Yossi Benayoun became Israel's most-capped player when he made his 95th international appearance during Wednesday's 3-0 friendly defeat in Mexico.
Banayoun had been level with Arik Benado on 94 caps since August last year, but now stands alone atop Israel's all-time appearance list. "This is a definite milestone for me," said Benayoun after a game in front of nearly 100,000 fans at the Estadio Azteca. "It is special to break the record in this stadium, especially when the player that shared the record with me, Arik Benado, is here with us as assistant coach."
Benayoun first appeared in a national-team jersey when he helped Israel to third place at the 1996 UEFA European Under-16 Championship. He went on to represent the U21s before beginning his senior international career against Portugal in November 1998.
He scored his first goal in a UEFA EURO 2000 qualifier against Cyprus on 5 September 1999 and, three days later, his first hat-trick, against San Marino. He was named as captain prior to the UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying campaign.
The 34-year-old, who counts Maccabi Haifa FC, Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC among his former employers, has found the net 24 times for his country. That puts him second on Israel's all-time scoring list, behind only Yehoshua Feigenbaum.
Benayoun, who helped Queens Park Rangers FC secure promotion back to the Premier League this season, is showing few signs of wanting to hang up his boots any time soon. "My goal is to keep going in the national team," he said. "This has been the most important thing for me throughout my entire career. I don't want to stop here."
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