World Football

Top five longest serving players leaving their clubs in 2022-23 season

Jimit BhavsarJimit Bhavsar

June 4 2023
Longest serving players

Some of them will look for a new challenge this summer

Football has had many loyal players over the years. Many football players often give their allegiance to only one club and plan to retire there. Some of these players often start as academy players, whereas others find home and comfort in their new clubs. 

Lionel Messi, Francesco Totti, and Harry Kane are some examples of loyal players who have spent numerous years at the same club. However, we will talk about the players who plan to retire in the 2022-23 season after serving their respective clubs for a long time. Roberto Firmino and James Milner are two honourable mentions who are leaving Liverpool after eight years this season. Let’s take a look at the longest serving players who will leave their club in the summer.

5. Jordi Alba (Barcelona) -11 years

One of the best left-backs of this generation and for FC Barcelona. Jordi Alba was a part of the iconic and arguably one of the best teams of all time (FC Barcelona, 2009–2011). Moreover, he was not just a player but also a crucial one.

Jordi Alba is famous for his scintillating runs and often poses a threat to defences because of his fast speed. Jordi Alba has provided numerous assists as well. The Spanish left-back has provided 99 assists and scored 27 goals in his 11-year spell at FC Barcelona. Jordi Alba formed an iconic duo with Lionel Messi and assisted him many times.

The circle is now complete at FC Barcelona since no player from the iconic 2015 squad is left. First Pique, then Busquets, and the last player, Jordi Alba, announced that he would leave after 11 years at the club.

4. Phil Jones (Manchester City) -12 years

While Phil Jones has become a joke for many, he was quite a prospect in his early Manchester United days. Phil Jones started his career playing for the Blackburn Rovers academy. He would often play as a midfielder as well as a centre-back. Many top clubs saw his potential, but Phil Jones only wanted Manchester United.

That day arrived, as Sir Alex Ferguson himself called and initiated his transfer. Phil was a great player in his early days, but his career went downhill once Sir Alex Ferguson left. Phil even played well under David Moyes, but after that, there was no point in a comeback. 

A recurring knee injury ruined his career as his playing time decreased drastically over the years. Phil Jones did maintain his fitness to try to make it into Ten Hag’s starting line-up. Unfortunately, he suffered the aforementioned knee injury yet again on the first day of training. After so many ups and downs, Phil Jones is now set to leave Manchester United after 12 years. 

3. Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) -12 years

Bellarabi has spent his entire professional career in Germany. However, he owed much of his allegiance to Bayer Leverkusen. The German international is set to leave Leverkusen after 12 years. Bellarabi has managed to garner 57 goals and 66 assists in 290 games for Leverkusen across all competitions and this makes him one of the longest serving players.

Much of his current campaign is plagued by injuries. Karim Bellarabi has played just 104 minutes across 10 games for Leverkusen. After 12 years with Leverkusen, Bellarabi has hinted that he might play somewhere outside of Europe.

2. Gerard Pique (Barcelona) -14 years

The successor of Carlos Puyol, one of the best centre-backs of our generation. Gerard Pique loves Barcelona with his whole heart, he first entered the La Masia Academy in 1997. He then spent seven years with Barcelona’s youth team before joining Manchester United. Pique then returned to FC Barcelona in 2008 and is set to leave after 14 years.

The Spanish centre-back Gerard Pique also has a unique record in the UEFA Champions League. He is the highest goal scorer as a defender in the UEFA Champions League (16 goals). Pique has won 3 Champions League trophies, 8 La Liga titles, 7 Copa Del Rey titles, 3 Club World Cups, 6 Spanish Super Cups, and 3 European Super Cups with Barcelona. Pique, along with Busquets, was a part of Barcelona’s golden generation (the 2009–2011 and 2015 squads).

He even reduced his salary, which helped FC Barcelona register players during a difficult financial period. This shows how much he truly loves Barcelona.

1. Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) -15 years

“You watch the game; you don’t see Busquets; you watch Busquets; you will see the entire game.” Sergio Busquets is one of the best midfielders of our generation and arguably the best CDM our generation has seen. He formed an iconic trio with Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, which is considered the best midfield of all time.

Another La Masia product, Sergio Busquets, did not have the pace or any physicality, but he made everything look very simple. Busquet’s vision, composure, and ability to beat players in the midfield made him a complete midfielder. Moreover, his excellent ball retention sets him apart from many other midfielders.

A key part of Barcelona’s sextuple-winning squad as well. Sergio Busquets has won three UCL titles, three FIFA Club World Cups, nine Spanish Championship titles, three UEFA Supercup titles, seven Spanish Cups, and seven Spanish Supercups. After 15 beloved years, the iconic midfielder is set to leave FC Barcelona. He is on the all-time list of their longest serving players.

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