The 1000 Club! The 21 Players to Have Reached the Impressive Milestone in Professional Appearances

Gianluigi Buffon became the latest player to reach 1000 appearances, after captaining Italy to their 2-0 win over Albania in a World Cup qualification game. Yet, who are the other 20 players to have played such a mammoth number of professional football games? Counting down from Mr Buffon, here is the full list... Number of games: 1374 The undisputed number one, Peter Shilton played over 100 times more than his closest rival, ending a 31 career in football in 1997 with 1374 professional...

Gianluigi Buffon

Number of games: 1000

The legendary Italian stopper shows no signs of slowing down and remains the first choice stopper for Juventus despite his ageing legs. 

Buffon started his 22 year professional career at Parma, before making a record-breaking move to the Old Lady where he has been ever since. 

He also is the record appearance maker for the Italian national team.

Tommy Hutchinson

Number of games: 1000

One player that Buffon will overtake is former Scottish international midfielder Tommy Hutchison. 

Best known for his nine year spell with Coventry City, with whom he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Hutchison moved around the United Kingdom, but also tried his luck abroad, plying his trade for both the Seattle Sounders and the now defunct Hong Kong based-side Bulova. 

David James

Number of games: 1011

A journeyman of English football, the former England number one made a century of appearances for the likes of Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth, before passing the 1000 game landmark during his time away from the Premier League, with IBV in Iceland and the Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.

Noel Bailie

Number of games: 1013

An absolute legend in Northern Ireland, veteran centre back Noel Bailie played all 1013 professional appearances for local side Linfield over the span of four separate decades. 

In his final game for the club, Bailie lifted the Irish Premiership title to retire from the game in the best way possible. 


Number of games: 1013

Tied with Bailie but sure to play more with his career in Qatar with Al Sadd ongoing, Xavi will go down as one of the finest central midfielders of this generation. 

The former Barcelona captain was a major part of the Catalan club's domination in both Spain and Europe during the last decade and his legacy lives on. 

Timmy Simons

Number of games: 1018

Another one whose career is far from over, Simons is now back in his native Belgium at former side Club Brugge, following an eight year stint abroad; with PSV Eindhoven and FC Nurnberg. 

Incredibly, the defensive midfielder recently had his 40th birthday, but it has not stopped him continuing his remarkable career. 

Frank Lampard

Number of games: 1019

Now officially retired following his cameo spell in the MLS with New York City, Frank Lampard can look back on a glittering career, which started at West Ham United. 

A big money move to Chelsea proved to be his best decision as he developed into one of the world's best during his goal-ridden time in West London. 

Graham Alexander

Number of games: 1024

The dependable Scottish right back played his final game for Preston North End in 2012, having started his career way back in 1990 with Scunthorpe United. 

In between was a single campaign in the top flight with Burnley, with whom he became the 4th oldest player to score a Premier League goal. 

Ryan Giggs

Number of games: 1027

Aside from featuring for the Wales national team on 64 occasions, all of Giggs' appearances came in the colours of Manchester United. 

The former winger remains the most successful player in the history of the Premier League; racking up 13 titles, four FA Cups and two Champions Leagues. 

Paolo Maldini

Number of games: 1028

Beating Giggs by just one appearance is another one-club man, who will go down into the annuls of football history. 

Maldini continued playing for his beloved Milan while in his 40s, and will go down as one of the greatest defenders in history, following his incredible career both for the Rossoneri and for the Italian national side. 

David Seaman

Number of games: 1030

England's second highest capped goalkeeper of all time (75) is also included here after breaking the 1000 game mark right at the end of his successful career. 

Best known for a trophy-laden 13 year spell with Arsenal, Seaman also featured for the likes of Manchester City, QPR and Birmingham City during his time as a top quality keeper.


Number of games: 1043

Despite being best remembered for his time in the Spanish capital with Real Madrid, where he forged a reputation as one of the world's most prolific goalscorers, Raul managed to pick up over 200 club appearances during his post-Real career, where he featured for Schalke, Al Sadd and the New York Cosmos. 

Alan Ball

Number of games: 1045

The late Alan Ball was part of England's historic World Cup winning team in 1966, with the final being just one of his 1045 career appearances. 

Lengthy spells with Everton, Arsenal and Southampton were complimented by obscure moves to Greek side Hellenic, Philadelphia Fury and Floreat Athena in Australia to help the former midfielder reach the landmark.

Djalma Santos

Number of games: 1065

A Brazilian regular at four consecutive World Cups, of which he won two, Djalma Santos was a marauding full back who played into his 40s in his native homeland. 

The late Santos spent a decade apiece at both Portuguesa and Palmeiras, before tying up his boots following a single season with Atletico Paranaense. 

Tony Ford

Number of games: 1080

The former midfielder first payed in 1975 with Grimbsy Town and was still going in 2001 as he played his final match with Rochdale. 

Ford has played more games than any other outfield player in the English league, but incredibly the MBE recipient never made it to the top flight. 

Pat Jennings

Number of games: 1088

The legendary Northern Irish stopper racked up 119 caps for his national side, playing in the 1986 World Cup at the age of 41-years-old, which was a record at the time. 

At club level, Jennings crossed the North London divide after playing nearly 600 times for Spurs, moving on to play over half that number for rivals Arsenal.

Javier Zanetti

Number of games: 1102

Many consider Javier Zanetti to be one of the legendary one-club men, but technically the 143-capped Argentinian played almost a century of appearances away from Inter Milan, racking up 99 games for local sides for Tallares and Banfield. 

However, the versatile and impeccable midfielder is a Nerazzurri legend as a result of his 19 year service to the Italian club, 15 of which were as captain. 

Roberto Carlos

Number of games: 1103

From one legend to another and with a difference of just one game is former Brazilian full back Roberto Carlos. 

The hugely successful superstar earned his world class reputation during his 11 year long stay with Real Madrid, but also registered impressive appearance numbers for Palmeiras and Fenerbahce, not to mention his 125 caps for the national side.

Ray Clemence

Number of games: 1104

A mainstay in the top flight of English football for over two decades, Ray Clemence comfortably past the 1000 game mark, after epic spells at Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the former of whom he won five First Division titles and three European Cups. 

The 61-capped former England goalkeeper started his professional career with Scunthorpe United, before making the move to Anfield in 1967.

Rogerio Ceni

Number of games: 1234

The ultimate one-club man (let's conveniently forget the 20 games he played for lower league side Sinop), Ceni has a whole host of records to his name on the back of a 25 year career in the Brazilian top flight with Sao Paulo. 

Although he is best known for his goalscoring antics, Ceni is the highest scoring keeper in the history of football, Mr Sao Paulo did manage to play on 16 occasions for the Selecao too. 

Peter Shilton

Number of games: 1374

The undisputed number one, Peter Shilton played over 100 times more than his closest rival, ending a 31 career in football in 1997 with 1374 professional appearances to his name. 

While his career highlight was probably consecutive European Cup success with Nottingham Forest in the late 1970s, he will also be unfortunately remembered for having the "Hand of God" scored against him in the 1986 World Cup.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes