One-club players: Giggs, Scholes, Le Tissier, Maldini and Totti turned down big moves

One-club players: Giggs, Scholes, Le Tissier, Maldini and Totti turned down big moves

Giggs, Le Tissier, Maldini, Totti
One club men…

Playing your entire career at your boyhood club is a real show of loyalty.

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Tottenham’s Harry Kane are still at the clubs where they turned professional – with their only moves being loan deals to gain experience as they learned their trade.

But Grealish has been subject of a £100m bid from Premier League champions Manchester City, while Kane has failed to report to training at Spurs after his holiday.

Both players have decisions to make as to whether they remain at their boyhood clubs and write their names in folklore, or chase moves with the aim of increasing their chances of silverware.

BBC Sport looks at some players who turned down money-spinning moves to become legends at their clubs.

Ryan Giggs (Man Utd)

Ryan Giggs
Giggs’ 13 Premier League title triumphs is a record that may never be beaten

The most decorated British player of all time.

Wing wizard Giggs collected an incredible 34 winners’ medals during his playing career, all of which came with Manchester United.

That includes 13 Premier League, two Champions League, four FA Cups and three League Cups in his record 963 games for the club.

The Welshman rejected an offerexternal-link to join Italian powerhouse AC Milan during the late 1990s and can have no regrets on that decision considering how his career panned out.

Paul Scholes (Man Utd)

Paul Scholes
Scholes shocked football by coming out of retirement just six months after deciding to stop playing

France legend Zinedine Zidane was once asked how it feels to be the best midfielder in the world. “I don’t know, ask Paul Scholes,” he replied.

That tells you the calibre of player the unassuming Scholes was, playing 718 times in two spells for Manchester United.

Having initially retired in 2011, he changed his mind just six months later and finished the season with his 11th Premier League title and 25th trophy overall.

During Euro 2000, Scholes had a phone callexternal-link asking if he would be interested in a move to Inter Milan but he stayed at Old Trafford because he was “at the biggest club in the world”.

Matt le Tissier (Southampton)

Le Tissier
Le Tissier was ice cold off the penalty spot

The ultimate one club man?

Le Tissier played his whole career at south coast side Southampton, where he was never in the mix for winning any trophies but became an undoubted club legend.

A scorer of spectacular goals, the Englishman netted an impressive 209 times in 540 games, becoming the first midfielder to reach 100 Premier League goals, and he was lethal from the penalty spot too, converting 47 of his 48 efforts.

Clubs such as Liverpool,external-linkTottenham and Chelseaexternal-link could not lure Le Tissier away from the Saints, though he did turn out for non-league sides Eastleigh and Guernsey.

Paolo Maldini (AC Milan)

Paolo Maldini
Maldini was, and still is, Milan through and through

One of the greatest defenders of all time.

Italy’s Maldini had an enviable playing career at AC Milan, featuring 902 times for the club where he won a remarkable seven Serie A titles and five European Cups.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once tried to bringexternal-link Maldini to Old Trafford and met the player’s father – “I got a shake of the head, that’s all I got” – and that was the end of that.

Milan through and through, Maldini is back at the club as technical director.

Francesco Totti (Roma)

Francesco Totti
Totti once famously celebrated a goal against rivals Lazio by taking a selfie in front of the Roma fans

The Captain. The Gladiator.

Italy World Cup winner Totti may well have won more than the single Serie A title and two Coppa Italias had he left Roma, but remained at the club to notch 786 games and 307 goals.

Totti is the top goalscorer and highest appearance maker in Roma’s history and also holds the record for being the youngest club captain in Serie A.

He showed his unwavering loyalty to Roma in 2004, rejectingexternal-link a big money move to become a Galactico at Real Madrid, which he describedexternal-link as “my only regret”.

Rogerio Ceni (Sao Paulo)

Rogerio Ceni
Ceni was a prolific goalscorer… as a goalkeeper

Ending your career with 132 professional goals – most players would be pleased with that… but if you’re a goalkeeper, it makes it a quite incredible feat.

Unsurprisingly, Brazil’s Ceni holds the record for the most goals scored by a goalkeeper and he donned the shirt of Sao Paulo a staggering 1,238 times, another record for the most appearances at a single club.

Ceni won three Brazilian titles and two Copa Libertadores but his career would have looked very different had he moved to Arsenalexternal-link early on.

Honourable mentions: While at Liverpool, Steven Gerrard came close to joining Premier League rivals Chelsea but rejected the move and he looked like spending his entire career at Anfield, but ended with a season at LA Galaxy in the MLS.

Barcelona legend Xavi was linked to Manchester United during his 17-year stay at the Nou Camp before eventually joining Qatar side Al Sadd, where he ended his career.

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