Roma's De Rossi tops list of modern one-club men

As Daniele De Rossi celebrates his 35th birthday, we pay tribute to the ultimate club servants active in Europe's top leagues.

Daniele De Rossi inherited Roma's one-club mantle following Francesco Totti's retirement
Daniele De Rossi inherited Roma's one-club mantle following Francesco Totti's retirement ©AFP/Getty Images

Daniele De Rossi turns 35 today as the longest-serving one-club man currently active in Europe's top leagues. A worthy successor to Francesco Totti, who stuck by the Giallorossi for 25 seasons before retiring in 2017, the Rome native is now preparing for his 18th campaign at the Stadio Olimpico.

"Your relationship with your club starts when you're a kid and for me that was Roma," he told UEFA.com last term. "It then became my job, but my huge love for the club is certainly still there.

"I started supporting Roma as a boy and I think my personality led me to support the club with such fervour. My dad always supported Roma but not as fanatically as I have."

Criteria
Players must have spent their entire senior career with the same club, and must never have played for another team – even on loan. This list includes the longest serving one-club men in each of the top eight leagues according to the UEFA coefficients.

Italy: Daniele De Rossi (Roma)
17 seasons, 593 first-team appearances
The man known as 'the eighth king of Rome' reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time last season in what was his 17th campaign in Roma's first team. The 35-year-old made his debut under Fabio Capello in October 2001, breaking into the side just after their most recent Scudetto.

Igor Akinfeev has long served the CSKA cause
Igor Akinfeev has long served the CSKA cause©Getty Images

Russia: Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moskva)
15 seasons, 565 first-team appearances
Goalkeeper Akinfeev made his CSKA bow in 2003 and two years later lifted the UEFA Cup after the Army Men defeated Sporting CP 3-1 in the final. A six-time Russian league champion, he has kept more clean sheets than any other keeper in Russian history – his first coming as he saved a penalty against Krylya Sovetov on his debut as a 17-year-old.

France: Loïc Perrin (St-Étienne)
15 seasons, 408 first-team appearances
Perrin debuted for his hometown team in August 2003, when Les Verts were in Ligue 2, and has remained with the club ever since, captaining St-Étienne for the last decade. The centre-back received senior call-ups in 2014 and 2015 but, at 32, has still to earn a senior France cap.

Villarreal stalwart Bruno Soriano
Villarreal stalwart Bruno Soriano©AFP/Getty Images

Spain: Bruno Soriano (Villarreal)
12 seasons, 415 first-team appearances
A silky central midfielder who makes the game seem effortless, Villarreal's captain came through the ranks at his boyhood club, where he made his first-team bow in the old UEFA Intertoto Cup in July 2006. Although he missed the entirety of last season with a tibia injury, he has returned to pre-season training.

Germany: Thomas Müller (Bayern München)
10 seasons, 440 first-team appearances
Müller joined Bayern in 2000, aged ten, making his debut in August 2008 – and scoring his first goal in a 7-1 win against Sporting CP the following March. "I am not always eye-catching but always dangerous," explained the 28-year-old, who has bagged 176 goals for Bayern in all competitions.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy: Shakhtar to the core
Yaroslav Rakitskiy: Shakhtar to the core©AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine: Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar)
10 seasons, 310 first-team appearances
The son of a miner, Rakitskiy has fittingly spent his entire career with the Pitmen. The centre-back broke through in 2009 when Dmytro Chygrynskiy left for Barcelona, and – now 28 – the left-footer has amassed seven league titles and six Ukrainian Cups. "Shakhtar are my life," he told UEFA.com.

England: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
7 seasons, 205 first-team appearances
Andy King's 11 unblemished seasons at Leicester ended when he joined Swansea on loan in January, leaving Ward-Prowse – who made his senior bow in October 2011 – as the top Premier League stalwart. On Southampton's books since 2003, the 23-year-old was raised supporting Saints' local rivals Portsmouth.

Portugal: Nuno Campos (Nacional)
6 seasons, 81 first-team appearances
Rui Patrício's summer departure for English side Wolves spelled the end of his 12-season stint with formative outfit Sporting CP – and handed the baton to Nacional right-back Nuno Campos. The 25-year-old has contested just 81 games for Nacional, but 35 of those came last season as he helped his hometown club clinch the second-division title and return to the elite.

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