Cristiano Ronaldo has become the most capped men’s player in international football after making his 197th appearance for Portugal against Liechtenstein in their Euro 2024 qualifying match on Thursday.
Ronaldo, 38, celebrated his record-breaking night with a brace in Portugal’s 4-0 win at the Jose Alvalade Stadium.
The Al Nassr striker was denied the chance to break the record at the World Cup in Qatar as Portugal crashed out in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 defeat to Morocco.
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He was tied with Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa on 196 appearances before he was named in new Portugal boss Roberto Martinez’s first squad since taking charge of the Euro 2016 champions.
There were doubts over Ronaldo’s future on the international stage after he was omitted from the starting lineup for Portugal’s knockout matches in Qatar. His replacement, Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos, scored a hat trick in their 6-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16. Ronaldo appeared as a substitute in both of his side’s knockout matches.
Ronaldo holds the men’s world record for most international goals with 120. He broke retired Iran striker Ali Daei’s 109-goal record in 2021 and has scored eight goals since, including one at the World Cup last year that made him the first men’s player to score at five separate World Cups.
The former Manchester United forward made his debut for Portugal’s senior team against Kazakhstan in August 2003, four days after his debut with the Old Trafford club. He scored his first international goal during a Euro 2004 group stage game against Greece 10 months later.
The earliest Ronaldo could make his 200th appearance would be in June, although to do so then he must play a part in Portugal’s second Euro 2024 qualifier against Luxembourg this Sunday.