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  • Which Footballers Have The Most International Appearances?

Which footballers have the most international appearances?

Cristiano Ronaldo made history as he become the all-time international appearance record holder. Planet Sport takes a look at the other players to make the list.

This is certainly a mixed list of some of the greatest footballers to ever walk the planet and some players who you wouldn't recognise if they slapped you round the face.

Debates will continue to rage over the authenticy of some of some of the matches that some of these players have featured in, but as long as they are recognised by FIFA then we are happy to go with it.

1: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) - 197 caps

Ronaldo is first on the list for international appearances and could cross the 200 mark this summer.
New Portugal manager Roberto Martinez called up the 38-year-old for the Euro 2024 qualifiers, even though many believed Ronaldo's time was up after he flopped at the 2022 World Cup.
The former Manchester United man went top of the all-time list after starting against Liechtenstein. The player marked his latest record by bagging an impressive brace.
At just 18-years-old, Ronaldo was called up to Portugal's national team and made his debut against Kazakhstan.
Since then, he has broke numerous records such as Portugal's top goalscorer, Europe's all-time international appearance holder and he is the only player to ever score in four European Championships.

2: Bader Al-Mutawa (Kuwait) 196 caps

Al-Mutawa takes second place on the list. The 38-year-old striker represents the Kuwait national team.

He made his debut on the 4th September 2003 against Singapore in an Asian Cup qualifier. At the time he was just 18 and little did he know, he would become a legend within the Kuwait national team. 

Surprisingly, he started his career as a goalkeeper but ended up finding his feet as a striker. He also scored on his international debut. 

Al-Butawa has found himself at the foot of five World Cup qualifying campaigns, but Kuwait's efforts to reach the tournament have all ended in failure.

The striker still plies his trade for Qadsia in the Kuwait national league and is showing no signs of retiring. So his battle with Ronaldo at the top of the chart could go on for a while.

2: Soh Chin Ann (Malaysia) - 195 caps

Chin Ann was a former Malaysian centre-back who made an outstanding 195 international appearances for his national team.

He retired in 1984 and, according to the Malaysian FA, he made 252 international appearances throughout his career, although FIFA only recognise 195 of them.

At the end of his long playing career, he had a short stint as the team manager of Malaysia between 2007 and 2009, and was appointed chairman of the referees' committee.

3: Ahmed Hassan (Egypt) - 184 caps

Hassan was a former Egyptian international who played as a right-winger, and is still regarded as a legend in the African game.

During this time he appeared in eight Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, reaching the final four times. A feat which is yet to be reached by another player.

The winger retired in 2013 at the age of 37. He played for many teams such as Anderlecht and Bestikas. However, he is most remembered for his time with Egypt. 

Although he was everpresent within the national team, he only scored 34 goals throughout his international career.

4: Ahmed Kano (Oman) - 183 caps

The 38-year-old is still playing professional football for Qatar based club Al-Markhiya, where he has been since 2019.

Kano made his debut for Oman in 2003 and has been a regular fixture in the side ever since and was part of the squad that won the 2017 Gulf Cup.

Despite being the record appearance holder for Oman, his club career has never strayed outside the Middle East having played for a host of teams across the Omani, Saudi, Qatari and Kuwaiti leagues.

5: Sergio Ramos (Spain) 180 caps

Ramos has been a stalwart among European football for the majority of his career, and is most famous for his role in Real Madrid's and Spain's most successful era.

The centre-back is one of the most recognisable names in football thanks to his performances and on-pitch antics.

As captain he led Real Madrid to four Champions League trophies and he also won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, and two European Championships.

In February 2023, Ramos retired from international football releasing a statement which stated "The time has come. Time for me to say goodbye to the Spain national team."

6: Andres Guardado (Mexico) 179 caps

Guardado or, Principito, as he is known by his teammates, is Mexico's highest ever international appearance holder.

At the age of 36, the midfielder is still playing week in and week out for Real Betis, where he has been since 2017 when he joined from PSV.

The defensive-midfielder has appeared in five separate World Cup campaigns between 2006 and 2022. 

This achievement has only been equalled by two other Mexicans - Rafael Marquez and Antonio Carbajal.

7: Mohamed Al-Deayea (Saudi Arabia) - 178 caps

Al-Deayea is Saudi Arabia's all time leading appearance holder, who retired from football in 2010 aged 37. 

A constant figure in the Saudi Arabia team, he won the best goalkeeper award in the AFC Asian Cup on two seperate occasions. 

In 1989, Al-Deayea won the Under-17s World Cup, a feat which has only been achieved whilst he represented his country.

Al-Deayea carried out the entirety of his domestic career in his home country, playing for two clubs throughout his career and making over 400 appearances.

8: Claudio Suarez (Mexico) 177 caps

The second Mexican to make the list, Suarez represented his country at the World Cup on three separate occasions, with the last coming in 2010. 

Throughout his domestic career he stayed close to home as the only team he played for outside of Mexico was Chivas USA.

His international career outshone his domestic career as he helped Mexico win the FIFA Confederations Cup once and the CONCACAF Gold Cup three times.

The defender, who was nicknamed 'The Emperor', scored seven goals during his international career.

9: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)  - 176 caps

Buffon is one of the most well respected footballers over the last 20 years.

The 45-year-old still plays to this day for his boyhood club, Parma, in the Serie B. Although, he is largely remebered for his time with Juventus.

Buffon joined Juventus just as they were finding their way to dominance in Italian football. 

He made over 500 appearances for the club and is the Serie A record appearance holder with 627. He surpassed Paolo Maldini's long lasting record in July 2020.

He is also a serial winner with 29 trophies to his name, including a World Cup and 10 Serie A titles.

Honorable mentions

Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 172 caps

No international players list would be complete without Messi. The Argentine has been his country's saving grace in recent years, further cementing his claim as the GOAT at the 2022 World Cup.

The 35-year-old has won everything he can with his country and a host of major trophies at club level too.

Many expected Messi to bow out of the international stage after Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar, but he confirmed he had no immediate plans to retire.

Iker Casillas (Spain) 167 caps

Casillas is an icon in Spanish football and their second highest capped player of all time.

The goalkeeper won it all with the national team as they claimed the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

The now 41-year-old was forced to retire after he suffered a heart attack aged 39.

Luka Modric (Croatia) 162 caps

Modric is a prime example of a footballer aging like fine wine. 

The 37-year-old has only got better in the twilight of his career and has shown no signs of slowing down just yet.
He left Tottenham in 2012 for a fee of £30million after being branded a 'flop' and a 'waste of money'.

Since then, however, the Croatia international has improved his overall game and has become one of the most respected midfielders of his generation.

The midfielder has been the anchor of the Croatian national team, even winning the Ballon D'or in 2019 thanks to his performances over the year.

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