Football players switch clubs almost as often as they change their socks. You never know what player will be leaving your club when the transfer window opens for business. But there are a number of stars that resisted the vast riches offered to them by other clubs and decided to stay with one club their entire careers. Check out the list of the top 5 one club footballers that gave 24 years of their life to one club.
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Max Morlock – Nurnberg (24 years)
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Maximilian Morlock was born in 1925, and in 1940 he started his professional football career with Nurnberg at the age of 15. He defended the club’s colors for the next 24 years, making 472 appearances in the process. Max was a prolific goalscorer for Nurnberg, finding himself on the scoring charts 286 times over the 24 years.
West Germany recognized his talents after he made a name for himself in the forward position. The national side made use of his attacking skills for eight years, during which time he notched 21 goals. He decided to retire from international duty in 1958, but he continued playing for Nurnberg for the next six years.
Bob Crompton – Blackburn Rovers (24 years)
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Robert Crompton served the Blackburn Rovers for 24 years, from 1896 until 1920. It’s interesting to note that Rovers were founded in 1875, while Crompton himself was born in 1879, making his club only four years older than him. It only took the full-back five years to establish himself as the leader, which saw him get the captain’s armband at the ripe age of 21, Vital Football reports.
Crompton continued putting in great performances, so when the national side came calling he was ready to give it his best. In total, he represented England 41 times all the way until the start of the First World War in 1914. This essentially makes him the first on the one club footballers’ list.
Paolo Maldini – AC Milan (24 years)
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The iconic defender holds numerous records after spending his entire playing career with Italian side AC Milan. He joined the club as a young boy, but later managed to break into the first team by making one appearance in the 1984-85 season, while the 1985-86 campaign marked his first full season. Maldini starred for the club all the way until 2009, when he retired at the age of 41. The “No. 3” spent 24 years playing for the Rossoneri, which saw him achieve great records; he clinched the most appearances for the club (902) and won loads of medals, including winning the Champions League a record 5 times (1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007). This makes Maldini the only man to date that has won the elite competition on so many occasions.
Maldini was to AC Milan what Puyol was to Barcelona, except that the former has spent almost 10 years more playing for his club.
Ryan Giggs – Manchester United (24 years)
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Giggs joined Man United’s youth academy as a 14-year-old boy in 1987, and it took him only three years to progress up the ranks and make the first team. He signed a professional contract with the Red Devils on his 17th birthday (November 29, 1990), and went on to represent the shirt for almost a quarter of a century. He ultimately decided to hang up his boots at the end of the 2013-2014 season, after 24 years at the club. In total, he made a record 963 appearances, which puts him first on the all-time appearance list for Manchester United. During the 24-year spell, Giggs has won everything there is to win in club football, collecting two Champions League medals and winning the Premier League a whopping 13 times.
Interesting fact: before joining the Man United academy as a youngster and becoming a member of the one club footballers, Giggs used to play for cross-town rivals Manchester City for two years.
Sait Altinordu – Altinordu (27 years)
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Not much is known of Sait Altinordu, except that he holds the ultimate record for one club footballers: spending his entire 27-year career with the Izmir based side Altinordu. As you might have guessed he adopted the club’s name as his surname, which translates into “Golden Army.” The name is quite fitting for a man that made his debut for the club at just 14 years of age, and went on to represent it all the way until the age of 41, according to A Halftime Report. This saw him make a massive 847 appearances for Altinordu, which brings him very close to the “900 club” – players that made 900 + appearances for their respective clubs.
Although he broke records with his club, Sait was called up only once for the national side. He represented Turkey at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where they lost against Norway in the first round of games. One of the reasons for making only a solitary appearance for Turkey was due to the fact Istanbul players were preferred in those days, while footballers from other cities and regions were overlooked.