Football, soccer, whatever you call the beautiful game, there are millions of fans of it all over the world. This couldn’t be more true than in Europe, where countless fans fill stadiums to watch games in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Serie A.
While the fans may be loyal to their clubs, how about the players themselves? With all the news surrounding the transfer window, Ticketgum wanted to see which players are the most loyal to their teams. So we looked at the top clubs from the major leagues to find out.
The Premier League Clubs With the Most Loyal Players
1. Manchester United (54.39 Months)
In the top spot when it comes to loyal players is Manchester United. It seems players for Man U just don’t want to leave, with an average of 54.39 months spent on the team. That’s about four and a half years!
Paul Scholes was the team’s most loyal player, spending 6,209 days with the club. That equals around 17 years of his life and career.
2. Arsenal (53.05 Months)
Arsenal follows closely behind in second place, with an average of 53.05 months spent playing for the club. That’s just shy of four and a half years. The most loyal player for Arsenal was Tony Adams, who stayed at the club for a huge 6,982 days, or almost twenty years.
In fact, The Donkey, as he was sometimes called, was with Arsenal for the entirety of his playing career.
3. Chelsea FC (43.95 Months)
In third place on our list is Chelsea Football Club. Players for Chelsea stay an average of 43.95 months, over three and a half years. This could even rise in the future, with Chelsea chairman Tod Boehly making news for handing out the longest contracts seen in football.
The most loyal player to Chelsea is legendary (alleged) lothario John Terry, who stayed with the club for over 17 years. Wayne Bridge might have other things to say about his loyalty, however…
4. Everton FC (43.43 Months)
Following right on Chelsea’s heels is Everton Football Club, which keeps its players for an average of around 43.43 months. That equates to just over three and a half years.
The most loyal player that Everton has had, so far, is Nevile Southall. Neville was with the club for 6,059 days or around 17 years. During this time he made a whopping 578 appearances for the club.
5. Tottenham Hotspur (42.38 Months)
Tottenham Hotspur, often called Spurs and tragically never called the Hot Totties, is in fifth place on our list. Players for Spurs stick around for an average of 42.38 months or around three and a half years.
The most loyal Spurs player was Ledley King, who stayed with the club for over 14 years. Although he often knee-ded to take some injury time off during his time with the club, the club and the fans still supported him (mostly).
6. Liverpool FC (42.33 Months)
Just behind Spurs by the skin of their teeth is Liverpool Football Club. Players for Liverpool are very nearly as loyal as Spurs players, sticking around for an average of 42.33 months or three and a half years.
Liverpool’s most loyal player was Jamie Carragher. The player-turned-pundit was with the club for 6,209 days or over 17 years. No wonder he’s known for having a bit of bias towards the club.
7. Newcastle United (41.47 Months)
Moving up North, we have Newcastle United. Players for the Magpies tend to stay with the club for around 41.47 months, or just shy of three and a half years.
Newcastle was home to the most loyal UK player on our list. Steve Harper stayed with the club for a colossal 7,319 days, over 20 years.
8. Aston Villa (40.09 Months)
Hailing from the heart of the West Midlands, in eighth place we have Aston Villa. The pride of Birmingham, depending on who you’re asking, Villa manages to keep its players for 40.09 months. That’s just over three years.
Villa’s most loyal player was Gabriel Agbonlahor, who was associated with the club for his entire career. He played for them officially for 4748 days or just over 13 years.
9. AFC Bournemouth (39.21 Months)
AFC Bournemouth comes in ninth place. Players at this club tend to stay for 39.21 months or just over three years.
The most loyal Bournemouth player was Harry Arter. While he has since moved to the Nottingham teams (owned by one and loaned to another), he stayed with AFC Bournemouth for 3,736 days, just over ten years.
10. Southampton FC (38.98 Months)
Rounding out our top ten is Southampton FC. Whether it’s the salt on the breeze, or they’re itch’en to stay near the river, players for this club spend around 38.98 months there or just over three years.
Southampton’s most loyal player was Francis Benali, who gave the club 6,028 days of his life—that’s over sixteen years!
Clubs in the Bundesliga With the Most Loyal Players
1. Bayern Munich
Germany’s club with the most loyal players is Bayern Munich. Players at this club stay for around 45.7 months on average, or almost four years. The club’s most loyal player was Mehmet Scholl, who stayed for 5,478 days—15 years!
2. Bayer 04 Leverkusen
In second place is Bayer 04 Leverkusen (fun fact: the “04” in their name comes from the year they were founded—1904). An average player at Bayer stays for around 38.8 months or just over three years. Their most loyal team member was Rüdiger Vollborn, who stayed with the club for 6,575 days or 18 years.
3. Borussia Dortmund
In third place on Germany’s list is Borussia Dortmund. Players at this club stick around for an average of 38.4 months or around three years. Their most loyal player was Roman Weidenfeller, who gave the club 16 years of his life.
4. SV Werder Bremen
The penultimate place on Germany’s list goes to SV Werder Bremen, who come behind Borussia Dortmund by just a few days. The average SV Werder Bremen player stays with the club for 38.3 months or three years. Their most loyal player was Dieter Eilts, who stayed with the club for 14 years.
5. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Finishing off Germany’s top five is Borussia Mönchengladbach, whose players tend to stick around for about 37.8 months or just over three years. Their most loyal player was Uwe Kamps, who is in fact the most loyal German football player. He stayed with Borussia Mönchengladbach for 8,036 days—that’s over 22 years.
Clubs in Serie A With the Most Loyal Players
1. SS Lazio
Coming in first place for Italy is SS Lazio. This Rome-based club’s players stay for an average of 38.3 months at the club, or just over three years. Their most devoted player was Roberto Baronio, who stayed with the club for 14 years.
