Cristiano Ronaldo has broken the record for most international appearances in the history of men’s football. The Portugal striker earned his 197th cap as he started in the Euro 2024 qualifier against Liechtenstein, moving him clear of Kuwait legend Bader Al-Mutawa, who held the previous record with 196.
Ronaldo has a long way to go, however, if he is to break the all-time international appearance across both men’s and women’s football. United States legend Kristine Lilly currently holds the honour with a whopping 354 appearances for her country.
Being able to play regularly for your country is no easy feat — particularly in an era where so much football is played at club level. But some players have managed to put together a lengthy list of appearances as they etch their name into the history books.
Here are the most capped international players in men’s football history.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (197)
Cristiano Ronaldo being named in the starting XI for Portugal’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier on March 23, 2023, against Liechtenstein saw him win his 197th cap.
That saw him eclipse Bader Al-Mutawa’s previous record for most international caps with 196. Ronaldo equalled Al-Mutawa’s record at the 2022 World Cup.
Both players are still playing at the age of 38, but Al-Mutawa has fallen out of favour with the Kuwait national team and wasn’t named in their past two squads, opening the door for Ronaldo to move clear.
Cristiano with yet another record and he’s 38 btw 🍷👑#Ronaldo #Portugal #EURO2024Qualifiers pic.twitter.com/hBxu3tvW3d
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) March 23, 2023
2. Bader Al-Mutawa, Kuwait (196)
Still going strong at the age of 38, Al-Mutawa was in pole position to become the first male international to reach 200 caps, before Ronaldo took the lead.
Al-Mutawa’s international career began in 2003, aged just 18. He has been virtually ever-present for Kuwait ever since, scoring 56 goals (only enough for third place in the all-time list) and helping the country win its 10th Gulf Cup in 2010.
3. Soh Chin Ann, Malaysia (195)
Malaysia’s Soh Chin Ann had finally been recognised for his achievements, close to four decades after his retirement in 1984, with FIFA validating 195 of his 222 recorded international appearances back in 2021.
Players such as Soh became national role models, no small feat during the early years of independence; he earned his first cap for the national team in November 1969, at the age of 19, just six years after Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo united to become Malaysia.
4. Ahmed Hassan, Egypt (184)
The proclaimed ‘Egyptian Falcon’ has been one of Egypt’s greatest ever living players, whether it was his great European career or his role as Egypt’s captain through the golden years in which they won three back-to-back AFCON titles.
Despite his legendary status, during his long international career that lasted exactly 16 years and 145 days and managed 184 caps, he has never had one single second in the World Cup.
5. Ahmed Mubarak, Oman (183)
The Omani midfielder has appeared 183 times in his national colours. He has scored a total of 23 goals. Ahmed Mubarak had a constant presence in the national team since his debut in 2003. He is also known as Ahmed Kano. Mubarak has appeared for Oman on many occasions including Asian Cup, FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Arabian Gulf Cup.
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