Some of these legends remained loyal to one club throughout their careers and created history with them.
The Serie A is among the elite European leagues with many top players and clubs participating in it. The competition has a global viewership in millions and has a wealth of top-level talent on offer. Traditionally, Italy has been popular for producing incredible defenders and goalkeepers. Some of the robust defenders in the sport’s history came through this league and enjoyed huge careers. Few of them also etched their names in the Serie A record books with the record appearances in the league.
In terms of Italian club football, Serie A is the top-flight football league in the country. Reaching the first division and then playing in it for years are two different things for a player. In terms of the highest appearances in the Serie A, some of the most legendary figures of Italian football lead the rankings.
The league has a rich history spanning several decades. Lasting at the highest level for multiple seasons demands incredible longevity and consistency from a professional player. Let’s take a look at the top 10 players with the highest appearances in the Serie A.
10. Enrico Albertosi – 532
Albertosi was a goalkeeper, who holds the record of the 10th highest appearances in the Serie A, with 532 matches back in the day. The custodian played for three clubs in the division including AC Milan. He has two league titles and retired as a professional in 1984. Samir Handanovic, currently playing for Inter Milan has 531 appearances and will likely overtake some of the players on the list.
9. Silvio Piola – 537
Piola is regarded as one of the best strikers in Serie A history. He scored 274 goals in 537 appearances and is the highest goalscorer in the history of the competition. Piola played for four clubs in Serie A, including Juventus. He never won the league title but has a FIFA World Cup trophy with Italy.
8. Roberto Mancini – 542
Roberto Mancini was a long-serving player before earning his name in football management. The current Italian national football team boss made 542 appearances in Serie A and scored 156 goals in the process. Mancini won two league titles, one with Lazio and the other with Sampdoria, where he spent the majority of his career.
7. Pietro Vierchowod – 563
Pietro Vierchowod is one of the most talented centre-backs Italy have ever produced. The defender played for several clubs like AS Roma, Juventus and AC Milan among others making 563 appearances. He won the league title twice as well, once with Roma and the other with Sampdoria. Vierchowod also won the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup during his career.
6. Dino Zoff – 566
Zoff is one of the club legends at Juventus, who has also played for Napoli and Udinese. The custodian made 566 appearances in the Serie A, with most of them coming with the Old Lady. Zoff won the league title six times, all with Juventus and also has a FIFA World Cup win under his belt.
5. Gianluca Pagliuca – 596
Gianluca Pagliuca is another goalkeeper who had an extensively long career, playing 596 matches in the top-flight. The custodian played for four clubs in the league including Sampdoria and Inter Milan among others. Pagliuca hung his boots up in 2007 and has won the Serie A once with Sampdoria. He is currently working as the U19 goalkeeping coach at Bologna.
4. Francesco Totti – 618
Heading into the top four, these are the players who have played more than 600 games in Serie A. Francesco Totti is a legend of the sport and symbolises the true meaning of loyalty. He played 618 matches in the league and all of them for AS Roma. He retired as a professional in 2017, scoring 250 goals, which is the second-highest of all-time in the Serie A.
3. Javier Zanetti – 618
Javier Zanetti also played 618 matches in Serie A and all of them for Inter Milan. The full-back is regarded as a club legend and one of the best right-backs to grace the game. He won 16 trophies with Inter, including five Serie A titles and one UCL trophy. He retired as a professional in 2014.
2. Paolo Maldini – 648
Legendary defender Paolo Maldini played 648 games in Serie A and holds the record for the second-highest appearances in the league’s history. The defender played for AC Milan throughout his career. Maldini has won 25 trophies with the Rossoneri, including five UCL trophies and seven league titles. The 53-year-old is currently acting as the Technical Director at AC Milan.
1. Gianluigi Buffon – 658
Gianluigi Buffon is the record holder in terms of making the highest appearances in the Serie A. The legendary goalkeeper is still actively playing football at the age of 43 for Parma, his boyhood club. He has so far made 658 appearances in the Serie A, with most of them coming in a Juventus shirt. He also holds the record for most clean-sheets in the Serie A. Buffon won 10 Serie A titles with Juventus and has also won the FIFA World Cup with Italy.