2. US Sassuolo
In second place on Italy’s list is US Sassuolo, whose players stay for around 35 months, just under three years. Their most loyal player was Francesco Magnanelli, who stayed with the club for 6,209 days or 17 years. He holds the club’s record for appearances with 448.
3. Atalanta BC
The third place on Italy’s list goes to Atalanta BC. Players for this club remain loyal for an average of 33.5 months or just over two and a half years. Their most loyal player was Gianpaolo Bellini. Bellini stayed with the club for 6,940 days—19 years!
4. SSC Napoli
In fourth position on this list is SSC Napoli. Teammates from this Naples-based club also stick around for an average of 33.5 months, just over two and a half years. Their most devoted player was Lorenzo Insigne who stayed with the club for 4,548 days or almost 12 and a half years.
5. Juventus FC
Rounding out Italy’s top five is Juventus FC. Italy’s answer to the (Nott’s) Magpies, this team’s players tend to stay for around 30 months or two and a half years. Their most dedicated player was Alessandro Del Piero, who devoted 6,940 days of his life to the club—that’s almost two decades.
Clubs in La Liga With the Most Loyal Players
1. Athletic Bilbao
In first place on Spain’s list of most loyal football clubs is Athletic Bilbao. This Basque-based team’s players tend to stick around for just over 57.2 months, or 1,740 days. Their most loyal player was Joseba Etxeberria, who stayed with the club for 5,479 days, which equates to 15 years.
2. Real Sociedad
In second place for Spain is Real Sociedad. Also based in the Basque region, players on this team stay for an average of 50.7, or just over four years. Their longest-serving player was Mikel Aranburu, who stayed for 16 years.
3. Real Madrid
In third position is the infamous Real Madrid. Regarded as one of the best teams in the world, its players tend to only stick around for 42.8 months, or three and a half years. Their most devoted player was Manolo Sanchis, who stayed with the club for over 17 and a half years.
4. FC Barcelona
Although they have been accused of getting ahead of themselves, fourth place on Spain’s list goes to FC Barcelona. This forward-thinking club’s players stay with them for an average of 40.5 months, just over three years. Their most loyal team member was Xavi, who played for the club for 17 years and has since returned as manager.
5. Valencia CF
Finally, the Spanish club with the fifth most loyal players is Valencia CF. Shockingly based in Valencia, players for this team tend to stay with them for 38.9 months, around three years. Their most devoted teammate was David Albelda. This defensive midfielder played for the club for 6,246 days, just over 17 years.
The Top 10 Most Loyal European Football Players
1. Francesco Totti
It would be difficult to find another footballer as loyal as Francesco Totti. Not only did he devote over 24 years of his life to AS Roma, but it was also the only club he played for, apart from the Italy National team.
2. Uwe Kamps
Uwe Kamps does come in a close second—he stayed with Borussia Mönchengladbach for 22 years and is also in the “one-club” club.
3. Steve Harper
In third place is Steve Harper. Harper stayed with Newcastle for over twenty years but has since moved to Hull City.
4. Oka Nikolov
Oka Nikolov comes just a shade behind Steve Harper, also being with his team for twenty years. The team in question is Eintracht Frankfurt before he moved to work with some teams based in the USA.
5. Tony Adams
Tony Adams’ loyalty lay with Arsenal, for whom he played for over 19 years. He’s another member of the “one-club” club, having only played for Arsenal in his career as a senior football player.
=6. Alessandro Del Piero
In joint sixth place, Alessandro Del Piero played for Juventus for 19 years, before he moved on to play for Sydney FC and the Delhi Dynamos.
=6. Javier Zanetti
Also hailing from Italy, Javier Zanetti also spent 19 years with his club. The agile Argentine spent the majority of his career playing for Inter Milan.
=6. Gianpaolo Bellini
Also in joint sixth place is another Italian footballer. Gianpaolo Bellini is another member of the “one-club” club, having played for Atalanta BC for his whole playing career of 19 years.
9. Rüdiger Vollborn
The penultimate place on this list goes to Rüdiger Vollborn. Vollborn gave his whole playing career of 18 years to his team, Bayer Leverkusen.
10. Patxi Puñal
Finally, in tenth place, is Patxi Puñal. He spent 18 years of his career playing for Osasuna, interspersed with some loans to other teams.
Which Top European Football League Has the Most Loyal Players?
Fans from each country have argued, do argue, and will argue forever more about the fielty of their leagues. Which is the most loyal football league is an ongoing debate. We’ve decided to look at the data to try and settle it.
1. Premier League
It should come as no surprise to British fans that the Premier League has, on average, the most loyal players—even if there is fierce competition in the league. Typically, players in the Premier League spend just over three years with their teams.
Known for being one of the most competitive leagues, the Bundesliga, the German top division, comes in close second place. Players in the Bundesliga spend just shy of three years with their teams.
3. La Liga
The Spanish top division, La Liga, is incredibly close to the Bundesliga in terms of loyalty. Players in this division also spend just shy of three years with their respective teams.
4. Serie A
Finally, the least loyal top division hails from Italy. Players in Serie A spend just over two years with their teams.
- Ticketgum.com sought to uncover which football teams have the most loyal players.
- To do this, we analysed transfer data obtained from Transfermarkt.co.uk for the current teams in Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A for the past 22 years (2000 – 2022), excluding loans.
- For each team, the number of transfers and the average time each player stayed at the club before transferring were calculated, and the number one spot was crowned.
- All data was collected and is accurate as of 30/01/23.