Football

Just like Stevie G: 5 one-club stars

Here are five top footballers who, like Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, have become known as one-club legends:

1. IKER CASILLAS

PHOTO: AFP

Spain’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper came up through the Real Madrid academy and has never left the club with whom he has won three Champions League titles and five Spanish championships. Casillas, now 33, has played more than 700 games for Madrid and never complained, even when fans turned on him over his recent performances for club and country.

2. PAOLO MALDINI

PHOTO: Carl Recine / Action Images

From 1985 to 2009, the son of legendary Italian coach Cesare Maldini played more than 900 games as a mainstay of the AC Milan defence, winning five Champions League and seven Italian titles. Ever the warhorse, he only hung up his boots at the age of 41, having established himself as one of the greatest defenders of all time. Maldini was only sent off once in his long career – in a friendly.

3. FRANZ BECKENBAUER

PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES / SPORTING PICTURE

"Der Kaiser" is one of the greatest names in football who played more than 520 games for Bayern Munich between 1964 and 1977 when he went into pre-retirement with the New York Cosmos. Widely credited with having invented the role of 'libero', the versatile central defensive position, Beckenbauer won four German titles and three European Cups with Bayern. He went on to manage them to the Bundesliga and the UEFA Cup during two years as coach. He remains Bayern’s honorary president.

4. RYAN GIGGS

PHOTO: Darren Walsh / Action Images

Giggs became the most decorated player in English football history during more than 900 games for Manchester United between the ages of 17 and 40. He won 13 Premier League winner’s medals, two Champions League titles and four FA Cup winners medals. As Wales was his national team, Giggs' tireless running as a United playmaker was never seen at the World Cup finals. His influence is still evident in his role as assistant manager at United.

5. FRANCESCO TOTTI

PHOTO: AFP

Totti was born in Rome, made his debut for AS Roma at the age of 16 and, now 38, is still going strong as the playmaker and captain of the team currently challenging for the Serie A title. He has managed only one national title so far, but is a World Cup-winner and his chipped goals and exuberant celebrations have made him a legend in European football.

Source: AFP

Related story: Sorry, Kopites. Steven Gerrard is leaving Liverpool

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