Most International Football Matches Played – Active Players’ Edition

For any sportsperson or athlete, representing the nation at the international level, more so on the big stage, is one of the ultimate goals. It is a matter of pride and honor for them even once. So, getting to represent the country on multiple occasions through sports is the stuff dreams are made of. Footballers are no exception in that regard. As of 3rd December 2021, 582 footballers have played 100 or more “A” international matches for their respective nations. Today, we will be discussing the top 5 of that crop, among the active players in international football.  

Kuwait’s forward and captain Bader Al-Mutawa on the pitch between Bahrain and Kuwait at Khalifa International Stadium
Image Source: KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

Bader Al-Mutawa – 188 caps  

Bader Ahmed Al-Mutawa is the Kuwaiti Forward who currently boasts the most appearance for any national team among the active players in international football. Al-Mutawa made his debut for Kuwait at the age of 18 against Singapore on September 4, 2003. He is the third-highest goalscorer for Al-Azraq with 56 goals in those 188 appearances. He came close to winning the Asian Footballer of the Year twice in 2006 and 2010. Al-Mutawa is sixth among the top scorers in the famous Arabian Gulf Cup helping his nation lift the title in 2010, winning the top goalscorer in the tournament.  

Image source: (REUTERS/Pedro Nunes)

Cristiano Ronaldo – 184 caps  

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro’s numbers in club career speak for themselves. But, his record as the Portuguese international are also equally impressive, if not more. Made his debut as an 18-year-old against Kazakhstan on August 20, 2003, Cristiano has represented A Selecao for 18 years now and still going as strong as ever. He has scored 115 goals (highest ever) which include 10 hattricks (most on the international stage) and provided 41 assists in the national colors. As a result, Ronaldo has won the Portuguese Footballer of the Year on 10 different occasions. He has won Euro Cup 2016 and UEFA Nations League 2019 in Portuguese National colors. He also won Euro 2020 Top scorer award with 5 goals in 4 games, becoming the highest goalscorer in Euros with 14 goals. The Portugese Phenomenon is the only player ever to score in 10 consecutive international competitions.  

Image source: RFEF

Sergio Ramos – 180 caps  

Sergio Ramos Garcia was nearly 19 when he made his debut for Spain on March 26, 2005, and his international football career has been as illustrious as that at the club level. 16 years on, he continues to wear the national jersey with as much passion and pride. A member of the golden generation of Spanish Football, Ramos was part of the side that went on to win Euro Cup 2008, FIFA World Cup 2010, and Euro Cup 2012 on the trot. Ramos is the 8th highest goal scorer for La Roja with 23 goals to go with 8 assists. Many might find it very interesting that Ramos, infamous for getting cards, has never been red-carded in his 180-match career for the Spanish side.   

Image Source: Getty Images

Maynor Figueroa – 178 caps  

Maynor Alexis Figueroa Róchez boasts a career spanning 18 years, 289 days at the international stage, making his debut for Honduras on January 31, 2003, against Argentina. The Honduran Center Back also has 5 goals and 3 assists against his name for Los Catrachos. Figueroa is the player with the most international appearances for any player that came out of the Americas.  

Image Source: Getty Images

Andres Guardado – 173 caps   

José Andrés Guardado Hernández, aged 19, made his international debut for Mexico against Hungary on 14 December 2005. The Mexican Midfielder has scored 28 goals for his national side. His preferred position is that of a midfielder. But he has also played as the winger and left-back on a few occasions. He was part of the CONCACAF Gold Cup-winning Mexican side on three different occasions in 2011, 2015, and 2019.