Cristiano Ronaldo, a name synonymous with football excellence, has added a new accomplishment to his illustrious career. He now holds the record for the most games played in the 21st century. This milestone further cements his legacy as a dominant force in football.
While Ronaldo’s achievement is remarkable, it’s important to highlight the close competition from Lionel Messi. Messi narrowly missed a top spot in this record, a testament to the intense rivalry that has defined their careers.
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) recently released a list showcasing the players with the most appearances in the 21st century. Ronaldo leads with 1204 official appearances, a journey marked by his tenures at Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Al-Nassr, and the Portugal National Team. At 38, his commitment to maintaining an average of 52 matches per year over 22 years is extraordinary.
Messi, a fierce competitor of Ronaldo, is ranked fourth with 1047 appearances, representing Barcelona, PSG, Inter Miami, and the Argentine National Team. This highlights the ongoing duel for supremacy between these two football giants.
A Look at the Top Players
The list of most appearances in the 21st century also features other notable names. Brazilian goalkeeper Fabio occupies the second position with 1156 matches, followed by former Barcelona right-back Dani Alves with 1056 games. Only four players have crossed the 1000-game mark, showcasing the rarity of such achievements. The top ten list includes:
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While Ronaldo currently leads in 21st-century appearances, he is close to surpassing the record set by Rogerio Ceni, who boasts 1,225 matches. Ronaldo, only 21 appearances short of this historic milestone, could potentially break this record in the ongoing season. This pursuit is not just a personal milestone for Ronaldo but a continuation of the thrilling battle for supremacy in modern football.