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Europe's most-capped men's international players: Ronaldo holds record

Cristiano Ronaldo holds the European men's record of 196 caps, a tally that also equals the world landmark.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won 196 caps for Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo has won 196 caps for Portugal UEFA via Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has won a European men's record 196 international caps for Portugal, surpassing the previous mark of 180 set by Spain's Sergio Ramos.

Ronaldo's last international appearance, against Morocco in the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, drew him level with Bader Al-Mutawa's world record of 196 outings for Kuwait. Meet the Europeans with the most international appearances.

  • World record: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) & Bader Al-Mutawa (Kuwait) – 196 caps
Great Ronaldo Portugal goals

196: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)*
Europe's runaway top scorer in international games, Ronaldo moved beyond the 100-goal mark in September 2020, equalled Ali Daei's world record of 109 strikes during UEFA EURO 2020, and eclipsed it on European Qualifiers duty on 1 September 2021. The 2016 European champion Ronaldo is a year older than his ex-Madrid colleague Ramos – who won his last cap in 2021 – but has long overtaken him on the caps front.

Ramos: UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying goals

180 Sergio Ramos (Spain)*
Ramos bettered Gianluigi Buffon's old European record of 176 caps while playing for Spain in their UEFA Nations League game in Switzerland on 14 November 2020. The youngest European man to reach 100 caps, at the age of 26 in March 2013, Ramos has two UEFA European Championship titles and one World Cup to his name. "I would like to carry on playing [for Spain] for many more years," he says. However, he has not appeared for his country since March 2021.

Watch five great Buffon saves

176: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
A 2006 World Cup winner with the Azzurri, Buffon made his final Italy outing in a March 2018 friendly against Argentina. That achievement surpassed the moment he beat Dino Zoff's national record of 112 caps in 2011. "When I made my Italy debut back in 1997, getting to this total was just a dream for me," he said.

Casillas career highlights

167: Iker Casillas (Spain) 
A goalkeeping marvel at Real Madrid, Casillas summed up his experience of playing for Spain as "Responsibility. Pride. Satisfaction. Happiness. Commitment. Respect for those who preceded me. An infinity of words – and doing everything for the Spanish fans." Like Ramos, he won two EUROs and a World Cup with his country.

166: Vitālijs Astafjevs (Latvia)
"I love football and have always loved it," said the journeyman midfielder after he played his farewell international, aged 39, in November 2010. Astafjevs's personal pinnacle came when representing Latvia at UEFA EURO 2004. "We worked a miracle, everyone was amazed," he said. "That was true happiness."

Watch great Modrić goals for Croatia

162: Luka Modrić (Croatia)*
The puppet-master rose above long-time team-mate Darijo Srna to become his nation's most-capped player in March 2021. "When will you stop playing?" wife Vanja asked the inspiration behind Croatia's run to the 2018 World Cup final. "I don't know, my love," came the reply. "You'll have to be patient for a little while more." Captained Croatia to back-to-back World Cup semi-finals when they reached the last four in 2022.

157: Martin Reim (Estonia) 
"There is no way I could go on playing until I die," said midfielder Reim as he made his farewell outing – aged 38 – in 2009, ending a 17-year run in the national team. Save for a brief spell with Finland's KooTeePee, the Flora Tallinn stalwart spent his entire club career in his homeland. Was Estonia coach from 2016 to 2019.

Lothar Matthäus with the World Cup trophy in 1990
Lothar Matthäus with the World Cup trophy in 1990Bongarts/Getty Images

150: Lothar Matthäus (West Germany/Germany) 
A European champion in 1980 and a World Cup winner ten years later, the midfield colossus bestrode two eras of German football. A box-to-box midfielder who played as a sweeper later in his career, Matthäus earned respect from Diego Maradona, who said: "He is the best rival I've ever faced. I guess that's all you need to know."

Robbie Keane celebrates a goal for Ireland
Robbie Keane celebrates a goal for IrelandAFP via Getty Images

146: Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland)
Keane bade farewell to international football in August 2016 having scored 68 goals over 18 years with the Ireland team: Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Miroslav Klose and Robert Lewandowski are the only Europeans to have scored more. "It has exceeded all the hopes I had as a football-mad boy growing up in Dublin," he said of his career.

146: João Moutinho (Portugal)*
The midfielder, who could pick a pass in his sleep, was just 18 when he made his senior international debut in 2005. His diminutive frame has been a mainstay in the Seleção side ever since, his energy and passing providing the canvas for the likes of Ronaldo to dazzle. And he shows no signs of letting up. "I still come to training every day as if it was my first session," he says.

146: Konstantin Vassiljev (Estonia)*
The Flora midfielder, who has also played in Slovenia, Russia and Poland in his career, is seemingly improving with age. Scored 13 league goals in the 2022 season – you have to go back to 2006 for the last time he found the net more – despite turning 38 during the campaign.

Robert Lewandowski great Poland goals

Just behind and still playing...
145: Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)*
140: Steven Davis (Northern Ireland)*
138: Robert Lewandowski (Poland)*

*Yet to retire from international football