When Marcelo helped boyhood club Fluminense to the Copa Libertadores title in November, it felt like the fitting finale to the career of the veteran Brazilian.
The former Real Madrid left back was a key figure for the club he joined as a 14-year-old back in 2002, with his experience vital as the game against Boca Juniors – the South American equivalent of the Champions League – threatened to descend into chaos when a fight broke out in extra time.
In the end, the remarkably non-Brazilian sounding John Kennedy won the day for Fluminense with a late goal, and after the trophy presentation was made Marcelo described it as his ‘most important title’ at his ‘favourite club’.
Mind you, there’s plenty of competition for that accolade. During his lengthy career, the now 35-year-old has celebrated 30 different league and cup wins – from five Champions Leagues and six La Liga titles to the Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Confederations Cup with Brazil.
It’s an extraordinary haul of silverware, and yet Marcelo doesn’t even make the shortlist for the honour of footballer that has won the most trophies during their career.
Lionel Messi & Dani Alves (44 Trophies)
At the time of writing, it’s a tie between Lionel Messi and Dani Alves in the race to be the most decorated footballer of all time.
Alves was the outright leader, but Messi’s triumph in the MLS Leagues Cup with Inter Miami in August drew him level on 44 trophies.
The Argentine is, of course, the winning-most player when it comes to the Ballon d’Or, but his team-based success has also not been in short supply either. In amongst his sizable trophy cabinet sit four Champions League winners’ medals, ten La Liga titles, two Ligue 1 wins and, internationally, a Copa America and the 2022 World Cup, at which he was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
Alves may surprise some on this list but he was undoubtedly one of the best full backs of his generation, spending the best part of a decade at Barcelona before switches to Juventus and PSG – three clubs that will always help if the ambition is to win plenty of silverware.
Amongst the Brazilian’s most noteworthy prizes from football are three Champions Leagues, six La Ligas and divisional titles in France and Italy, while his international trophy haul features two Copa America winners’ medals and an Olympic gold medal.
Hossam Hassan (41 Trophies)
Okay, so he’s not the most well-known player in world football, but you cannot fault Hossam Hassan’s appetite for silverware.
As a relatively prolific striker, Hassan won an incredible 14 Egyptian Premier Division titles – eleven with Al Ahly and three with Zamalek.
His CV reads like a guide to the biggest and best trophies available in North Africa and across the CAF jurisdiction, with a CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup amongst the most prestigious prizes in Hassan’s collection.
Internationally, the jewel in Hassan’s crown is the three African Cup of Nations titles he won with Egypt in 1986, 1998 and 2006.
Hossam Ashour (39 Trophies)
As one Hossam’s career was coming to an end, another was just hitting their stride as a serial trophy winner.
Hassan hung up his boots at the sprightly age of 42 in 2008, while Hossam Ashour was breaking through into the Al Ahly first team himself.
By the end of his career, the midfielder had come very close to matching Hassan’s haul of Egyptian Premier League titles – 13, all told, were won during his time at perennial champions Al Ahly.
There was stacks of other domestic successes on Ashour’s watch, with ten Egyptian Super Cups and four Egypt Cups to his name.
But more joy would come on the continent, with a mammoth six CAF Champions League titles joined by a CAF Confederation Cup triumph in 2014.
Sergio Busquets & Maxwell (37 Trophies)
Having linked up with his old buddy Messi at Inter Miami, there’s still time for Sergio Busquets to add more trophies to his collection.
That already impressive haul stands at 37, which is a happy accident of spending 15 years at Barcelona with Messi and co.
A whopping 32 of Busquets’ trophy collection came while employed by the Catalan club, with nine La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and a trio of FIFA Club World Cups the standouts.
Internationally, Busquets is amongst the select band of players that have won both the World Cup and European Championship as part of that once-in-a-generation Spain team of 2010-12.
Joining Busquets in the 37-trophy club is Maxwell, the underrated Brazilian left back.
A career comprising spells at Barcelona, PSG, Inter Milan and Ajax just screams trophies, and Maxwell took full advantage by securing stacks of domestic honours across Europe – eleven league titles joined by a plethora of national cups and Community Shield style triumphs.
The pinnacle of his career was winning the Champions League with Barcelona during the 2010/11 season.