As any footballer will tell you, the mark of any truly great player is consistency. The 2017/18 brings with it not just unprecedented spending and Hollywood signings, but a momentous milestone for the Premier League’s longest serving player. Gareth Barry is the on the verge of toppling Ryan Giggs’ long held appearance record and in honour of his achievement we look at some of Europe’s most experienced and consistent active players who have racked up the most appearance in one league... Perhaps...
It’s fair to say Gareth Barry doesn’t often make it onto the illustrious lists of the Premier League’s greatest midfielders all that often, but his consistency for nearly 20 years in the top flight cannot be questioned.
During spells at Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and now West Bromwich Albion, Barry has racked up a whopping 629 league appearances and is set to smash Ryan Giggs’ record of 632 this season, at the tender age of 36.
Some way behind is Chelsea’s former captain and talisman, John Terry on 492 Premier League appareances. Love him or loathe him, Terry was a model of consistency for boy-hood club Chelsea since his League Cup debut against Aston Villa in 1998.
The Barking-born defender is the highest scoring defender in Premier League history with 40 and lists five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and a Champions League winners medal among his major honours.
It seems nothing can stand in the way of ‘Gigi’s’ search for that elusive Champions League medal. The Carrara-born keeper has won eight Serie A titles (not including the two that were revoked) as well as a host of domestic honours and a World Cup winners medal.
The Italian international came agonisingly close to a European title last year with Juventus and has once again put-off retirement.
With 620 Serie A appearances to his name, the former Parma stopper’ hunger for honours remains seemingly undiminished. £10m summer signing and understudy Wojciech Szczęsny may struggle to wrestle the number 1 jersey from the Italian for the foreseeable future.
Pizarro spent the majority of his career in the Bundesliga, claiming 19 major trophies during two spells at Bayern Munich and three at Werder Bremen. The Cantolao youth graduate scored an impressive 191 goals in 430 Bundesliga appearances, making him one of the most prolific strikers in the league’s history.
At the age of 38, Pizarro remains a Peru international and since his debut in 1999 has represented the La Blanquirroja in the Copa América four times. The former Chelsea striker was released by Werder Bremen this summer and is currently a free agent.
Kiessling has been a stalwart for Leverkusen since his arrival from 1. FC Nürnberg in 2006. The 33-year-old has bagged 144 goals in 395 Bundesliga appearances for Die Werkself and has become something of a legendary figure at BayArena.
The imposing striker had a short-lived international career following his debut in 2007, earning just six caps, during which he failed to find the net at senior level. However, the Lichtenfels-born striker was in the 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa, and made two appearances as Die Mannschaft finished third.
Iker Casillas is regarded by many as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever and was placed second only to Gianluigi Buffon in the 2010 IFFHS Best Goalkeeper of the past quarter-century awards.
Los Meringues’ faithful dubbed him ‘Saint Iker’ during his time at the Bernabeu, due to his unerring ability to pull off sublime, match-saving stops. During his 510 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid, Casillas claimed five league titles and three Champions Leagues among a host of domestic gongs.
Perhaps one of the most gifted midfield players the game has produced, Xavi Hernandez’s name became synonymous with Pep Guardiola’s ‘tiki-taka’ revolution during his time at Barcelona. He made 505 La Liga appearances for Blaugrana, scoring 58 goals.
Xavi has lifted a whopping 30 trophies, and remains the second most decorated player in the history of Spanish football behind central-midfield partner Andrés Iniesta. The former Spain international is currently plying his trade in the Qatar Stars League for Al Sadd.