Gareth Barry: The 13 players with 500+ Premier League appearances as legend retires

Giggs is the PL's best ever

Gareth Barry announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday.

The English midfielder spent two decades in the Premier League between 1997 and 2017, featuring for Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Brom. 

For the final two seasons of his career, Barry was playing Championship football, but his time in the top-flight is what we’ll remember most. 

Over 20 years, he racked up a massive 653 Premier League appearances – more than anyone else in history. 

But how does Barry compare to the other players who played over 500 times in the English top-flight?

Let’s find out, by ranking those stars and their achievements below.

Barry has more top-flight appearances than anyone else

13. Emile Heskey | 516 appearances

Although he was turned into a bit of a joke during the latter stages of his career, Heskey actually picked up 516 appearances for Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Aston Villa.

For those clubs, he scored a total of 110 goals but never came close to winning the title. 

Heskey had to settle for an FA Cup, two League Cups and a UEFA Cup triumph instead.

Heskey was a Liverpool star

12. Mark Schwarzer | 514 appearances

Schwarzer spent most of his Premier League career with Middlesbrough but also had spells at Fulham, Chelsea and Leicester. 

Despite being part of TWO title-winning squads at Chelsea and Leicester, the Australian didn’t play enough games to win a medal of his own. Brutal. 

Mark Schwarzer was involved with 2 title-winning teams

11. David James | 572 appearances

Like Schwarzer, James is another goalkeeper who racked up a ridiculous number of Premier League appearances – the fourth-most in history.

He played for Liverpool, Villa, West Ham, Man City and Portsmouth during a career that spanned over two decades. 

James never won the title but ranks 11th on this list thanks to his 53 England caps. 

James played for England

10. Phil Neville | 505 appearances

Neville played 505 matches for just two sides – Man United and Everton. 

He was an important part of SIX title-winning teams at Old Trafford before going on to captain Everton, where he couldn’t quite replicate the same success. 

Neville played for Everton and Man Utd

9. Sol Campbell | 503 appearances

Not many players would be brave enough to swap Tottenham for Arsenal, but that’s exactly what Campbell did. 

After 255 Premier League appearances for Spurs, he moved across north London to the Gunners, becoming part of two title-winning sides and of course, the Invincibles. 

Campbell did the double with Arsenal

8. Jamie Carragher | 508 appearances

Carragher may never have won the Premier League, but he’s still regarded as one of the best defenders to ever feature in the top flight. 

All 508 appearances came for his boyhood club Liverpool, where he remains a legend to this day.

But the less said about the own-goals, the better… 

Carra was a Liverpool legend

7. Gareth Barry | 653 appearances

Here he is, the man that has made more Premier League appearances than anyone else. That stat alone is enough to justify his seventh-place ranking on this list.

Throw in a Premier League title triumph with Man City and Barry can be very proud of the career he had in the English game. 

Barry is the PL's most capped player

6. Gary Speed | 535 appearances

Speed was a true legend. His Premier League appearances came for Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and of course, his boyhood club, Leeds United.

After retiring as a player, the Welshman went on to manage Sheffield United and the Wales national team, before taking his own life in 2011. 

His legacy will be remembered forever, especially by many at Leeds, who returned to the top-flight for the 2020/21 season. 

Speed was a PL legend

5. James Milner | 538 appearances

Fans might mock Milner for being ‘boring’, but the England midfielder has had a career to remember and he’s still going strong. 

Stints with Leeds, Newcastle and Villa came before he won two titles at Man City. But it’s with Liverpool where Milner has established himself as a great. 

The midfielder picked up his third Premier League winners’ medal last season and can add that to his Champions League crown. Not bad. 

Milner has had a top career

4. Rio Ferdinand | 504 appearances

Now we’re getting down to business. 

504 appearances, six Premier League titles, a Champions League winners’ medal and 81 England caps are only enough to put Ferdinand fourth on this list. 

But just look at the players in front of him…

Ferdinand's career was incredible

3. Steven Gerrard | 504 appearances

Mr Liverpool never won the Premier League and that’s something that will no doubt haunt him for the rest of his life.

But Gerrard’s legacy is more than a missing medal. He captained the club to glory elsewhere, most famously in FA Cup and Champions League finals. 

He also captained England too, while making 114 appearances for The Three Lions. Gerrard is a legend, there’s no denying that. 

Gerrard was captain fantastic for Liverpool

2. Frank Lampard | 609 appearances

Gerrard was good, but Lampard was better. Sorry Liverpool fans. 

In 609 appearances, the Chelsea legend scored 176 goals… from MIDFIELD. 

He also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League. Don’t bet against Lamps winning the league as a manager either. 

Lampard was one of the all time greats

1. Ryan Giggs | 632 appearances

Was anyone else really going to top this list? 

Giggs was a true legend, spending his entire career with Man United. 

With 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions League triumphs, there’s no one more worthy of the top spot than Giggs. 

Giggs won so much silverware

From Heskey and Milner to Giggs and Lampard, the Premier League really has seen some legendary figures. 

Each player on this list achieved something incredible and it will take a truly special player to overtake Barry and his 653 top-flight appearances. 

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