles and two champion’s league winner’s medals.
During his playing career, Gary Neville came to epitomise the spirit of Manchester United in the same way Jamie Carragher did for Liverpool. They are now a highly successful punditry duo.
Paolo Maldini (AC Milan, 902 appearances)
Able to play at centre or left back, Maldini is considered one of the greatest ever defenders. In 25 seasons with Milan, he won 26 trophies and was an integral part of one of their most successful periods in the game. When he retired in 2009 the club retired his number three shirt.
Maldini was unfortunate on the international stage. Despite captaining his country for eight years, he was unable to take home any winners medals. Italy was runners-up at both the 1994 world cup and at Euro 2000.
Daniele De Rossi (Roma, 497 appearances)
Still active, De Rossi is perhaps the only modern era player on this list to resist moves to other clubs. Despite being considered one of the world’s top defensive midfielders he has resisted the advances of clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
As a Roma player De Rossi has won two Coppa Italia medals and one Supercoppa Italiana medal. He was also part of the Italian team who won the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Carles Puyol (Barcelona, 593 appearances)
Carles Puyol was an integral player in one of the biggest periods of dominance for both Barcelona and the Spanish national team. A true Catalonian, Puyol’s achievements include six La Liga titles, three Champion’s League winner’s medals and both a European and World Cup winner’s medal.
Puyol possessed great strength and tackling ability but is most remembered for his leadership skills and relentless energy which enabled him to serve for ten years as club captain. Barcelona has struggled to replace such a legend of the game since his retirement in 2014.
Tony Hibbert (Everton, 328 appearances)
Not the best player in this list, but a one club man nonetheless. Hibbert began as a midfielder but settled into a now familiar right back role later in his career.
Hibbert has become a cult figure amongst Everton fans and is famous for having never scored in a competitive match. A goal he scored during his testimonial in 2012 prompted a pitch invasion by fans.
Tony Adams (Arsenal, 669 appearances)
Often considered ‘Mr Arsenal,’ Tony Adams became captain of the side at just 21 and remained so for 14 years. Despite battling with alcoholism for periods of his career, Adams won ten major honours including, most notably, four top-flight titles and three FA cups. Adams is such a club legend he has his own statue at the Emirates stadium.
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, 558 appearances)
One of the most recognisable and reputable players of his generation. Along with compatriot Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta’s vision, control and direct style of play set the tempo of both Barcelona and Spain during two of their most dominant periods.
In similar fashion to Steven Gerrard, Xavi does not make this list having moved to Qatar-based Al-Sadd this year. Iniesta is still considered one of the best midfielders in the world and of all time. His list of honours includes four Champion’s League winner’s medals, seven La Liga titles and a World Cup winners medal; he scored the winning goal in the final. At 31, Iniesta still has several good seasons left in him. Whether he will remain a one-club player, however, only time will tell.
Has your club got a one-club man that we have missed out? Let us know in the comment box below!