Premier League record-breakers: Alan Shearer, David Beckham, Peter Crouch, Patrick Vieira and Gareth Barry among chart-topping stars

To celebrate the Premier League’s 30th anniversary, we take a look at the chart-topping stars who lead the way for appearances, goals, assists, clean sheets and ill-discipline over the past three decades.


Gareth Barry holds the all-time record for Premier League appearances, clocking 653 run-outs – representing Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Brom over a 21-year career in the division.

Barry only hung up his boots two years ago after three seasons with the Baggies – playing his final two campaigns in the Sky Bet Championship – and earned 53 senior England caps during his playing career.

There are few surprises in the top 10, with Ryan Giggs comfortably securing runner-up spot with 632 appearances – having made his debut for Manchester United just before the Premier league launched at 17 years old and still represented the club 23 years later before announcing his retirement in 2014.

Frank Lampard, James Milner, David James, the late Gary Speed, Emile Heskey, Mark Schwarzer, Jamie Carragher and Phil Neville complete the top 10.


Barry also leads the way for total game time, amassing 54,439 minutes on the pitch – with David James moving into second spot, while Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher and John Terry enter the top 10.


A more familiar set of rankings is for all-time Premier League goals with Alan Shearer still dominating the chart on 260 over a 14-year career in the league with Blackburn and Newcastle – some 52 goals clear of runner-up Wayne Rooney.


Shearer and Rooney remain the only two players to hit a double-centre of Premier League goals, while Harry Kane is on 184 goals and on course to challenge the leading pair as the only active player in the top 10.

Headed goals

Standing at 6′ 7” tall, Peter Crouch secures top spot in this category with 53 headed goals during his Premier League career, which spanned spells with Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tottenham, Stoke and Burnley.


Crouch remains the only player to surpass half a century of headed goals in the division, but Shearer ended his career merely four shy of that landmark – one ahead of Dion Dublin.

Les Ferdinand, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham, Duncan Ferguson, Christian Benteke, Olivier Giroud, Tim Cahill and Kane compete the top 10.

Direct free-kicks

This category hit the headlines last season as Southampton set-piece specialist James Ward-Prowse netted his 14th direct free-kick – to move just four shy of the all-time record of 18 scored by David Beckham.


Premier League legends Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Gianluca Zola are locked on 12 apiece, with Ronaldo sitting in third spot.

A host of free-kick masters complete the top 10, evoking numerous wonder strikes, including Sebastian Larsson, Laurent Robert, Ian Harte, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Lampard, Nolberto Solano and Jamie Redknapp.


Shearer was clinical from all ranges and angles and was equally as effective from the penalty spot, converting an all-time high of 56 during his career.

Midfield maestros Lampard and Steven Gerrard are next on the list, while Kane – who is locked on 28 with recently retired Mark Noble – could usurp the Liverpool legend this term.

Sergio Aguero, Jamie Vardy, Matt Le Tissier, Rooney, Henry, David Unsworth and Luka Milivojevic complete the top 10.


Recent followers of the game might expect Kevin De Bruyne to top these rankings, but the Belgium playmaker currently sits in joint-eighth on the all-time list on 86 – nearly half as many as chart-topping Giggs on 162.

The former Wales international is 51 assists clear of runner-up Cesc Fabregas – while Rooney and Lampard are the only other players to have registered in excess of 100 Premier League assists.

Dennis Bergkamp, David Silva, Gerrard, De Bruyne, Milner and Beckham complete the top 10.

Yellow cards

Only two players have received more than a century of yellow cards during the Premier League era: Barry and Rooney. However, Barry shored up his top-flight career with 21 more cautions than any other player.

Striker Kevin Davies ranks third ahead of a raft of midfield destroyers, including Lee Bowyer, Paul Scholes, Scott Parker, Robbie Savage, Lee Cattermole, Kevin Nolan and George Boateng.

Red cards

Three feisty former players top the rankings for most red cards during the Premier League era: Patrick Vieira, Richard Dunne and Duncan Ferguson with eight dismissals apiece.


Interestingly, only one player from the yellow card rankings also features in the top seven list for red cards: Cattermole, who was sent off seven times during his top-fight career.

Roy Keane, Alan Smith – of Leeds and Manchester United – and Vinnie Jones were also sent off seven times.

Clean sheets

Goalkeeping legends populate the clean sheet rankings with former Chelsea and Arsenal stopper Petr Cech leading the way with 202 – some 33 clear of runner-up David James.

Schwarzer pips former England ‘keepers David Seaman and Nigel Martyn, followed by Pepe Reina, Tim Howard, Edwin van der Sar, Brad Friedel and David de Gea.

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