Loyalty is a dying trait in football.
Gone are the days of players (Ryan Giggs, Jamie Carragher, Paolo Maldini et al.) staying with their first loves from debut until retirement, with the influx of cash in the modern game at least partly culpable for pushing the one-club brigade near extinction.
Even so, there are still a few who are trying to cling to the old ways.
The CIES Football Observatory have scoured data from Europe’s big five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1) and published a list of the most loyal players.
Gianluigi Buffon bounces back from a disastrous week to take top spot after spending a whopping 17 seasons in Juventus’ first-team squad, with Chievo Verona captain Sergio Pellissier (who, admittedly, we’ve never heard of) in second.
Of course, despite his impressive commitment, Buffon actually moved to Juventus from Parma in 2001 – erasing him from the one-club gang – while Pellissier spent time at Torino, Verese and SPAL.
Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta is the highest one-club player on 16 seasons – but even that’s slightly dubious given he played a couple of years for Barcelona B.
So if you want a caveat-free player who has played for only one team, look no further than Daniele De Rossi who has spent 15.5 seasons at Roma. That figure is dwarfed by former team-mate Francesco Totti, who bowed out at Roma after 25 campaigns last summer.
Lionel Messi (14 seasons at Barcelona) is tied in 11th, with Cristiano Ronaldo further down the list (nine seasons at Real Madrid).
Highest number of seasons in the first team squad of their employer club (top five leagues, via CIES)
N.B. Players who returned to their current club have their total years counted (i.e. both of Fernando Torres’ stints at Atletico Madrid are included)