Let’s review the list of high-profile journeymen in world football who have played for the most number of major clubs around the world.
List of the best players who played for multiple big clubs.
Luis Figo (4 Clubs)
Figo is one of the best wingers and attacking midfielders of his generation for Sporting Lisbon, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan, before retiring from football in May 2009.
He had all the necessary skills of terrific passing and vision, fantastic dribbling, and attacking prowess. Most of the well-known clubs wanted to sign him and as a result, he played for some of the best ones in the business. He started off in Barcelona where he won La Liga twice.
Figo won 7 trophies at all three clubs, making it three brilliant runs (four, Sporting CP included) in three of the biggest clubs in the world, all belonging to Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Ronaldo Lima (7 Clubs)
As one of the best players of all time, Ronaldo was probably the deadliest striker in football history. His dribbling was otherworldly and he popularized step-overs and trick-moves by integrating them seamlessly into his playstyle. His finishing and general attack-mindedness were second to none. He won the World Cup twice with Brazil.
Ronaldo made the Brazilian squad into a fear-inducing team. He won the Ballon d’Or twice and played in so many of the biggest clubs. He played at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona bought him for the then-record of £13.2 million.
After winning the Copa Del Rey in Barcelona colors, he broke the transfer record again when he was signed by Inter Milan, this time for £19.5 million.
The Italian giants were interested in him even prior to this move but lost the bidding war to Barcelona. He shone under Inter Milan where he won the Euro Cup. He was then signed by Real Madrid for 46 Million EUR in 2002 and spent the most matches there (122)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (8 Clubs)
The prolific goalscorer is frequently considered to be one of the best forwards and players in soccer history and also the most transferred football player.
His journey progressed at LA Galaxy where he was just as prolific with almost 1:1 goals to match ratio (44:38). After leaving L.A. Galaxy, Ibrahimovic signed a contract with his former club, AC Milan, on a free transfer to continue the competition of playing for the most league club.
Craig Bellamy (9 Clubs)
Craig Bellamy is one of the most intriguing characters to have played in the Premier League. This energetic Welshman, who declared his retirement at the end of the 2013-14 season, is the first player in Premier League history to score for seven different clubs.
He has featured in Liverpool and Manchester City teams as a wide man but has not lasted for more than two seasons at any club after his departure from Newcastle.
Juninho Paulista (9 Clubs)
The Brazilian’s tendency to play football in unique places is a known fact; he is remembered in Middlesbrough as ‘The Little Fella’ who played football with school children on the streets during his stay there.
He has played in the Premier League as well as La Liga with Atletico Madrid. He also went to the Australian club Sydney FC for a year before calling time on his traveling lifestyle.
Juninho’s longest and most memorable stint was as an Atletico Madrid player, where he spent five years and scored a total of 14 goals.
Peter Crouch (10 Clubs)
The English striker has never managed to settle at any club, having appeared for nine clubs in England and one Swedish fourth division club on a short loan spell. His best return was for Liverpool, scoring 22 goals in his three years there.
It appeared that Crouch was looking to settle down at his late stage in his career considering that his stay at Stoke City became the longest time he had spent at a single club.
He spent seven-and-a-half years with this club, scoring 62 goals before joining Burnley in January 2019. Finally, he announced his retirement in July 2019.
He scored 325 goals across 737 performances over 3 continents (Europe, North America, and Asia). He played in 14 matches at Inter Milan and scored 3 goals. His most definitive period of football was at Tottenham Hotspur where he played for 6 successive seasons.
His longest stay was also at the London club, where he played for seven years: over three spells spread from 2002 to 2011.
Nicolas Anelka (11 Clubs)
The talented Frenchman played for some of the most prestigious clubs in Europe, but his failure to consolidate his place in any of those clubs has harmed the player’s international chances.
Anelka retired from professional football in November 2015 following a short stint at Mumbai City. The striker scored 157 goals in 508 appearances during an impressive 19-year career in top-flight football.
Also read – Top 20 Richest Footballers In The World 2020
Andy Cole (13 Clubs)
The second-highest goalscorer in the Premier League era won numerous trophies as a Manchester United player but played for a variety of clubs before and after his Old Trafford days.
As a result, Anelka was swooped up by Manchester United, for whom he scored 93 goals in the vastly successful following six years. In fact, his most successful period was his stay at Manchester United.
Christian Vieri (13 Clubs)
Cristian Vieri was a brilliant center forward and a goalscorer with exceptional attacking skills such as positioning, finishing, and having a keen sense of when to strike the opponent.
As a result, clubs were often more than ready to splash a lot of money for the Italian. Vieri scored 8 goals in 23 matches at Juventus. So, his move to Atletico Madrid attracted people’s attention. He scored 24 goals in 24 matches for Atletico Madrid (league).
The Italian club Lazio snagged him for an astounding amount of €25 million (1998). Scoring 14 goals at Lazio across a season increased the demand and finally, Inter Milan broke the transfer record and scooped him up for €49 million.
Vieri had his longest tenure at Inter Milan spanning six seasons and it was a very impressive one with 103 goals in 143 matches. Afterward, he had a very short 14 game stint at AC Milan where he only scored 2 goals.
It was perhaps for the same reason this Italian hitman could never get a stable spot at any other club either. He is best known as the most transferred player in soccer history.
Marcus Bent (14 Clubs)
Marcus Bent was a regular feature in the Premier League for the whole of the last decade, but confusingly enough, he never seemed to appear for the same club twice.
His longest stay for three years was at the club he started out his career, Brentford before he set upon a truly nomadic career. He played for thirteen clubs in England, his most successful spell being for Ipswich Town, where he scored 21 goals in two years.
Bent also appeared in the Indonesian league for Mitra Kukar, he announced his retirement on Apr 17, 2012.
Later in September 2017, he announced his coming out of retirement to launch a non-league career with Southern Combination League Premier Division club Wick.
Rivaldo (15 Clubs)
This Brazilian legend with a wide variety of skills and special tactics announced his retirement from professional football in March 2014.
In an incredible club career spanning over 24 years across six countries on four continents, Rivaldo played in Brazil, Spain, Italy, Greece, Uzbekistan, Angola, and finally went back to his native country to end the amazing run in the same country where it had been initiated.
Rivaldo is best remembered for his five-year spell at Spanish giants Barcelona between 1997 and 2002, a club where he spent five years, scoring 86 goals and winning the 1999 Ballon d’Or award.
Therefore, Rivaldo remains one of the most widely traveled high-profile footballers in football history.
John Burridge (29 Clubs)
Last but not least, the former English goalkeeper’s transfer history made his list of clubs appear like a statistical freak.
His longest stay was for four years at Blackpool, but he had some slightly more famous stints for Newcastle United and Aston Villa.
Burridge was shipped about from one club to countless times towards the fag end of his career. After 1992, he made 29 appearances in total but was involved in transfer deals for a total of 21 times.