Cristiano Ronaldo became the most-capped men’s international footballer EVER with his 197th appearance after featuring in Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein
Cristiano Ronaldo broke the FIFA record for men’s international caps with a 197th appearance after featuring in Portugal’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein.
There were doubts over whether the 38-year-old would feature in the squad again after being left out of the starting XI at the World Cup, but he has kept his place under new boss Roberto Martinez.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner surpassed the total of Kuwait forward Badr Al-Mutawa who previously earned his 196th cap against Morocco at the World Cup in Qatar.
The ex-Man United star’s goal-scoring form at Al Nassr has resulted in a call-up despite fears that the division’s questionable competitiveness could see him snubbed.
Ronaldo earned his first Portugal cap at the age of 18, when he came on for Luis Figo in a friendly against Kazakhstan in 2003.
Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record for men’s international caps with his 197th match
Ronaldo made his Portugal debut in 2003 and a year later scored his first international goal in the opening game of Euro 2004 against Greece (above)
He scored his first international goal in his eighth cap against Greece.
MOST CAPPED MEN’S INTERNATIONAL PLAYER
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 197
Al-Mutawa (Kuwait) – 196
Soh Chin Ann (Malaysia) – 195
Ahmed Hassan (Egypt) – 184
Mubarak (Oman) – 183
Sergio Ramos (Spain) – 180
Guardado (Mexico) – 179
Al-Deayea (Saudi Arabia) – 178
Claudio Suarez (Mexico) – 177
Buffon (Italy) – 176
Ronaldo overtook Ali Daei in September for the most international goals by a men’s player, scoring two goals against the Republic of Ireland to take the Iranian’s total to 109.
The 38-year-old has since taken his tally to 118 goals for his country.
Al-Mutawa achieved victory in Kuwait’s 3-0 defeat of Jordan in qualification for the 2023 Asian Cup.
The forward, who scored 56 goals for his country, currently plays for Qadsia in the Kuwait Premier League.
The 37-year-old previously held the title in 2021, only for FIFA to validate Malaysia’s Soh Chin Ann’s total of 195.
Ronaldo scored a superb long-range free kick as Al Nassr came from behind to beat Abha 2-1 in the Saudi Pro League on Saturday.
The Portuguese forward has now scored nine goals in his first season in Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo’s 78th-minute goal was his first at Al-Nasr’s Marsool Park stadium since he moved to Saudi Arabia in a big-money deal.
He linked up with the Portugal squad for the international break before returning to lead Al-Nassr’s bid to win the league title for the first time since 2019.
Ronaldo was all smiles in training with international teammates this week in Lisbon
The 38-year-old scored a stunning free kick as Al-Nassr came from behind to beat Abha 2-1
Ronaldo’s international future is up in the air following Portugal’s exit from the World Cup
Ronaldo crashed out of what is expected to be his last World Cup as Portugal lost 1-0 to Morocco in the quarter-finals of the tournament in Qatar.
Ronaldo came off the bench to replace Ruben Neves in the second half with Portugal trailing 1-0 after Youssef En-Nesyri’s opener. But, he failed to inspire a comeback.
Ronaldo also wasted a late chance after drilling a right-footed effort into the hands of goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, part of a string of missed chances in Portugal.
Ronaldo was visibly upset after the game. The Portugal captain was caught on camera walking in tears and many felt the emotion was tied to his retirement.
News/Image Sources: Daily Mail